PIERRE, S.D. – Calm winds and warm temperatures on Oahe made for a tough bite today. While most of the weights reflected that, one of the few anglers who was able to match their weight from day one was Mercury pro Danny Plautz. He brought another solid limit worth 15 pounds, 13 ounces to the scales, bringing his two-day total to 31-4 and giving him the lead.
Despite the superstition surrounding unlucky Friday the 13th, Plautz got off to a great start early.
“My primary spot is more of a community hole, but the fish were on fire this morning,” said the Madison, Wis., pro. “I caught a 19 ½- and a 23-incher pretty early. Then it slowed down and got tough. We made a run to my second spot but the fish just weren’t there. So I decided to run to my third spot which is a live bait spot so it should be almost a guarantee to catch fish, but that went south too.
“Finally we ran back to my primary area and in the first two passes we caught two real nice slot fish. I ended the day with a 28 ½-incher and called it a day.”
The main technique that Plautz has been using is pulling Reef Runner crankbaits on planer boards around structure. There have been two primary colors for him, though he doesn’t want to give out the secret just yet. For his line, Plautz goes with Fireline to present his cranks.
Fish care penalties were a big issue to many pros today costing them valuable ounces. Plautz has brought in limit of walleyes both days without a dead fish penalty.
“Keeping your fish alive is very important,” said Plautz. “A dead fish can cost you ounces in penalties and in water loss.”
Having made the top 10 only twice in his career – both were second place finishes – Plautz is just focused on doing his job.
“I’m going to run the same game plan I have for the past few days. I might spend more time on my primary spot, especially since it shouldn’t be as crowded tomorrow. I think I am on the right fish to win.”
Campbell rises to second
He may call Marco Island, Fla., his current residence, but John Campbell seems to be right at home on the waters of Lake Oahe this week. Having brought in 16 pounds, 1 ounce on day one and 13-15 today, the Ranger pro now sits in second place with a total weight of 30 pounds.
Campbell struggled more today with the flat calm conditions that seemed to put the fish in an off mood.
“I had to jump around a lot more today,” said Campbell. “I threw some back early that could have helped, but otherwise I just had to keep chasing them until I could catch them.”
Campbell is heading south from Spring Creek to fish his waters. He has been using a combination of three different presentations to catch his fish. And with this close race he isn’t ready to give away too much just yet.
For tomorrow he would like to have a little wind to help his bite. Regardless of weather, Campell is just ready to fish.
“I’ll decide right before takeoff in the morning as to where I will go.”
Przekurat drops into third
Chevy pro Jason Przekurat couldn’t match his 17-pound, 3-ounce catch from day one, though he did bring in another nice limit of 12-12. Unfortunately, Przekurat had a dead fish penalty today which brings his overall total to 29 pounds, 15 ounces.
“I caught both of my overs early today,” said the Stevens Point, Wis., pro. “I got a 27-incher that was skinny and a 24-incher. My smaller over fish ended up dying today which hurt. After that it was a mad scramble to get my slot fish.”
Przekurat is using jigs and bottom bouncers on the lower end of the lake. Water clarity is also a big issue in how well his fish bite. The more stained the water is, the better the bite.
“My morning bite has been really good. I usually have my overs by 9:30. Hopefully it goes like that tomorrow so I can have lots of time to find those perfect slot fish.”
Jirik falls to fourth
Ryan Jirik of Rhinelander, Wis., brought in a 12-pound, 14-ounce limit to the scales today to give him a two-day total weight of 29-15. Though he has the same overall weight as Przekurat, Jirik had the smaller bag on day one – losing the tie breaker.
“My main spot was consistent on Tuesday, Wednesday and yesterday,” said the Evinrude pro. “Today though, it just shut down. I made a change around noon and managed to get on some fish.”
Jirik is also guarding his secrets closely as to how and where he is catching his fish. He did say, however, that he is making a long run to start and fishing his way back to the landing.
Steffens rallies into fifth
After day one things were not looking so good for Oxford, Wis., native Danny Steffens. After a 10-pound, 1-ounce limit on the first day, Steffens made a statement with the biggest bag of the tournament yet -19 pounds, 1 ounce. That massive bag launched him from 73rd all the way up to fifth.
“Really what I did today was make adjustments to what I have been doing,” said Steffens. “It happened fast today. We caught our first fish before we even had all our lines in the water. Once I got my tow overs, I left the spot.”
After catching the biggest bag of the tournament, it is understandable that Steffens doesn’t want to say too much. Especially in an event this close – with this caliber of anglers – every advantage helps.
Having a chance to win a National Guard FLW Walleye Tour title is a pretty exciting opportunity as well. Steffens will also be celebrating his wedding anniversary tomorrow and couldn’t be happier.
“I love my wife so much, I am lucky to have her and it would mean so much to win on our anniversary.”
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top 10 pros from day two on Lake Oahe:
6th: Gary Maher of Menoken, N.D., 29-0
7th: Brian Regelin of Cozad, Neb., 28-13
8th: Lynn Jurrens of Watertown, S.D., 28-12
9th: Eric Ewing of La Salle, Colo., 28-12
10th: Brett King of Claremont, Minn., 28-10
Van Cleve takes co-angler lead
Local angler Cal Van Cleve currently has 1-pound, 9-ounce lead going into the final day thanks to his 19-1 catch with pro Danny Steffens today. Van Cleve has a two-day total weight of 32 pounds, 7 ounces.
“I was in the lead a few years ago going into the final day,” said Van Cleve. “We ended up not catching anything, so I won’t start spending the prize money yet.”
This is his fifth year with FLW and loves to fish as much as he can.
“I have been on the water 85 of the last 90 days,” said the Wilmont, S.D., native. “I love fishing out here, and today was fun to learn just how to catch these fish on calm days.”
For tomorrow, Van Cleve is feeling good about his lead and hopes that his pro – Danny Plautz – can help add to that.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers from day two on Lake Oahe:
2nd: Craig Salmonson of Timmins, Ontario, 30-14
3rd: Dale Janota of Gillette, Wyo., 30-11
4th: Kenny Brenner of Moline, Ill., 30-6
5th: Wayne Olsen of Humboldt, S.D., 29-12
6th: Lowell Joy of Bemidji, Minn., 29-7
7th: Kevin Yancey of Newport, Mich., 29-6
8th: Keith Keivens of Toledo, Ohio, 29-3
9th: Chris Augustyn of Holdrege, Neb., 28-9
10th: Richard Ness of Blunt, S.D., 28-9
Walleye fans take note
Anglers will take off from Spring Creek Resort & Deep Water Marina located at 28229 Spring Creek Place in Pierre at 7 a.m. each morning. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart located at 1730 North Garfield in Pierre beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Expo at Walmart on Saturday from noon-4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-in. The Expo includes the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, a trout pond, and interactive games and activities. The NPAA will be offering a free Youth and Family Fishing Clinic beginning at 2:30 p.m. Prizes, including rods & reels, will be given away after the clinic. All activities are free and open to the public.