Iowans lead the way in walleye championship

(Cabela's Masters Walleye Circuit)

CASS LAKE, Minn. — Iowa’s Tommy Skarlis and Jeff Lahr overcame a day-two deficit, fierce competition and tough-bite conditions to win the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit’s 2017 World Walleye Championship on Minnesota’s Cass Lake chain.

Presented by Cabela’s, the MWC Championship ran Sept. 14-16 out of Stony Point Resort and featured the top 41 two-person teams from the circuit’s 2016 regular season. The anglers battled for a total payout of more than $110,000 in cash and prizes.

Tournament officials were forced to cancel day one’s fishing due to extremely heavy fog that persisted through the half-day cutoff point for shortened fishing days. But the action quickly heated up when the field was let out at 7 a.m. on day two.

Carl Holten and Mickey Stuefen, also of Iowa, sacked a five-fish limit weighing 17 pounds, 1 ounce to take the day-two lead, while Lahr and Skarlis were hot on their heels in second place with five fish for 16 pounds, 8 ounces.

The two Hawkeye teams traded places on the leaderboard the final day. Holten and Stuefen brought a 9-pound, 9-ounce limit to the MWC scale Saturday for 26 pounds, 10 ounces, while Lahr and Skarlis’ limit tipped the scale at 11 pounds, 11 ounces for the winning weight of 28 pounds, 3 ounces.

Lahr and Skarlis reported casting lead swimming jigs on day two and part of day three, but said they switched to drifting live-bait rigs with redtail chubs and homemade ¾- to 1-ounce sinkers when jigs failed to produce the size walleyes they wanted in the livewell. Both days they fished depths of up to 32 feet in Cass Lake sweet spots like Allen’s Bay and Wishbone Bar.

Lahr and Skarlis collected $14,700 in winnings, including $12,000 in cash, the $1,000 Ranger Cup contingency and $500 AirWave Pedestal bonus, plus a pair of custom trophies and Cabela’s MWC champions’ rings.

For complete results, click here.

— Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit

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