Wisconsin’s Arnoldussen wins NWT Championship
Even after the wind had subsided on Green Bay, its effects were evident in the bags and, ultimately, on the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour Championship scoreboard on Saturday.
After two cancellation days due to dangerously windy weather, the circuit’s marquee event concluded on calmer waters Saturday off Marinette, Wis. But with a wind that changed directions and obviously changed the bite, the difference in results from Day 1 and the second and final day proved choppy, too.
Dean Arnoldussen of Appleton, Wis., was the most consistent angler and, as a result, pulled away for his second major championship.
On the first day Wednesday, which saw four anglers each weigh five fish totaling 40-plus pounds, Arnoldussen found himself in fifth place with a 39.89-pound bag – more than six pounds behind the leader. He managed five fish and 35.24 pounds the final day, but with all those Day 1 40-pound-plus types struggling to find fish Saturday, Arnoldussen’s 75.13 total proved to be good enough for a more than seven-pound victory.
Arnoldussen won a Ranger 620FS boat with a 225-horsepower Evinrude G2 engine, plus $15,000 cash and another $1,658 in Anglers Advantage cash for total winnings of $85,053.
The top five anglers and eight of the top 10 all weighed the maximum of five fish each day. Keith Kavajecz of Kaukauna, Wis., followed a 33.71-pound effort the first day – good for 13th place – with 34.33 pounds Saturday to finish second, worth a Ranger 1880 powered with a 150-horsepower Evinrude G2 outboard and cash for a total value of $42,621. Brian Bjorkman of Fargo, N.D., was third at 67.85 pounds and earned $14,408.
Tom Kemos of Oconomowoc, Wis., who led after Day 1 with a whopping 46.49 pounds, had only two fish to show for his efforts Saturday. With that 18.22-pound bag, he dropped to sixth place.
Local Waupun, Wis., fisherman Kevin Day won the Co-angler Division with a two-day total of 74.84 pounds. On Day 1, he fished with fellow Wisconsin angler Max Wilson and the two caught a 34.23-pound limit. In the finale, Day drew Illinois pro Mike Gofron and they improved to 40.61.
After a 16th-place finish, Wisconsin pro Robert Blosser became the first two-time Angler of the Year winner. Blosser’s first AOY win came in 2013.