Wade While wins National Walleye Tour title

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By Jay Davis and Blue Herron Communictions

A triumphant Wade While of Mobridge holds the trophy for the first place pro after winning the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour event on Saturday. In conquering a field of 94 professional walleye anglers, While won $57,000 in cash and prizes.

A triumphant Wade While of Mobridge holds the trophy for the first place pro after winning the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour event on Saturday. In conquering a field of 94 professional walleye anglers, While won $57,000 in cash and prizes.

Mobridge angler Wade While took advantage of home waters to beat the fulltime pros and win the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour event at Mobridge on Friday and Saturday.
“This doesn’t even feel real right now,” said While. “I’m pretty excited.”
After finishing day one in third place with 11.74 pounds, While hit his fish early on day two and he needed it because he was having issues with his trolling motor. He had been hoping for another solid day. A catch of 10 to 12 pounds would keep him in the running and a good shot at finishing in the top five. That all changed when co-angler Tom Samp caught a 24.5-inch whopper around 8:30 in the morning. After that they caught a couple 19-inch walleyes followed by their second over, a 21.5-incher. At 11:30 a.m. they landed an 18-5-incher and had a solid limit.
“We decided to come in a little early because we were soaked and my trolling motor was completely dead at that point,” said While. “Luckily the fish came quick.”
Being done early meant While was the first angler to take the stage during weigh-ins. The scale tipped at 14.56 pounds, giving the Bridge City angler a two-day total of 26.3 pounds. Now all he had to do was wait as 94 more boats came in to weigh their fish.
One by one, the other pros fell short of the needed weight to catch While. Day one leader Dan Stier of Mina was the last angler to take the stage. After a 14.62-pound catch on day one, Stier needed 11.78 pounds to secure his second straight win. When Stier’s day two catch weighed in 8.11 pounds, the local crowd erupted with the realization that their hometown man was the winner.
For his efforts, While was presented with a Ranger 1880 Angler with a 175HP motor and $15,000 cash for a grand total of $57,000.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said While.
He added that he could not have pulled this off without the help of his co-anglers, Samp of Eldora, Iowa, and Jim Birkolz of Green Bay, Wis.
“My co-anglers were the best people I could have got,” said While.
When asked by the tourney emcee if this win meant that he would think about journeying to more National Walleye Tour events, like the next stop on Bays de Noc at Escanaba, Mich., While gave what may have been a prophetic answer.
“It’s always been a dream of mine,” said While. “I’ll really be considering it now.”
Stier finished in second place as part of a top four that featured South Dakotans with a trove of experience fishing Lake Oahe. Third place went to Rick Olson of Mina and fourth place went to Mobridge High School graduate, Chad Schilling of Akaska.
“What a showing for South Dakota,” said Stier, before telling the crowd that the Mobridge area is his favorite place to fish in the entire country.
Stier finished with 22.73 pounds and $15,795. Olson caught 22.23 pounds (including 15.6 pounds on day two) and won $12,515. Schilling weighed 21.84 pounds and took home $10,817.
Olson and Schilling both climbed the ladder on day two, especially Olson who went from 57th all the way to third. Schilling used a 12.83-pound day two total to climb from 19th to fourth.
Tyrone Larson of Amherst, Wis., won the co-angler division. His 23.21 pounds was good for $6,000.
Both of While’s co-anglers finished in the money. Samp took second with 22.55 pounds and won $2,304. Birkholz tied for 14th and won $422.
The rest of the pro angler top 10 was Jeff Mistelski of Bismarck, N.D., in fifth, followed by Ed Stachowski of Canton, Mich., Joe Okada of Fitchburg, Wis., Steven Miller of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Kevin Carstenson of Merrill, Wis., and Greg Ehli of Bismarck.
Two more South Dakotans made the money list.
Josh Olson of Lemmon finished 11th and Dennis Foster of Mellette finished 15th.
Three South Dakota co-anglers had top 24 finishes. Wayne Hoffman of Leola finished 10th, Carl Odde of Brookings finished 16th and Cody Lauer of Highmore of came in 18th.

National Walleye Tour
Pro Division
1. Wade While, Mobridge, 11.74, 14.56, 26.3, $57,000; 2. Dan Stier, Mina, 14.62, 8.11, 22.73, $15,795; 3. Rick Olson, Mina, 6.64, 15.6, 22.23, $12,515; 4. Chad Schilling, Akaska, 9.01, 12.83, 21.84, $10,817; 5. Jeff Mistelski, Bismarck, N.D., 6.34, 14.58, 20.92, $9,982; 6. Ed Stachowski, Canton, Mich., 6.81, 13.79, 20.6, $8,970; 7. Joe Okada, Fitchburg, Wis., 7.89, 12.41, 20.3, $8,649; 8. Steve Miller, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 8.32, 11.86, 20.18, $7,524; 9. Kevin Carstenson, Merrill, Wis., 8.93, 10.66, 19.59, $6,779; 10. Greg Ehli, Bismarck, N.D., 5.92, 13.53, 19.44, $5,648;
11. Josh Olson, Lemmon, 9.87, 9.18, 19.05, $3,456; 12. Josh Vanderweide, Jenison, Mich., 12.2, 6.7, 18.9, $3,456; 13. Nick Schertz, Tomahawk, Wis., 7.65, 10.89, 18.54, $3,456; 14. Joe Carter, Sherrill, Iowa, 11.02, 7.18, 18.2, 43,456; 15. Dennis Foster, Mellette, 7.43, 10.63, 18.06, $3,456; 16. Tom Keenan, Hatley, Wis., 10.83, 6.96, 17.79, $3,072; 17. Brian Bjorkman, Fargo, N.D., 10.12, 7.36, 17.48, $3,072; 18. Perry Good, Minnestrista, Minn., 6.27, 11.05, 17.32, $3,072; 19. Les Vietz, Bismarck, N.D., 8.16, 9.12, 17.28, $3,072; 20. Alan Sholts, Alexandria, Minn., 9.17, 8.1, 17.27, $3,072;
21. Pat Byle, Colgate, Wis., 10.5, 6.75, 17.25, $3,002; 22. Mark Brumbaugh, Arcanum, Ohio, 7.4, 9.74, 17.14; 23, $3,002. Mike Gofren, Antioch, Ill., 10.8, 6.14, 16.94; 24, $3,002. Jeremy Schreiner, Durand, Wis., 10.8, 5.97, 16.77, $3,002.

Co-Anglers Division
1. Tyrone Larson, Amherst, Wis., 10.8, 12.41, 23.21, $6,000; 2. Tom Samp, Eldora, Iowa, 7.99, 14.56, 22.55, $2,304; 3. Chris Augustyn, Holdredge, Neb., 6.44, 14.58, 21.02, $1,536; 4. Joshua Olson, Eau Claire, Wis., 6.78, 13.79, $1,229; 5. (tie) Karl Sprengel, Beaver Dam, Wis., 14.62, 5.7, 20.32, $1,152; 5. Dustin Guay, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., 11.02, 9.3, 20.32, $1,152; 5. Dan Meisner, Merrill, Wis., 6.8, 13.52, 20.32, $1,152; 8. Lance Trihub, Bismarck, N.D., 9.26, 11.05, 20.31, $921; 9. John Guthmiller, St. Francis, Kan., 4.69, 15.6, 20.29, $845; 10. Wayne Hoffman, Leola, 7.44, 11.86, 19.3, $771;
11. Daniel Williams, McPerson, Kan., 10.83, 8.28, 19.11, $422; 12. Wes Bergemann, Crystal, Minn., 10.12, 8.9, 19.02, $422; 13. Mike Utley, Zumbrota, Minn., 10.8, 7.65, 18.45, $422; 14. (tie) Jim Birkholz, Green Bay, Wis., 11.74, 6.57, 18.31, $422; 14. Ron Ernesti, Buffalo, Minn., 7.65, 10.66, 18.31, $422; 16. Carl Odde, Brookings, 9.01, 9.18, 18.19, $384; 17. Tom Hubbard, Rhinelander, Wis., 5.29, 12.83, 18.12, $384; 18. Cody Lauer, Highmore, 6.6, 10.96, 17.56, $384; 19. Nate Anderson, Lakeland, Minn., 10.5, 6.96, 17.46, $384; 20. Joe Moenck, Zumbrota, Minn., 8.33, 9.06, 17.39, $384;
21. Ancil Reynolds, Chisago City, Minn., 6.38, 10.63, 17.01, $345; 22. Justin Villard, Rice, Minn., 11.57, 5.29, 16.86, $345; 23. Don Cozzie, Orland Park, Ill., 6.81, 9.74, 16.55, $345; 24. (tie) Mike Decock, Hoskins, Neb., 6.49, 10.0, 16.49, $345; 24. Ben Martlock, Novi, Mich., 9.63, 6.86, 16.49, $345.

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