CASS LAKE MISTAKE; Always check your drag.

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I hit the road at 4pm on Tuesday.  At 4:20 I realized that I forgot the box of Minnesota Sporting Journal magazines that I’d be bringing to the Fargo Ducks Unlimited Banquet on Thursday.  40 minutes later, I was back at the same location with the magazines in the backseat, when I remembered something else I forgot.  Such is life on the road.

My destination was Stony Point Resort on Cass Lake.   I was taking advantage of an invite from Chad Maloy of FM Walleyes.  Maloy, and his teammate Don Denning, were prefishing for the final qualifying tournament of the year for the Masters Walleye Circuit (MWC).

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My 4 ½ hour drive quickly became a 5+ hour drive and I looked over and apologized to a sleeping Mika sprawled out in the passenger seat.  I don’t think she cared as it doesn’t take long for her to pass out on road trip.   Lucky dog.

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Fortunately we had a great sunset and a perfect setting for a pit stop.  A couple of quick photos later and we were on our way.  A few miles further we saw a flock of sandhill cranes grabbing a snack.  A couple more photos were snapped and I pointed the pickup to the north and continued.

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This trip was two-fold:  A chance to interview the guys about the MWC and get in some early fall fishing.  We succeeded at one of the two.  We fished with worms, chubs and crankbaits.   Only 3 walleye would be tricked and two of them made it in the boat.  The fisherman who lost what may have been the biggest of the 3 shall remain nameless.   (It might have been me.)  I made the mistake of not checking my drag before dropping the line and when that giant (pretty sure it was a state record, lol)  took hold, I had no tension to keep it hooked.   Oops.

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But the weather was good and I had the chance to find out more about the longest running walleye circuit .  It covers 9 tournaments, ranging from Michigan to Colorado.  The Cass Lake tournament would be it’s only stop in Minnesota.  Based on our experience, it could be the toughest.

Anglers can fish as many of the tournaments as possible, but the 3 best finishes are averaged to determine a score within their point system.  This tournament would be the final qualifier for the 2014 MWC World Walleye Championship Oct 8 – 11 in Devils Lake, North Dakota.

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Over 600 teams have taken part in the 9 events this year vying for a finish in the top 45.  The World Walleye Championship offers $100,000 cash and prizes, plus the chance to say: “I won some serious cash FISHING. “

It also validates all those vacation day days used.  With all the days anglers take for travel and prefishing, it can become a lot more work than you’d expect.   In fact, I asked Maloy that question during our interview.

“Once you start fishing tournaments, does it take the fun out of it?”

“We work hard and play hard.  We enjoy the competitiveness of it,” Maloy responded.  The other competitors all seem to get along despite the pressure and that allows for a fun environment, even if some large dollars and vacation time is at stake.   You can hear more of what they have to say about it on this weekend’s radio show.

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I can see the allure of fishing the circuit, but it takes some dedication and obviously, some skill.  The tournament is running today and tomorrow.  See results at www.masterswalleyecircuit.com and learn more about FM Walleyes at www.fmwalleyes.com

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