A storybook finish lifted David Harmon and Scott Busteed to victory against 228 anglers from nine states competing on mighty Devils Lake to win top honors across the board in the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit-Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce Dual Tournament.
Harmon, of Omaha, Nebraska, and Busteed, of Windsor, Colorado, more than doubled their Day One catch of 10.01 pounds with an impressive 23-pound basket for a total 9-fish weight of 33.01 pounds. Their catch was the best two-day tally in both tournaments, which were run in conjunction with one another across the Cabela’s MWC stage. Anglers could choose to fish either or both events, and the majority chose the latter option.
The MWC side of the tournament paid $11,100 cash for first place. Harmon and Busteed also scored a $1,000 Cabela’s gift card through the Cabela’s Angler Cash program, $1,000 through the Ranger Cup program, $500 Lowrance Electronics HDS/Elite DSI contingency, a $500 Berkley Baits Prize Package, $500 first-place Cabela’s MWC Premier Team award and $160 Oxygenator/U2 bonuses. Plus, they won $7,500 cash for winning the Chamber tournament for a total of $22,260 in cash and prizes.
“It’s wonderful just to fish with these teams, so coming out on top is awesome,” said Busteed, moments after his team leapt from 20th place on Day One to the winners’ circle before a large crowd at scenic Grahams Island State Park. “Devils Lake is a true walleye destination. Winning one here, like at Mobridge or the Great Lakes, is great.”
Second-to-last to weigh in, he and Harmon edged Day One leaders—North Dakotans Rick Darling and Jeff Trana—from atop the leaderboard by just over one-tenth of a pound to win the two-day walleye extravaganza. Darling, of Leeds, and Trana, of Devils Lake, placed second on the MWC side of the event, with 32.90 pounds, good for $5,090 in cash plus $550 in MWC Big-Fish Pot cash.
Harmon was likewise elated. “This was a big event, with a lot of great fishermen,” he began. “I can’t explain how good it feels to get a victory, because they are hard to come by against the teams on this Circuit.”
The team trolled Berkley Flicker Shads 1.8 to 2 mph along a shallow, boulder-strewn breakline adjacent to a construction zone to find walleyes overlooked by all but one other boat. Busteed credited their Lowrance HDS electronics, featuring StructureScan, for allowing them to create a precise milk run along the deep edge of the break. “We would have had no chance whatsoever without that technology on our side,” he grinned. They used 10/2 Berkley FireLine mainline and 12-foot, 10-pound-test Berkley 100 Percent Fluorocarbon on a mix of planer boards and long-lines.
In all, the top 12 MWC teams shared a $32,370 cash payout plus Big Fish Pot and thousands in sponsor contingencies. Eighth-place finishers Rick Walter and Brian Woodward, of Casper, Wyoming, also nabbed the $300 Worldwide Marine Insurance bonus for being the highest-placing team signed up for a free quote from Worldwide.
The MWC Conservation Fund donated $70 per boat—for a total of $4,340—to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department for fisheries enhancement and access projects at this tournament. To date the Circuit has donated more than $280,000 to fisheries projects in areas where MWC tournaments are held.
Following Friday’s weigh-in, the MWC and National Professional Anglers Association presented a Youth & Family Fishing Clinic, giving away great gifts including free rods and reels courtesy of the NPAA, MWC and Berkley, along with tackle packages courtesy of Northland Fishing Tackle, and a bike donated by Gate City Bank.
The tournament was the first of three 2011 qualifiers in the MWC’s Western Division, Next up is walleye-rich Lake Oahe at Mobridge, South Dakota, July 22-24, and Cass Lake, Minnesota, Sept. 16-18. The MWC is open to all anglers, and is comprised of nine qualifiers in three divisions. Anglers fishing at least three events (from any division) accumulate points toward a berth in the no-entry-fee, $100,000 Cabela’s MWC World Walleye Championship; teams fishing four events are in the running for overall MWC Team of the Year honors and a $13,000 cash prize. For more information, visit: www.masterswalleyecircuit.com; email: email@example.com; or call: (877) 893-7947.
Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is entering its tenth season as title sponsor of the MWC. Official sponsors include: Berkley Gulp!, Ranger Boats, Mercury, MotorGuide, Lowrance, Fishouflage, Versus (Vs.) Television Network and North American Fishing Club. Associate Sponsors include: Berkley Trilene, Energizer, O2 Marine Technologies, Northland Fishing Tackle, Ryjus, Reflections, Worldwide Marine Insurance, The Walleye Federation, Sea Grant and Wildlife Forever. Now heading into its 27th season, the Cabela’s MWC is the oldest team circuit in walleye fishing.