Two solid baskets lifted Joe and John Giuliani to victory against more than 120 anglers from eight states and one Canadian province competing in the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit’s East Division season finale on the St. Mary’s River.
|Joe Giuliani & John Giuliani (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) -- 10 Fish Total, 38.88 lbs
“It’s amazing,” said Joe Giuliani, moments after taking the lead in a dramatic finish in front of a great riverfront crowd at newly-dedicated William Gregory Park. “Johnnie and I have won a lot of tournaments, but this is the biggest.” The Giulianis, both of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, weighed 17.27 pounds on Day One and 21.61 pounds on Day Two for a 38.88-pound total that put them more than 5 pounds ahead of their nearest rivals.
They drifted 3- to 4-inch-long nightcrawlers downstream in 20 feet of water at the intersection of the Garden and St. Mary’s rivers. “We ran 2-ounce pencil sinkers on 6-inch droppers and 4-foot Berkley 100 Percent Fluorocarbon leaders with a 1/0 hook,” added John, who explained that the dainty livebait mimicked the juvenile lampreys upon which walleyes were gorging. They also jigged 3-inch Berkley Gulp! Alive! Minnows on fluorocarbon leaders.
The brothers earned $11,250 for first place, plus a $1,000 Cabela’s gift card through the Cabela’s Angler Cash program, $500 Lowrance Electronics HDS/Elite DSI contingency, a $500 Berkley Baits Prize Package, $300 from Worldwide Marine Insurance and $280 for third place in the Big Fish Pot.
Jason Doyon of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and Chris McMillan of Echo Bay, Ontario, finished second with 33.20 pounds, good for $5,150 in cash. In all, the top 12 Cabela’s MWC teams shared the $32,760 cash payout, plus thousands more in contingencies and Big Fish Pot winnings. The Circuit also crowned its East Division Team of the Year, Mark Lemke of Dexter, Michigan, and John Oreilly of Lincoln Park, Michigan, who claimed $3,000 for overall Team of the Year honors.
Held at William Gregory Park (formerly Aune-Osborne), the weigh-ins drew large crowds and press coverage including national television, print and digital media. Prior to the Day One weigh-in, Sault Ste. Marie mayor Anthony Bosbous led a rededication ceremony for the landing—held on the Cabela’s MWC stage. Capping off the day’s festivities, the Cabela’s MWC and National Professional Anglers Association presented a Youth & Family Fishing Clinic. Young walleye fans received rods and reels donated by the NPAA, along with NPAA/MWC Future Pro shirts, and tackle packages courtesy of Northland Fishing Tackle.
Walleyes were winners as well. The Cabela’s MWC donated $15 per boat to the Soo Sportsmen’s Club for fishery-enhancement projects. Since 1984, the MWC Conservation Fund has donated more than $300,000 toward walleye conservation in states where its tournaments are held.
This was the final stop on the Cabela’s MWC East Division’s 2011 season, which also included the Detroit River out of Trenton, Michigan, in April, and Lake Erie at Sandusky, Ohio, in May. The Cabela’s MWC’s 2011 trail 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 $20,000 in cash prizes.
Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is in its tenth season as title sponsor of the MWC. Official sponsors include: Berkley Gulp!, Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, 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.