Cabela’s MWC Spring Valley Team Count Tops 100
Presented by Lowrance Electronics
More than 200 walleye and sauger anglers have already registered for one of competitive fishing’s longest-running rites of spring—the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit’s season opener on the Illinois River.
Set for March 24-25, the tournament marks the 26th consecutive time the Cabela’s MWC has kicked off the season at Spring Valley, Illinois. And with 108 two-person teams signed up at press time, the payout is already sitting at more than $55,000 in cash, with over $16,000 in cash for first place. Since payouts are based on the number of teams entered in the event, a full field of 200 boats would yield a $30,000 first-place paycheck and more than $100,000 in cash.
Sponsor bonuses including Cabela’s Angler Cash, Ranger Cup, Lowrance HDS/Elite DSI, Berkley Baits, U2/The Oxygenator and Okuma Premier Awards add an additional $4,500 in cash and prizes to the total. Plus, anglers have the option of participating in the MWC Big Fish Pot, which could add up to $10,000 to the tally.
“In these challenging economic times, it’s more important than ever for us to give back as much as possible to our anglers,” said Cabela’s MWC Tournament Director Dan Palmer. The top 20 percent of teams at each MWC tournament share in the winnings, and overall in 2011, the Circuit paid back more than 120 percent of entry fees in payouts, team of the year awards and World Walleye Championship winnings.
Besides a great shot at cashing a check, the Illinois River tournament is also expected to produce world-class sauger fishing, with decent odds at hooking walleyes as well. Tournament coordinator Bill Guerrini reports the river yielded a stellar fall bite, and the entire Illinois Valley is buzzing about a spring sauger blitz.
“If Mother Nature cooperates, I look for a full field of limits each day—and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the next state-record sauger!” added Palmer, who is also a veteran guide, tournament angler and river fisherman.
Fourteen-year MWC veteran Kevin Dahl, who won the Spring Valley event with partner Steve Stack in 2010, is also stoked for the tournament. “It’s shaping up to be a fantastic year,” he said. “The jig bite should be as good as ever.” Dahl added that he’s looking forward to fishing Berkley’s new sauger-friendly Pink Shine and Firetiger Gulp! Minnow colors as he and Dahl angle for another win.
He also confided that they’ll lean heavily on their Lowrance HDS electronics to pinpoint low-riding fish lying belly to bottom, as well as clambeds and other key structure. “Knowing you’re on fish is a huge confidence-builder,” he explained. “It makes you far more in tune with the presentation and on point for strike detection.”
The Cabela’s MWC is open to all anglers regardless of club or sponsor affiliation. Two-person teams have until midnight on Sunday, March 18 to sign up for Spring Valley. Registration is $650 per team and there is no late fee. For details, visit www.masterswalleyecircuit.com, email email@example.com or call (877) 893-7947.
The public is invited to the weigh-ins, which begin at 3 p.m. daily at Barto Landing in Spring Valley. The Cabela’s MWC, National Professional Anglers Association, Pure Fishing and Zippo Outdoor Brands will present a Youth & Family Fishing Clinic immediately after Saturday’s weigh-in. The first 50 youths will receive rods and reel combos courtesy of the NPAA.
This is the first of nine Cabela’s MWC qualifying tournaments in 2012. The remaining schedule includes the Detroit River at Trenton, Michigan, April 13-15; Lake Pueblo at Pueblo, Colorado, April 27-29; Lake Erie at Huron, Ohio, May 18-20; Mille Lacs Lake at Isle, Minnesota, May 31-June 1; Lake Winnebago at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, June 29-July 1; Lake Oahe at Pierre, South Dakota, July 28-29; the St. Mary’s River at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, August 24-26; and Cass Lake, Minnesota, out of Stony Point Resort, Sept. 14-16.
Founded in 1984, the Cabela’s MWC is the oldest team tournament circuit in the walleye world. It has a rich history of intense competition on top destinations, plus youth outreach and a lasting legacy of conservation that includes more than $300,000 in donations to fisheries projects in states where its tournaments are held.
Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is looking forward to its 11th season as title sponsor of the MWC. Official sponsors include: Berkley Gulp!, Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, MotorGuide, Lowrance, Zippo Outdoor Brands, NBC Sports Television Network and the North American Fishing Club. Associate sponsors include: Berkley Trilene, Okuma, O2 Marine Technologies, Reflections, The Walleye Federation and RPM Outdoor Sports.