--Presented by NBC Sports
April 28, 2012—Pueblo, CO—Don Skinner and Curtis McCormick finished strong to win a wild shootout among 74 of the West’s top walleye anglers at the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit’s tournament at Lake Pueblo, Colorado.
“I’ve fished several MWC tournaments but this will always be special to me because it’s our first win,” said Skinner, of Parker, Colorado. He and McCormick, of Lewellen, Nebraska, brought 12 pounds to the scale on Day One and 15.23 pounds on Day Two for a total weight of 27.23 pounds.
“This is hands-down the best walleye fishery in Colorado,” added McCormick, who explained that the team fished spinner rigs laced with Berkley Gulp! Minnows and livebait on bottom bouncers along a key creek channel. The win earned them the $8,100 first-place cash purse, plus the $1,000 Ranger Cup award, $500 Berkley Baits Berkley Tackle Package, $160 U2/Oxygenator awards and $200 for their 4.69-pound walleye, which took second-place honors in the Big Fish Pot on Day Two.
Scott Busteed of Windsor, Colorado, and Dave Harmon, of Omaha, Nebraska, finished second with 26.74 pounds, worth $3,700 plus a $1,000 Cabela’s gift card from the Cabela’s Angler Cash Program, $500 Lowrance Electronics HDS/Elite DSI contingency, a pair of Okuma Dead Eye rod-and-reel combos for being the highest-placing Premier (earlybird) Team, and $125 for third place in the Big Fish Pot on Day Two. In all, the top seven teams shared more than $22,000 in cash, sponsor bonuses and Big Fish Pot winnings.
Set for April 27-29 out of scenic Lake Pueblo State Park, the tournament offered two days of competition on the walleye-rich 4,600-acre impoundment, with one day reserved in case of bad weather. The circuit’s time-tested team format let anglers choose their favorite fishing partner to share the excitement.
A full 254 walleyes weighing 535.36 pounds crossed the scale in the catch-and-release event. Big fish was a 5.26-pound walleye brought in by Brad Petersen of Kersey, Colorado, and Shep Sheppard of Orchard, Colorado—worth $325 from the Big-Fish Pot.
Walleyes were winners as well. The Cabela’s MWC donated $15 per boat to the Colorado Walleye Association to aid its efforts to protect the state’s fisheries. In turn, the group supplied an army of volunteers to assist with tournament operations, led by association president Barry Cundiff. Since 1984, the MWC Conservation Fund has donated more than $300,000 to fisheries-enhancement projects.
Weigh-ins were held at scenic Lake Pueblo State Park. Following Friday’s weigh-in, the Cabela’s MWC, National Professional Anglers Association, Pure Fishing and Zippo Outdoors presented a Youth and Family Fishing Clinic, giving away free rod and reel combos, tackle and a Zippo Outdoor Family Camping Pack.
Adding to the excitement, weigh-ins and on-the-water action were filmed for national airing on the NBC Sports Television Network as part of the Cabela’s MWC TV series. Air dates will be announced at masterswalleyecircuit.com and the Circuit’s facebook fan page, The event will also be covered by North American Fisherman magazine—which serves more than 3 million readers, including 400,000 members of the North American Fishing Club.
This was the third of nine Cabela’s MWC qualifying tournaments in 2012. Open to diehard anglers regardless of club or sponsor affiliation, the remaining schedule includes 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.
The Cabela’s MWC is open to all anglers regardless of club or sponsor affiliation. Registration costs $650 per tournament per two-person team, and remains open through the Sunday prior to each event. Payouts are based on the number of teams fishing each event. Overall in 2011, the Circuit paid back more than 120 percent of entry fees in cash payouts, team of the year awards, sponsor contingencies and winnings in the no-entry-fee Cabela’s MWC World Walleye Championship. To register or for details, call (877) 893-7947; visit masterswalleyecircuit.com, or email email@example.com.
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. Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is in its 11th season as title sponsor of the MWC. Official sponsors include: Berkley Gulp!, Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, MotorGuide, Lowrance, Zippo, NBC Sports Television Network and North American Fisherman. Associate Sponsors include: Berkley Trilene, Gemini Sport Marketing, Okuma, O2 Marine Technologies, Reflections, The Walleye Federation, Worldwide Marine Insurance and RPM Outdoor Sports.