Garver and Sikes take the 2015 Team of the Year Honors
The 2015 Nebraska Walleye Trail regular season came to an end on Saturday August 1st at Merritt Reservoir. All the teams that fished the trail in 2015 were treated to a free dinner in Valentine at the Bull Market restaurant. The free meal was provided by Ranger Boats. The top 10 teams in the final point standings were honored after the dinner with plaques, sponsor prizes, and bonus checks. The bonus money comes strictly from the sale of raffle tickets that are sold at each tournament. The raffle at every tournament during the season had prizes that were donated from several of the Nebraska Walleye Trail’s sponsors. Proceeds from this years raffles totaled $5700. Be sure to thank and support our sponsors so they will continue to support the NWT.
Finishing at the top with Team of the Year honors was the team of Ben Garver and Brody Sikes. These guys had a great season which included a big win at the Lake McConaughy Shut Up and Fish tournament and a strong 4th place finish at the Merritt Reservoir Open. They ended the season with 543 points and caught 85.10 lbs of walleye in 3 tournaments. For their efforts they were rewarded with $1500 cash, custom St.Croix Rods embossed with “2015 NWT Team of the Year” and a ½ Price Minn Kota Trolling Motor Certificate.
Finishing in second place in the points was the team of Scott Willis and Ben Seim. They had 539 points and caught a total of 82.88 lbs of walleye in all 3 tournaments. They won $1200 and a pair of Smooth Moves Seat Mounts for their points finish.
The team of Bill Kunze and Greg Belgum finished in 3rd place just 2 points behind second. They scored 537 points this season by weighing 75.41 lbs of walleye at the 3 tournaments. They received $800 and 2 $200 Gift Certificates to the Boat Dock in Grand Island.
Teddy Robinson and JD Baker finished in 4th place and collected $600 and a 250 piece Dewalt Socket Set. 5th Place went to the father and son team of Dennis and Shelby Vance. They received $500 and a ½ price certificate for a Minn Kota trolling motor. 6th place was brothers Dennis and Deon Quick taking home $400. 7th place went to Jeff Schilousky and Jeremy Palacz along with $250. In 8th place were Jeff Telitz and Joe Johnson collecting $200. 9th place went to Justin Helfin and Ethan Penner and was worth $150. Rounding out the top 10 was the team of Casey Sikes and Thomas Bliven collecting $100 for their efforts.
2015 Nebraska State Championship Walleye Tournament
The 2015 Nebraska State Championship Walleye Tournament was a combined tournament with both the Nebraska Walleye Trail and the Nebraska Walleye Association. This was the first time in many years that the 2 circuits came together for a true State Championship. What a great weekend with 57 teams from both circuits fishing their last regular season event together on Saturday and then having combing again for a one day Championship on Sunday.
The top honors for the 2015 Nebraska State Championship Walleye Tournament go to Travis Sanger and Terry Zimmerman. Travis and Terry have fished both Nebraska circuits over the years and are known by almost all the anglers fishing both circuits. They caught 5 walleye for 22.02 lbs to take first place by just over 2 lbs. They were trolling crank baits in the Snake River arm of the lake.
Finishing in second place was the Grandfather and Grandson team of Gale Anderson and Dakota Hines. Gale is a long time angler of Nebraska walleye tournaments and he teamed up with Dakota to fish the weekend at Merritt. This could be a very dangerous duo for competitors for years to come. They bagged 20.03 lbs to take second place with their 5 biggest fish.
Rounding out the plaques for the top 3 was the team of Mike Woerth and Dennis Kozak. They came in close behind second place with a 5 fish weight of 19.39 lbs with another 5 fish bag. Only the top 3 teams were able to catch 5 fish limits.
Fourth place was taken by Teddy Robinson and his partner JD Baker followed by the father and son team of Ron and Seth Green in 5th place. Finishing off the top ten for the 2015 Nebraska State Championship Walleye Tournament were Rob Haden and Steve Hankla in 6th place, Steve Gildersleeve and Jarrod Hamik in 7th place, Mike Means and Chad Warriner in 8th place, Kevin Holmes and Taylor Vanis in 9th place and Scott Willis and Ben Seim in 10th place.
On behalf of everyone at the Nebraska Walleye Trail we would like to THANK all of our sponsors for a wonderful 2015 season. Without your help and support we would not be able to provide our anglers with everything needed to run such great tournaments.
We would also like to THANK all the anglers that fished our tournaments this year. Without you there wouldn’t be tournaments with the great competition and camaraderie like we have. We would also ask that all the anglers from this season share your experiences with others to help grow our sport in Nebraska. Also, please remember the sponsors that support the NWT. Be sure to shop at their businesses and tell them you appreciate what they do for your sport and tell your friends and family that you would appreciate them supporting those businesses as well. Together we can continue to grow and share our sports with others.
Staroska brothers win the Merritt Reservoir Open
The third and final regular season Nebraska Walleye Trail tournament was held on August 1st at Merritt Reservoir in conjunction with the Nebraska Walleye Association. Anglers woke up that morning to lightening in the distance and in usual Merritt tournament fashion there was some rain and a little lightening at the lake. Fortunately for the anglers the weather never forced anyone from the water. It was heard from several of the teams that the bite was improved from the previous days spent prefishing. Most teams spent their time trolling crank baits in 8-20 feet of water; however, a few found some willing to still take some live bait.
Finishing the day in the top spot was the team of brothers Tim and Ted Staroska. The duo caught a great 4 fish bag by trolling shad style crank baits in the Snake River arm of the lake. They caught and weighed their 2 largest fish before 8:00. With the pressure of catching their “over” 22 inch fish off their chest early the duo was able to relax and catch 2 more fish. They took the top spot by over 2 lbs with a total weight of 20.89 lbs.
The team of Jason Hettler and Brandon Shada took second place with another 4 fish bag and also took big fish honors for the day with a 7.97 lb fish. They were also trolling crank baits in the Snake River arm of the lake.
Finishing in third place for the day was the Kansas father and son team of Dennis and Shelby Vance. They fished an area of the Snake River arm and had it to themselves most of the day. They were just over a half pound out of second place with 18.01 lbs and were the only team to weigh a 5 fish bag for the day.
Fourth place went to the team of Ben Garver and Brody Sikes with a 4 fish basket that weighed 17.49 lbs. They tied with the team of Scott Willis and Ben Seim. The tie breaker was decided by each team’s biggest fish for the day leaving Willis and Seim in 5th place. Rounding out the top 10 were the teams of Jeff Schilousky and Jeremy Palacz in 6th, Gale Anderson and his Grandson Dakota Hines in 7th, Bill Kunze and Greg Belgum in 8th, the father and son team of Brian and Gary Reglin in 9th and Jeff Telitz and Joe Johnson in 10th.
Garver and Sikes Win The Big Mac Shut Up and Fish
Ben Garver and Brody Sikes took the top spot at the Nebraska Walleye Trail’s second tournament of the 2015 season. The duo had a great day one basket to give them a 2.5 lbs lead heading into day 2 with 27.4 lbs. Most anglers found the bite was a little tougher on day 2 but Garver and Sikes bagged another 5 fish limit for 17 lbs to secure their win with a 2 day total weight of 45.16lbs. They also had Big Fish for the 2 days with a 9.94 lb tank that they caught on day 1.
Second place went to Marcus Brown and Scott Sundstrom. They were gunning for the win on day 2 and just fell short with a 2 day total weight of 44.78 lbs., only .38 lbs behind the leaders. Finishing in third place was Ev Tarrel and John Miller with a 2 day weight of 41.38 lbs. Fourth place went to Casey Williams with 41.32 lbs and rounding out the top 5 was Scott Willis and Ben Seim with 40.74 lbs.
A BIG Thank You to everyone that came out to fish the tournament. We hope to see everyone back at Lake McConaughy for the Cabela’s Regional Championship Tournament on July 11th and 12th.
Prevette and Burnham take the top spot at Harlan
The Nebraska Walleye Trail 2015 season kicked off at Harlan County Reservoir with the 4th Annual Rod Marshall Memorial Walleye Tournament on May 2nd and 3rd. The weather was beautiful and the fishing was great. A 50 boat field had no problems catching walleye and a lot of them. Trolling crank baits, slow trolling live bait and bottom bouncing with spinners or slow death seemed to be the best way to put fish in the boat.
James Prevette and David Burnham were the team to beat. This duo caught 37.35 lbs of walleye edging out the second place team of Jeremy Wiese and Todd Balfor who weighed 37.00 lbs. Prevette and Burnham trolled crank baits on the west end of the lake in shallow water. They had the area to themselves for both days of the tournament and that helped them to put together a winning bag.
Third place went to Blaine and Brent Janssen. The Janssen brothers weighed in with 36.10 lbs for the weekend. Fourth place went to Tom Harold and Steve Fitz weighing in with 33.40 lbs. In fifth place were Billie Schroder and Matt Klein with 33.10 lbs. 6th place went to Daniel Kelly and Randy Downing with 30.65 lbs. 7th place was Shawn Stone and Jeff Zerr with 30.25 lbs followed by Al Hohlfeld and Dave Rosenthal in 8th place with 30.00 lbs. Finishing off the top ten was Ted Robinson and JD Baker with 29.60 lbs taking 9th place and Rich Bacon and Rick Johnson taking 10th with 29.50 lbs.
We look forward to seeing everyone at our second tournament of the year at Lake McConaughy on June 13th and 14th for the Big Mac Shut Up and Fish.
2 day regular season points qualifier
Saturday & Sunday, May 2nd and 3rd
Lake McConaughy- Open-Big Mac Shut Up and Fish
2 day regular season points qualifier
Saturday & Sunday, June 13th and 14th
Merritt Reservoir- Open
1 day regular season points qualifier- Combined with the NWA
Saturday, August 1st
Merritt Reservoir- State Championship
Must fish 2 regular season tournaments to Qualify-Combined with the NWA
Saturday, August 2nd
Regional Championship Qualifier- Lake McConaughy
Must fish 2 regular season events to qualify (or be registered for Merritt)
Saturday & Sunday, July 11th & 12th
Highlighting the 2015 season will be 3 regular season qualifying Tournaments- 2 two day events and 1 one day event)
Cabela’s State Championship Qualifier at Merritt Reservoir to qualify teams must fish in 2 regular season tournaments. This will be a great event combined with the NWA.
Regional Championship Qualifier To qualify for this tournament teams must fish in two regular season tournaments. If the Merritt tournament is one of the two you MUST be signed up to fish it prior to the regional entry deadline. Entry fee is non-refundable.
End of the year POINTS Awards- Anglers that finish in the top ten in points will be awarded cash and prizes at the awards banquet at the end of the season. All 3 regular season tournaments scores count towards the points and you must fish 2 tournaments to qualify)
2016 Cabela’s National Team Championship Qualifying Circuit (the top teams will be invited to this tournament in 2016.) You MUST be a TWF (Walleye Federation) member by July 1st to qualify. Teams that are not TWF members will fill extra spots if available. If you have questions about TWF call Scott Willis at (308) 216-0434. Join the federation under the Nebraska Walleye Trail club at www.walleyefederation.com
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Check out the 2014 Tournament Articles