Day 1: The first day of Chamberlain, SD PWT Tournament.
I was paired with pro Jay Wendt, a third year pro out of Minnesota. Jay had fish going in practice about thirty miles south of the weigh in. He decided to make the run down to those fish, even though there were almost 40 mile an hour winds. It was a rough and wet ride, but nothing that my 20 year old back couldn’t take. When we got there, we started rigging with bottom bouncers and a fathead minnow. Jay soon realized that he made a mistake, because the waves down there were too big for any successful boat control.
After about an hour of fishing with no bites, he decided we should make the run back north to troll near the White River. We began to troll using "little ripper" reef runners. There were several other boats from the tournament fishing in this same spot. About an hour into it, we got a nice 19-inch walleye that we put in the livewell. This tournament had a slot limit were we were allowed to weigh three fish between 15-18 inches and two fish over 18. No culling was allowed. We decided to gut it out the rest of the day there, and the fish came slowly but surely. We changed baits several times, our best being Pearl Shad Raps. We managed to get our limit of 5 fish consisting of: one 19 incher, one 18 incher, two 16 inchers, and a 15.5 incher. It was my first limit, fishing amateur in the PWT. Our weight totaled 7.6 pounds, which left me sitting in 61st place after day one. I had a good time with Jay trying to figure out which baits to run and how deep to run them. We struggled but managed to come out ok.
Day 2: The second day of Chamberlain, SD PWT Tournament
This second day of the tournament gave me my best draw of any professional up to date. I was teamed with friend, Tommy Skarlis, who just happened to have won the first PWT event of the year at Lake Winneconne. I had known Tommy for quite some time, so I knew it would be a great day on the water. Tommy was fishing north of the weigh in about 20 miles near the dam along with about ¾ of the field. Pretty much all of the leaders from day one, were there. We were vertical jigging with 3/8 oz. jigs and a plastic minnow tail. However this wasn’t the same as the vertical jigging I had done in the past. Every fisherman would run up to the boundary line near the damn and then make short drifts. Then they would run back up to the boundary line and make another drift. This was done all day. However, the tricky part was dodging the other 70 boats doing the same thing. It was absolutely crazy, but I must admit I thought it was pretty cool. Tommy and I got off to a good start. We put a nice 20 incher, and a 19 incher in the boat. Soon afterward, we put a 17 incher and a fat 16.5 incher in too. Now all we needed was one more nice slot. I never thought it would be so hard to catch a fish between 15-18 inches. We spent several hours weeding through larger fish; we caught a total of 9 fish over 18 inches that day. Finally, with about an hour to go,