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Plan comes together for K-A Classic

It's great when a plan comes together ...

Angling partners Scott Gregerson and Chuck Jordan found a school of walleyes during pre-fishing on Lake Bemidji Friday. They returned to the spot Saturday and hit the jackpot, winning the 2006 Kraus Anderson Walleye Classic and a $10,000 first place check.

Gregerson of Cass Lake and Jordan of Osage boated a five fish limit of 14.92 pounds, besting second place finishers Greg Hendricks and Terry Peterson of Bemidji by over one pound. The team of Jack Shriver of Walker and Joel Shriver of Turtle River were third with 13.39 pounds, while Jay and Jon Ross of Blackduck were fourth with 12.45 pounds. Tim Hinrichs of Bemidji and Bill Kane of Laporte ended fifth with 10.81 pounds.

Nichol Dahl of Bemidji took big fish honors with a 5.75 pounder. Along with her husband Keith, the team ended with two walleyes weighing 9.55 pounds.

It was the exact opposite scenario from what usually happens in a fishing tournament. The vast majority of time anglers search for larger fish to no avail and end up weighing in smaller ones. The Dahls caught their two big fish, but couldn't find smaller ones to round out their five fish limit.

A total of 305 walleyes were brought in, weighing 524.68 pounds.

Both Gregerson (fifth year) and Jordan third year) are veterans of the Kraus Anderson Walleye Classic, but this was the first time they fished the tournament together. Gregerson came close to winning with a different partner in 2003, fishing just a few ounces away from the title.

"Mickey Mouse could fish with (Gregerson) and do well," Jordan said with a chuckle.

A regular on the Minnesota Tournament Trail walleye circuit, Gregerson and pre-fishing was tough. "We fished for 22 hours last weekend and caught eight fish," he said.

Things began to change dramatically on Friday. "We found some big fish off Cameron Point," Gregerson reported, "and then found a big school in the cabbage weeds on the east side of the lake."

The team headed for Cameron right off the bat in an effort to find a big fish early. "We saw too big fish get caught there on Friday so we tried it for about and hour, but there wasn't anything there," Jordan said.

The decision was made to head across the lake.

"I caught one that was 19 7/8 inches right off the bat," Gregerson said. "It was too close to 20 inches (each angler can only keep one walleye over 20 inches), so I threw it back. Then Charlie caught a 23 incher right away. We decided to stay on the spot."

Gregerson said he trolled with night crawlers, while Jordan used the standard jig and minnow. They trolled the edges of the cabbage in 12 to 16 feel of water.

Gregerson said the team caught fish consistently, with a small lull in the action coming at about 11 a.m. However the bite soon picked up again and the team said they caught fish right up to the closing bell.

"We boated about 35 walleyes," Gregerson reported. "It was a great day."

The area where the team caught the winning basket wasn't heavily pressured, according to Jordan. "There were only about six other boats in the area throughout the day," he said. "They were all spread out and there was plenty of room to work."

Gregerson said he's fished Lake Bemidji many times in the past. "The lake can be frustrating at times," he said. "But it all worked out today -- we were in the right place at the right time."

Several boats reported a lot of fish during the event, with most of the being in the 13 inch range. Former Kraus Anderson Walleye Classic champions Rick Rundquist and Harv Lueck reported boating over 40 walleyes. The team ended in seventh place with 10.71 pounds.

While most anglers reported using the traditional baits of minnows, crawlers and leeches, the forth place team of Andrew and Anthony Renner tried something a bit different.

"We trolled deeper water with crankbaits," Tony Renner said, "number 7 and 9 Shad Raps. We only caught five, but they were all nice fish."

All anglers were lavish in their praise for the Kraus Anderson Walleye Classic as a whole.

"It's a wonderful event and does such great things for the community," said Gregerson. "I'll fish this tournament every year I'm able. I love it."