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Bemidji's Linstad takes the lead at Cass Lake fishing tourney

While some of the world's best professionals angle for a first-place check of $86,000, Bemidji's Wayne Linstad leads the amateur field after two days of the Optima Batteries/Berkley Pro-Am walleye fishing tournament on Cass Lake.

Linstad has landed 10 fish totaling 27.45 pounds over the first two days of the Professional Walleye Trail event, which concludes today with a 5 p.m. weigh-in at Stony Point Resort. He holds a two-pound lead over David Kegler of Hubertus, Wis.

In the professional division, the top three Super Pro anglers have all captured second-place finishes, but never an In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail victory. They are one day away from that feat.

Holding first place with a two-day total of 27.77 pounds is Brad Davis of Jackson, Wis. He has been in the game for many years, and has second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh place trophies, but has not stepped into the winner's circle. Chase Parsons of Brillion, Wis., has racked up 27.12 pounds, and as the youngest pro, won the PWT 2005 Rookie of the Year title, and placed second in the Championship that season. He has several top 10 finishes, including a sixth this year, already netting

$16,819 in prize money. Jefferson, S.D., pro Gil Mollet has second and third place trophies, and a third at Mille Lacs two months ago for $13,000. He has 25.72 pounds for third place, following a 15.80-pound catch on day two.

The Coleman big fish of the tournament, 6.89 pounds, was caught by Jay Weber of Annandale, Minn., which vaulted him to fourth place overall with 25.15 pounds.

Typical patterns ranged from lead core crank bait trolling to live bait rigs with chubs, leeches and night crawlers.

Chubs were the favored tactic. Boat control was lesson No.

1 learned by the amateurs, according to their comments on stage. The Optima/Berkley Pro-Am continues for the final day today.

The final standings will reward the winning pro with an $86,000 payday, while the top amateur wins a Lund 1675 walleye boat with a 60-horsepower Mercury outboard valued at $19,000.

In addition, the Johnsonville Angler of the year will be crowned with a $35,000 cash prize. The top 30 in the Super Pro series will be invited to the Mercury Championship, presented by the Dow Chemical Company on Saginaw Bay in May 2008.

Mark Dwyer of Bemidji is in 16th place in the amateur standings, and Bemidji's Jay Reiplinger is in 28th place.