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KRAUS-ANDERSON WALLEYE CLASSIC: Winkler-Moran team wins the KA Classic

Mike Winkler (left) and Sean Moran hold up their two largest walleyes Saturday during the weigh-in ceremony at the 14th annual Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic. (Malachi Petersen | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- It came down to the final 10 teams Saturday at the 14th annual Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic.

A total of 100 two-person teams of anglers started their search for the biggests walleyes at 7 a.m. Saturday on Lake Bemidji and Lake Irving before bringing their hauls of the five largest fish they could catch back in to shore to be weighed to see who would take home the $12,500 cash prize.

During the final moments of the weigh-in, with less than eight teams remaining, the team of Mike Winkler and Sean Moran of Bemidji took the lead and became the 2014 KAWC champions with a haul of 16.33 pounds. Their catch outweighed the closest team’s by more than a pound but failed to surpass last year’s championship weight of 16.74 pounds, which was hauled in by another pair of Bemidjians, Carl Knutson and Brad Davis.

Winkler said he and Moran had pre-fished the lake earlier in the week and had a good idea of where the fish would be.

“The fact that I fish this lake a lot may have had something to do with it,” he said.

Winkler Moran are coworkers at Gander Mountain and have fished together at least once a week for the past eight years. With his newfound prize money, Winkler plans on putting it in savings after using some of it to celebrate.

“We’re going to go to Lazy Jack’s and have some wings and beer and then the rest will go to the bank,” Winkler said.

Moran said they knew they were doing well because organizers put them toward the end of the weigh-in, but the team didn’t know how their haul would compare to the other competitors’.

“It was kind of nerve wracking for a little while but it was fun,” Moran said.
The annual fishing tournament, which is sponsored by Seven Clans Casinos, brings hundreds of people to the waterfront each year from around the state to participate in festivities.

Thousands of dollars worth of prizes were given out at the tournament including a new Lund 1600 Fury boat worth $16,000.

Proceeds from entry fees and raffle tickets went to support local charities and organizations.  According to tournament director Tracy Pogue, more than $500,000 has been raised in the last 14 years.

Pogue said the fishing during the day was good with the top teams bringing in hauls of more than 13 pounds.

“Fishing is always good on Lake Bemidji -- you get 100 teams out there -- we’re always going to get a great turnout on the scales and this year was no different.”

2014 Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic Top 10

Winkler-Moran: 16.33 pounds

Gaasvig-Treat: 15.54 pounds

Fuller-Anderson: 15.18 pounds

Cleveland-Reiplinger: 15.14 pounds

Weickert-Balcher: 14.73 pounds

Hadrava-Coons: 14.12 pounds

Ras-Kuhn: 14.05 pounds

Anderson-Topper: 14.03 pounds

Curb-Curb: 13.90 pounds

Templin-Floberg: 13.81 pounds