First place will pay a minimum of $7,000 cash, no matter how many teams compete in the event. Second place pays $3,000; third place $1,700; fourth place $1,000 and fifth place $820. Sponsor bonuses including Cabela’s Angler Cash, Ranger Cup, Lowrance HDS/Elite DSI, Berkley Baits, U2/The Oxygenator and Okuma Premier Awards add an additional $4,500 in cash and prizes to the total. Plus, anglers have the option of participating in the MWC Big Fish Pot, which could add thousands more to the tally.
“With 15 teams registered at press time, some anglers were concerned about whether the payout would offset their fishing and travel costs,” explained MWC Executive Director Dan Johnson. “By guaranteeing a minimum payout, we’re helping everyone plan on world-class walleye fishing, without worrying about how many teams will sign up.”
The minimum payout is based on a 26-boat field. Once the field tops 26 teams, the pot will grow accordingly. The top 20 percent of teams at each MWC tournament share in the winnings, and overall in 2011, the Circuit paid back more than 120 percent of entry fees in payouts, team of the year awards and World Walleye Championship winnings.
Entry fees for the team-format tournament—which is open to all anglers regardless of club or sponsor affiliation—are $650 per team. Registration closes at midnight April 22.
Headquartered in scenic Lake Pueblo State Park, the tournament features two days of competition, with one day reserved in case of bad weather. Teams are allowed to weigh their best five walleyes each day, and the team with the heaviest two-day total will bring home top honors and a minimum of $7,000 in cash. For details or to register, visit masterswalleyecircuit.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (877) 893-7947.
Adding to the excitement, weigh-ins and on-the-water action will be filmed for national airing on the NBC Sports Television Network as part of the Cabela’s MWC TV series. The event will also be covered by North American Fisherman magazine—which serves more than 3 million readers, including 400,000 members of the North American Fishing Club. “It’s a great opportunity for anglers looking to showcase their talents and their sponsors,” Johnson added.
Walleyes are winners in the equation as well. Since 1984, the Cabela’s MWC has donated more than $300,000 to fisheries conservation efforts through the MWC Conservation Fund, and will continue that tradition at Pueblo, donating $15 per boat from the catch-and-release tournament to the Colorado Walleye Association, to benefit the group’s many worthy projects.
Although the Pueblo tournament marks the Cabela’s MWC’s first excursion into the Centennial State, the Circuit has already forged an exciting partnership with the CWA, which will host the tournament and provide logistical support.
“Our main goal is promoting the sport of fishing, so we’re excited to welcome the MWC to Colorado,” said CWA President Barry Cundiff. Given the late-April tournament timeframe, Cundiff expects anglers to enjoy great walleye fishing on a variety of tactics, from live-bait rigging and trolling to casting and jigging.
The public is invited to the weigh-ins, which begin at 3 p.m. daily at Lake Pueblo State Park. The MWC, National Professional Anglers Association, Pure Fishing and Zippo Outdoor Brands will present a Youth & Family Fishing Clinic immediately after the first day’s weigh-in. The first 50 youths will receive rods and reel combos, and other prizes.
This is the third of nine Cabela’s MWC qualifying tournaments on the 2012 schedule, which includes the Illinois River at Spring Valley, Illinois March 24-25; Detroit River at Trenton, Michigan, April 13-15; Lake Pueblo at Pueblo, Colorado, April 27-29; Lake Erie at Huron, Ohio, May 18-20; Mille Lacs Lake at Isle, Minnesota, May 31-June 1 (in conjunction with the Cabela’s NTC); Lake Winnebago at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, June 29-July 1; Lake Oahe at Pierre, South Dakota, July 28-29 (in conjunction with the Cabela’s Regional Walleye Championship); the St. Mary’s River at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, August 24-26; and Cass Lake, Minnesota, out of Stony Point Resort, Sept. 14-16.
Teams fishing three or more tournaments compete for berths in the no-entry-fee 2013 Cabela’s MWC World Walleye Championship. That event offers more than $100,000 in cash, including $25,000 for first place.
Founded in 1984, the Cabela’s MWC is the oldest team tournament circuit in the walleye world. It has a rich history of intense competition on top destinations, plus youth outreach and a lasting legacy of conservation. Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is entering its 11th season as title sponsor of the MWC. Official sponsors include: Berkley Gulp!, Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, MotorGuide, Lowrance, Zippo Outdoor Brands, NBC Sports Television Network and the North American Fishing Club. Associate Sponsors include: Berkley Trilene, Okuma, O2 Marine Technologies, Reflections, The Walleye Federation and RPM Outdoor Sports.