CLEAR LAKE | Charles Braman and Randy Greve of Algona enjoyed a day of firsts at the 28th Annual Clear Lake Walleye Classic last weekend.
Braman was in the tournament for the first time. Greve had fished it several times previously, normally with his father Wally, but had never managed to finish in the money (top 25).
Greve’s first check was a big one. The duo took first place with 16.33 pounds, winning $2,500 plus two $100 gift certificates from Clear Lake Bait and Tackle.
Cold temperatures and high winds discouraged the pair from pre-fishing.
“We fished for a couple hours on Friday,” Braman said.
“Until we froze,” Greve added.
Conditions were little better on Saturday, but they stuck it out to weigh a tournament limit of five walleyes totaling 13.46 pounds, by far the largest basket of the weekend.
After managing only three fish at 2.87 pounds on Sunday, Greve assumed their lead was in jeopardy.
“I heard we were leading by three tenths of a pound, and I said ‘it will never hold up.’”
The pair caught their fish using live bait and slip bobbers in the little lake at a depth of about nine feet. Most bit on leeches around mid-day.
Second-place finisher and tournament veteran Brian Buehler of Clear Lake had likewise spent little time patterning walleyes this spring.
“I really didn’t know what to do,” Buehler said.
His first instinct proved correct. He and his grandson, Colby Dickes, also of Clear Lake, found fish almost immediately while using slip bobbers and jigs with leeches.
They fished in 10 to 11 feet along the edge of a reef near the outlet, where “it was really windy,” Dickes noted.
The duo reported good success throughout the day Saturday and managed a limit again on Sunday for a total of 16.04 pounds.
Their second-place finish earned Buehler and Dickes $1,370 along with two $75 Clear Lake Bait and Tackle gift certificates.
A 6.48-pounder on Saturday, the largest walleye of the weekend, bolstered their total weight and won them an additional $500.
Buehler said he caught the whopper on a pole belonging to his wife and longtime tournament partner Diane, who died two years ago.
Buehler has fished every Walleye Classic and also finished second in 2011 and 2012.
“This is probably the worst weather we’ve ever had for the tournament,” he said.
Curt Linneman of Spirit Lake agreed.
“Yesterday was the most miserable day I’ve ever fished in,” he said.
He and partner Jim Jorgensen of Forest City soothed their misery by pulling in back-to-back limits, claiming third place with 16.02 pounds.
Their payout was $1,167 plus two $50 Clear Lake Bait and Tackle gift certificates.
Jorgensen said they fished structural breaks in the little lake using slip bobbers and chartreuse or pink jigs with minnows.
Rounding out the top five were Jeff and John Giesman with 15.59 pounds and Travis Hesley and Seth Schultz with 15.34 pounds.
Nature’s Solution sponsored a $100 prize for 75th place, which went to Scott Butt and Greg Rickard.
Dome Bait awarded two $25 gift certificates for 26th place (Cole and Judson Olinger) and last place (Trevor Eiklenborg and Ben Hesse as determined by drawing).
Overall the 99 teams (there was one cancellation) brought in 771 fish weighing nearly 908 pounds. Only 9 participating teams failed to weigh a fish, while 57 teams brought in limits on both days.
The tournament is hosted by the Clear Lake Fishing Club and supported by numerous area sponsors and volunteers. Iowa Falls Marine is the title sponsor.
Other club events include the Take-A-Kid-Fishing tournament scheduled for June 3rd and the Fall Walleye Classic (date pending).
For complete results or additional information, go to www.clearlakefishingclub.com.