NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – Now streaming on Outdoor Action TV, live coverage from day 3 of the National Walleye Tour presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Championship! The final day of the 2019 National Walleye Tour Championship is here and we’re crowing this season’s Pro and Co Champions at Devils Lake, ND! Catch the excitement now!
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Four years ago, John Hoyer decided to commence his transition from guide and co-angler to professional walleye fisherman. His teammates and travel partners knew he was ready. After all, in 2015 he won the Co-angler of the Year award on the National Walleye Tour, presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. What they didn’t know was that Hoyer would soon become the hottest walleye stick on the planet. In his last three NWT events, Hoyer has finished first, second and first. The one common denominator from each event is casting. Hoyer’s latest casting crusade came at Devils Lake during the premier event in walleye fishing.
Hoyer started the final day of the championship essentially tied with friend Dusty Minke. While Minke had an excellent final day, Hoyer put the hammer down with a 24.59-pound limit. He fished six different spots in East Devils Lake, but one clearly stood apart from the rest.
Hoyer’s three-day cumulative total was 67.73 pounds. He hasn’t had the time to fully process his latest achievement.
For winning the biggest event in competitive walleye fishing, Hoyer earned a Ranger 621 FS with a 300 horsepower Mercury outboard, $15,000 cash, and another $2,225 in Anglers Advantage cash for a total purse of $97,320.
Tommy Kemos had one of the best tournament days of his career, but it wasn’t quite enough to take the title. Coincidentally, he and Hoyer each recorded identical 24.59-pound stringers today, meaning he finished .43 pounds behind with a total of 67.30.
For second place, Kemos earned a fully equipped Triton-Mercury package plus $2,925 in bonuses.
After a run-and-gun, sporadic day, Minke thought maybe he won the tournament when he stroked a 27-incher with just five minutes left to fish.
While Hoyer was on the east side, Minke stayed west and worked three different patterns near Grahams Island and in Pelican Bay. He weighed 14 fish in three days with nearly an even split between the three.
With a three-day total of 14 walleyes weighing 65.02 pounds, Minke earned $15,900.
Fishing the same area as Hoyer, Bismarck, N.D., angler Greg Ehli was been remarkably consistent all week. On day one, he caught 20.82. On day two, he caught 20.26, and today he managed 20.11. This consistency resulted in a three-day total weight of 61.19 pounds, which placed him fourth.
Finishing fifth was Angler of the Year Tom Keenan. While Keenan was tied for second in the AOY race coming into the championship, he was still considered a longshot. He started 20 points back of pro Brett King, who claimed the 2018 AOY. On day one, Keenan and King were both in the top 10. On day two, the race completely turned upside down as King only managed two small keepers. In the process, he tumbled to 36th while Keenan made the top-10 cut. Keenan finished his final season with 756 points while King accumulated 745.
To catch up on the 2019 season, download the Outdoor Action TV app or click here.
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