Anglers stick it out to the end to win walleye tourney

ESCANABA – WIth only two hours left to fish and one walleye in the bucket, Tony Kobriger and Dan Zwick saw their chances of winning the 2013 World Walleye Championship beginning to fade.

“We’ve fished long enough together when we’re not doing well or there is not much happening there is a lot of silence in the boat,” Zwick said. “The boat gets pretty quiet and then you get a knot in your stomach and you aren’t feeling so good.”

The duo stayed the course on Little Bay de Noc, in hopes that the wind would pick up and draw the fish into the weeded “Black Bottom” area they were fishing. Lucky for Zwick and Kobriger the wind came, and with it the walleye.

“When she all came together at the end it was hard to believe,” Zwick said. “We were high-fiving; from a knot in the stomach to all teeth showing, it was pretty cool.”

The high fives were for good reason, as Zwick and Kobriger landed three more fish in the final two hours to win the 2013 Masters Walleye Circuit World Walleye Championship and the $20,000 cash prize. The Wisconsin duo also won the championship in 2011.

Zwick and Kobriger never filled the five fish limit but stayed consistent, pulling in four walleye each of the three days for a total weight of 55 pounds, three ounces. They hit a high on Saturday as their catch weighed out at 19 pounds, seven ounces.

“We weren’t getting a lot of bites everyday,” Kobriger said. “Bites were important, you only got four, five, six a day and that’s why we didn’t get our limits.”

Gladstone’s Glenn and Carol Chenier were another team who didn’t fill their limit but did start to pick up their numbers after only catching one fish in the first day of competition.

The Chenier’s caught three fish in day two, and two more on Saturday to run their total weight to 30 pounds, 14 ounces, good for seventh place.