Devils Lake resident wins MWC tournament

Ray Maloney, Sports
Jon Dircks, left, and Curtis Blake shows off their haul after claiming the top prize at the Cabela’s Master Walleye Circuit held Saturday on Devils Lake. The scheduled two-day tournament was shortened to one day after high winds which were forecast for the area Sunday morning turned into a reality and tournament officials deemed it hazardous to be on the lake. Dircks, a Devils Lake native, and his partner took home $11,500 in cash and prizes for turning in a catch of 19.7 pounds.

For the second week in a row a popular fishing tournament was cut short by heavy winds on Devils Lake.

But in the end a local angler came away with the top prize when Devils Lake native Jon Dircks, along with Curtis Blake, turned in a catch of 19.7 pounds at Saturday's weigh in at Burdick Arena to win the Cabela's Masters Walleye Circuit. Blake is a resident of Grand Marais, Minn.

Sunday's final day of the scheduled two-day event, was cancelled when high winds were expected on the lake one week after similar conditions forced the cancellation of the Fishing Has No Boundaries outing which was scheduled on the lake.

"We always want our teams to be able to fish," tournament director Dan Palmer said, "but, their safety is our top concern."

"It's really disappointing because our anglers belong on the water, but this was cut and dried," added senior events coordinator Dan Johnson in explaining the MWC policy.

That meant that Dircks and Blake came away with a check for $11,000, along with a $500 Cabela's Angler Cash award for their haul on Saturday. Eleven other teams took part in Saturday's weigh in.

"It feels great," said Dircks, who indicated the team  got off to a good start Saturday. He said they slip-bobbed flood timber in the Pelican Lake area, but needed a strong finish to secure their winning basket of fish.

"We switched to pitching cranks in the afternoon and got three nice fish in the last half hour that really helped us with our weight," Dircks added.

The Fargo tandem of Ron and Spencer Deutz finished in second place with a total weight of 19.21 pounds. Jim Perry and Aaron Wagner, a pair of Kansas anglers, finished third with 18.51 pounds.

Don Olson of Andover, Minnesota, and Randy Carroll of Oswego, Illinois, took first place and $1,100 in the big-fish race with a 7.59-pounder.

In all, the top 12 teams shared nearly $40,00 in cash and prizes.

One of the highlights of the tournament was a Youth & Family Fishing Clinic courtesy of the MWC and National Professional Anglers Association, with free rods, reels and tackle donated by Cabela’s, Abu Garcia and Northland Fishing Tackle.

The Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit is the longest running professional walleye tournament circuit in the United States.

Top 12 Teams

1. Jon Dircks (Devils Lake, N.D.) and Curtis Blake (Grand Marais, Minn.) — 5 Fish, 19.7 lbs.

2. Ron Deutz (Fargo, N.D.) and Spencer Deutz (Fargo, N.D.) — 5 Fish, 19.21 lbs.

3. Jim Perry (Tonganoxie, Kan.) and Aaron Wagner (Oskaloosa, Kan.) — 5 Fish, 18.51 lbs.

4. Chad Maloy (Fargo, N.D.) and Don Denning (Fargo, N.D.) — 5 Fish, 18.39 lbs.

5. Travor Diegel (Pierre, S.D.) and Paul Steffen (Pierre, S.D.) — 5 Fish, 17.22 lbs.

6. Brandon Carpenter (Rockwell, Iowa) and Josh DeKnikker (Sioux Falls, S.D.) — 5 Fish, 16.94 lbs.

7. Mark Williams (Ashland, Wisc.) and Russell Williams (Devils Lake, N.D.) — 5 Fish, 16.64 lbs.

8. James Rusten (Devils Lake, N.D.) and Kyle Clifton (Minnewaukan, N.D.) — 5 Fish, 16.55 lbs.

9. Roger Price (Reiles Acres, N.D.) and Kurt Hodny (Grand Forks, N.D.) — 5 Fish, 16.5 lbs.

10. Cody Dukart (Dunn Center, N.D.) and Jared Shypkoski (Dickinson, N.D.) — 5 Fish, 16.31 lbs.

11. Chris Koth (Minnewaukan, N.D.) and Jason Feldner (Minnewaukan, N.D.) — 5 Fish, 15.71 lbs.

12.Troy Sand (Portland, N.D.) and Curt Hanson (Portland, N.D.) — 5 Fish, 15.52 lbs.