September 21, 2014

Walleye Bonanza sets sail August 1

Tournament in its 13th year since SSA took over

By John Fischer|Staff Writer
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STANDISH TOWNSHIP — The 2009 Walleye Bonanza will mark the 13th year in a row that the competition, coordinated by the Sterling Sportsmen Association (SSA) and hosted by Eagle Bay Marina, has fishermen traveling to Standish Township in schools.

According to Don Kroczaleski, SSA, the bonanza is only open to amateurs but age will hold no bearing on this tournament.

“It’s open to everybody,” Kroczaleski said. “We love for the kids to come out… and the wives… and anybody who wants to.”

He added walleye are the only qualifying fish for the competition and 20 places will be paid out based on the weight of a stringer of five fish.

“First place brings home $1,000; second gets $750; third gets $500,” Kroczaleski said, adding payouts are based on 50 boats. “We pay all the way on down to 20th… so you have a good shot to get some money.”

Kroczaleski says registration for the tournament is currently open and the tournament begins at 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning. All participants must be back into the channel by 4:30 p.m., he said.

He also says the tournament, which usually draws 70-80 boats, costs $20 per person.

“You have to bring your own boat,” he said. “At least two people have to be in one boat also.”

Kroczaleski says if inclement weather forces a cancellation, the tournament will proceed the next day.

Anglers looking to reel in some massive walleye, and a nice chunk of change at the contest, could be in luck if the taping of 1 Big Fish — the fishing program that taped an episode for its initial season at Eagle Bay Marina on July 14 — is any indication as to the Walleye volume in Saginaw Bay.

According to Captain Joe Raymer, owner of Looney Toons Charters and Don Sweet, who co-host 1 Big Fish, the walleye fishing was so spectacular while filming, they only had to utilize about five hours on the water to catch the amount of fish they needed, whereas they had previously set aside three days for the taping the fishing segment of the program.

“We’ve never been able to come out and shoot a show in such a short amount of time,” Sweet said in an interview for an article titled “1 Big Fish crew says county shoot better than expected,” which ran in the Independent on July 15.

“We were throwing fish back,” Raymer added in the same article.

For more information or to register, contact the Eagle Bay Marina at 989-846-6065.

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