Vandermark and Fox crowned MWC Walleye World Champions – 2022 Walleye Masters Circuit
36 seconds ago by Keith Worrall
Amended October 6, 2022 at 10:36 am
Ontario, Wisconsin – October 2, 2022 – For Steve Vandemark (Linwood, MI) and Jerry Fox JR (Harrison Charter Township, MI), the trip to Green Bay for the 2022 Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit (MWC) World Walleye Championship (WWC) was well worth the long drive around Lake Michigan to get there. The duo are no strangers to big water and big lakes with the waters of Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie just minutes away. Their vast experience in the water is what prepared them to win against the top 38 qualified teams representing the best teams in the competitive world of walleye fishing.
The weather leading up to this championship event proved difficult for anglers to get out, spot and practice. The high winds and multiple cold fronts that preceded the WWC scattered the fish and truly allowed these anglers to live up to the title of “the toughest anglers on planet earth”. For Steve and Jerry, it was about using their electronics and covering the water. And cover the water they did! The team developed a crankbait trolling program with pressure weights on deep rock structures nearly 40 miles from the launch location at Oconto, all along the northeast side of the bay!
Weighing in at 23-11 pounds on day one, Steve and Jerry were nearly 4.5 pounds ahead of second-place solo angler Dan Stier (Mina, SD), who had a 19-05 total in the first day. Kg. But after day one it was evident that the rest of the field was able to begin to shape these post-cold front walleyes and find their own patterns as evidenced on day two as more than 5 fish limits and larger weights flowed through the Balance. Steve and Jerry’s program held true for them throughout day two of the event as they maintained their nearly 5-pound lead. during day two, the team of Randy and RJ Harwood (Oshkosh, WI) in second place heading into the third and final day of the WWC.
On the third day of the tournament, and after two days of steady weather, the 38-team field took off for their last chance to take home the coveted 1st place trophy. Anticipation was growing around the town of Oconto, WI over who would be crowned world champion walleye. At noon on the final day, spectators and fishermen’s families began showing up to get the best view of the fishermen as they arrived with their final day’s catch to bring to the stage. Everyone was excited to see if the Michigan team could hold their lead for the win or if there would be a team from behind that would find some of those giant walleyes Green Bay is known for.
When the crews started bringing their last day’s catch to the line master for inspection, it was pretty obvious that the fishing was better than the previous two days. The fish seemed bigger and there were even more 5 fish limits than the day before. Sammy Cappeli (Poland, OH) and Anthony Naples (Salem, OH) brought the biggest sack seen at this event, a whopping 29-01 lbs. sack that propelled them from the bottom half of the court to 7th place by the end of the tournament. Several low weight 20 pound bags moved the ground and resulted in intense weighing. About halfway through the weigh-in, the eventual winning team brought their fish onto the stage and established their 16-01 pounds. basket of walleyes on the scale and with that they cemented their lead to go on and win with a 3 day total of 59-12lbs. on the largest team walleye fishing stage in the world and be crowned champions of the World Walleye Championship.
Payment for the World Walleye Championship is designed to be paid out to all qualifying teams fishing on all qualifying days of the event. The total cash and prize payout was $132,868.63 with first-place Michigan team Steve and Jerry walking away with nearly $30,000 in cash and prizes, including $21,000 in cash , $7,000 Ranger Cup Bonus, $1,000 Lowrance Bonus, (2) Okuma Reels, Championship Rings and Walleye World Championship Trophies. The top 10 teams in the Team of the Year standings split $22,521. In total, the MWC reimbursed more than 141% of the registration fees for the full season and nearly 460% of the registration fees for the championship!
The second and third place also walked away with a large sum of money and prizes. Dan Stier and Curtis Olivier, with a total weight of 58-04 lbs. good for second place, won over $10,000, including a brand new Lowrance 7 Live. Third-place team Mike Dorris and Douglas McDonough, with a combined weight of 55-15 pounds, won a check for $5,000.
Anglers in Oconto, WI caught a total of 336 walleyes weighing a total of 1188-01 lbs. during the event. The big fish of the event was caught on the second day of the tournament by Kaiden Dorris and Mark Schoning and weighed in at 9-12 pounds.
Under the umbrella of The Walleye Federation (TWF), the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit is North America’s undisputed leader and oldest in team walleye tournaments and, as an inductee in the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, has set the standard for competitive walleye fishing for 38 years. The MWC is open to walleye anglers from all walks of life. The 2023 schedule includes seven qualifiers in six states, plus the 2023 Bass Pro Shops and MWC World Walleye Championship in Cabela, South Dakota on Lake Sharpe. Visit masterswalleyecircuit.com for details.
Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s – The best outfitters in the world, are in their 21st season as title sponsor of the Masters Walleye Circuit. Official sponsors include: Lowe Equipment Attachments, Lowrance Electronics, Mercury Marine and Ranger Boats. Associate sponsors include: Walleye Federation, Church Tackle, FishLab, Okuma, Power-Pole and TH Marine. For more information send an e-mail [email protected]or call (580) 765-9031.
Full results and weigh-in video