August 8, 2013

Big fish made the difference

Big fish made the difference

By Jerry W. Kram

It took more than 20 pounds of walleye to crack the top 30 places and get into the money at the 25th Annual Four Bears Walleye Tournament this weekend. But it was a single fish that made the difference between the top place finishers but boy, what a fish.
Mark and Roberta Ryckman of Bismarck were in second place after the first day of the tournament with 16.88 pounds of walleye weighed in. The battle for the top position was tight, however, with six teams bringing in more than 16 pounds the first day, led by Devin Dorval and Shawn Reisenauer with 17.34 pounds.
“We prefished on Thursday and caught fish in 10 feet of water,” Mark Rykman said. “We went full crankbait. But Friday we did the same thing and didn’t do well at all. So we didn’t have a plan. But we came in Saturday with a good batch of fish and we thought that we would never top that.”
Another of the top teams from the first day, Chris Johnson of Bismarck and Donnie Opozda of Minot brought in 12.89 pounds of walleye, which when combined with their first day’s catch of 16.1 pounds gave them a commanding lead with 29.99 pounds. Most of the other first day leaders fell back with catches between eight and 12 pounds. It looked the Johnson/Opozda team were headed for victory when the Ryckmans arrived with the first 18+pound stringer of the tournament topped off by a 8.03 pound whopper that took the big fish prize as well.
“Sunday, we never had a fish before 11 a.m.,” Mark Ryckman said. “We only caught six fish over 15 inches. But about 1 p.m. we got into what we thought was a northern, but it turned out to be an 8 pound walleye. We were pulling lead core and rip sticks in 23 feet of water and Saturday we were fishing in 10 feet of water. So you never know.”
 


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