Gilman conquers Devils Lake

DEVILS LAKE – Chris Gilman started strong and finished stronger, claiming first place in the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour inaugural championship. The Minnesota angler opened the event with a catch of 17.56 pounds of walleye, which put him in third place after one session on the water. Gilman boated 16.10 pounds of walleyes on the second day to earn a top 10 spot and advance to championship day Sept. 21.

Day 3 proved to be a difference maker. Gilman had his best catch of the tourney with 22.26 pounds for a total three-day weight of 55.91 pounds. Runner-up Joshua Vanderweide of Jenison, Mich., was a close second at 55.86. First day leader Mark Courts of Harris, Minn., finished in eighth place.

Gilman’s narrow victory gave him a big payday. The Minnesota angler’s winning sum included a $15,000 first place check, a new Ranger 621VS with motor and contingency money for a total of $90,100. Runner-up Vanderweide’s winnings, which included a new Ranger 620VS with motor, totaled $55,300.

Robert Blosser of Poynette, Wis., did not qualify for the final 10, finishing 19th. However, he was rewarded for his season long work by being named “Lucas Oil Angler of the Year.” Blosser was tied with Korey Sprengel of Beaver Dam, Wis., for the season points lead but was awarded Angler of the Year honors by tiebreaker, which was the largest single day catch of the season. Sprengel finished 29th in the finale.

Minoter Jim Carroll finished 72nd in the 82-team field and finished in 26th place in the season standings. The daily tournament take-off was at Graham’s Island State Park.