Local anglers win national fishing title

ESCANABA – The tournament moved from the Upper Peninsula, but the Upper Peninsula won the tournament.

The team of Ross Neubauer of Iron Mountain and Jaimee Tourangeau of Escanaba were victorious over the weekend (Thursday-Saturday) at the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit National Team Championship in Green Bay, coming out on top of a field of 237 teams from 16 states.

They took home $30,000 in winnings and each won a Ranger boat work $60,000, a championship trophy weighing 40 pounds and a Cabela’s All-Star championship ring.

Neubauer and Tourangeau’s three-day weight total was 89 pounds, nine ounces, which gave them the tie title by a six ounce margin.

The team was down by 10 pounds after day one and was sitting in second place after day two. The top 25 teams made the cut to advance to day three.

“We were trolling planer boards, using crank baits,” said Tourangeau. “We made an 85 mile run every day from the Fox River.

“It seemed like one big long day. We were pretty beat, it was a lot of hard work.”

The weather was difficult as Neubauer related.

“The wind totally stopped. It was calm and dead hot the last two days,” he said. “For walleye fishing, you usually like a little wind, but we had a spot where it didn’t really matter.”

“We fished a dropoff, there was a current there and a lot of bait there. It kept the fish happy,” said Tourangeau.

Neubauer and Tourangeau have been fishing together for six years, but entered their first professional tournament a year ago. They qualified for the National Team Championship in their very first tournament.

The weigh-ins at the NTC were held at Lambeau Field where Tourangeau was impressed with the set-up.

“There were a few hundred people there and they streamed it live on walleyefederation.com,” he said. “On the final day they had everyone drive their boats right through the weigh-in.”

With the NTC victory, the team also qualified for next year’s nationals in Milford, Kan.

Other local anglers who competed in the tournament included Jerry Plourde of Cornell, who finished sixth (74-01), Bert Wilson of Gladstone and Jerry Wery of Carney were 34th (40-12), Patrick Cassidy of Rapid River and Don Corbett of Escanaba were 51st (37-15), Glenn and Carol Chenier of Gladstone were 53rd (37-11), Frank and Brendan Sliva of Escanaba were 153rd (25-01), Bryan Anderson of Wells and Nick Kallio of Escanaba were 185th (18-06) and Lynn Honisko of Escanaba and Shawn Porath of Oconto, Wis. were 226th.

The National Team Championship was held in the Bays de Noc in Delta County in 2011.