Operation Walleye introduces new tournament series

Operation Walleye introduces new tournament series


GILBERTSVILLE, KY–Operation Walleye announced Thursday the introduction of a $2.9 million professional walleye fishing circuit known as the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Series.

The announcement comes less than three months after the organization held its first walleye event–the $1.4 million Wal-Mart RCL Championship in Green Bay, Wis. The RCL Championship held Oct. 4 to 7, 2000, awarded a top prize of $300,000 cash to Scott Glorvigen of Grand Rapids, Minn., instantly placing him among the sport’s top all-time money winners.

Named after retail giant Wal-Mart and boat manufacturers Ranger, Crestliner and Lund, the RCL Series will be the world’s most lucrative walleye fishing circuit and the center of attraction for the nation’s 4 million walleye anglers.

According to Operation Walleye President Charlie Hoover, the Wal-Mart RCL Series is intended to elevate competitive walleye fishing to national stature through top-dollar tournaments and big name sponsors–a formula that has worked well in other professional fishing arenas.

“We view this as an opportunity to help grow the sport as a whole,” Hoover said. “After an extremely successful RCL Championship earlier this year, we decided to continue the momentum and build on the foundation laid by that event and by the tournament organizations that supported it.”

The 2001 RCL Series will consist of four qualifying events and a year-end championship. Each full field qualifier will award anglers $390,750 and a Ranger, Crestliner or Lund boat. The top Pro Division award in each qualifying event is $50,000 plus a Ranger, Crestliner or Lund boat, and the top Co-Angler Division award is $15,000. The RCL Championship will feature a top award of up to $400,000 in the Pro Division and up to $150,000 in the Co-Angler Division. All told, the RCL Championship purse could award up to $1.4 million cash.

The first tournament of the new series will be held April 11 to 14 on Lake Erie in Port Clinton, Ohio, followed by a stop in La Crosse, Wis., May 9 to 12 for a tournament on the Mississippi River. The two remaining qualifying tournaments will be held June 13 to 16 on Saginaw Bay in Bay City, Mich. and Sept. 5 to 8 on Devils Lake in Devils Lake, N.D.

Green Bay, Wis., the site of the inaugural RCL Championship, will host the 2001 RCL Championship Oct. 2 to 6. There, North America’s finest walleye anglers will fish the Fox River and Green Bay for the sport’s top award.

Ranger, Crestliner and Lund boat owners will fill the 175 pro slots in each RCL qualifying event while 175 co-angler berths in each tournament will be available to the public. Entry fees for each tournament are $1,250 for pros and $500 for co-anglers.

Anglers in each qualifier will fish in three elimination rounds. The full field will compete for two days, after which the field will be cut to the top 60 pros and co-anglers, who will then compete for one day in the semi-final round. The top 12 pros and co-anglers after the semi-final round will advance to the final day of competition. Catch weights carry over for the first two days, but anglers will start the semi-final and final rounds from zero.

Entry fees for the $1.4 million RCL Walleye Championship are $1,500 for pros and $750 for co-anglers. A total of 200 anglers from the RCL qualifiers and other sanctioned tournament organizations will compete in each division during the championship.

Complete program details and entry forms will be forthcoming on the Web at www.operationwalleye.com. Additional information on the 2001 Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Series is also available from Operation Walleye at (270) 362-5259.

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