Triton's Steve Bohn Claims 1st PWT Win at Lake Erie
Cleveland, Ohio....As soon as PWT officials announced that day three of the Lowrance-Lund Pro-Am was canceled, high-fives and congratulatory cheers went up in the boat yard for winner Steve Bohn, Fairgrove, Mich. After six seasons as an In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail pro angler, Bohn tasted victory. He has led three tournaments previously.
Bohn has fished 17 PWT tournaments, cashed checks in eight of them, with a 10th place finish his personal best until 67.34 pounds put him in the winner’s circle. He caught a Lake Erie tournament limit of five walleyes each day, trolling spinners and night crawlers north of Vermillion.
The final competition day was canceled due to strong north winds; the result of a cold front. Seas were two to four feet near shore, and much higher five miles out. “The number one priority at the PWT is safety, and when conditions warrant, we keep the anglers on shore,” said PWT executive director Jim Kalkofen. “We had two great days on Lake Erie, and fun in Cleveland during tournament week.”
First place paid $64,000, including a Lund 20-foot boat with a Mercury 200-hp outboard on an E-Z Loader trailer. Winning $20,000 for second place (59.21 pounds) was Greg Yarbrough, Whitelake, Mich. Mark Christianson, Walker, Minn., netted $13,000 for third. He also has a second place finish this season. On the amateur side, Todd Swenson, Munising, Mich., won after fishing with pros Ken Zmudzinski and Ronnie Rhodes. They finished fourth and 18th respectively. Swenson won a 17-foot Lund boat valued at $17,000. Nearly $300,000 in merchandise and cash prizes were awarded Friday morning.
With one PWT tournament remaining at Escanaba, Mich., pro Mike Gofron, Antioch, Ill., leads the Angler of the Year race, with money finishes of 1st, 5th, 7th, 29th and 33rd at Cleveland. He has won $86,318 so far this season. Tommy Skarlis, Walker, Minn., is second, 21 points back. The MotorGuide East Division leader is Gary Gray, Oshkosh, Wis., with two 10th place finishes this season. Bohn is in second, six points back.
Big fish and $2,500 was split by pro Yarbrough and his amateur partner Lloyd Yeh, Brecksville, Ohio. Their walleye weighed 11.61 pounds. Several 10 and 11 pound fish were weighed. Second and $800 went to rookie pro Robb Christensen, Lorretto, Minn., and amateur partner John Macarello, Plattsmouth, Neb. Their day one fish weighed 10.66 pounds.
Special awards included the Coleman Cool Under Pressure award of $1,000 to pro Pat Schuette, Manitowoc, Wis., for moving up the leader board 67 places with 35 pounds on day two. He finished tied for 33rd, to win $2,000. Amateur Joe Artim, Duluth, Minn., won $500 for advancing 77 places. Bohn and day one amateur partner Tim Tidd, Millwood, West Virginia, won Gander Mountain gift cards of $500 and $300 respectively for their day one Heavy Weight catch of 38.02 pounds. Ted Merdan, Maple Grove, Minn., leads the Stowmaster Rookie of the Year race, which pays $5,000 to the first-year pro with the best record.
Approximately 500 walleyes were weighed each day, averaging four pounds each. With the cooperation of the Ohio Division of Wildlife, all fish were processed and will be donated to the Cleveland Food Bank and the Salvation Army for the needy. The PWT pro anglers, working closely with the NPAA and the Regional Sewer District and the City Parks and Rec Department conducted a “Meet the Pros” evening where Cleveland-area youngsters climbed into pro’s boats and learned about fishing, boating and career choices.
The next PWT tour stop is in Escanaba, Mich. Anglers will compete on Bay de Noc, Aug. 26-28, for the final Pro-Am qualifier of the season. The season-ending Mercury Championship takes place Sept. 17-19 in Houghton, Mich.