– [Announcer] Devils Lake North Dakota. (intense music) Last time the tour stopped here, first year pro Dylan Nussbaum sacked up 55 pounds and walked away with a title and an $80000 prize package. (electronic music) Now, it’s Championship time. And we’ve got 87 of
the top professional Walleye Anglers in the country. Each looking for a piece of the $245000 pie. But first, we’ll take a look back at one of the finest
seasons in history of the National Walleye Tour. Presented by Bass Pro
Shops and Cabela’s. And the action starts right now. (upbeat instrumental music) – This is Devils Lake North Dakota, where the largest championship field in our
history is gathered. And rightly so. We’ve got the largest purse in our history that we’re giving
away this week. Including two Ranger boats on the Pro side. First and second place Pro’s. Plus, the Co-Angler gets a Ranger boat too. There’s a lot on the line. It’s been an incredible
season in 2019. With lots of firsts. (upbeat electronic music) National Walleye Tour
kicked off its season, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. We were diverted from
Red Wing, Minnesota, the Mississippi River, for the second year in a row. High water, brought
us to the Bago Chain, and it brought great
dividends for some, including the man to my left, right here. Zac Axtman. Crowned champion there. Your first National
Walleye Tour win. What did that feel like? – Oh, it was
absolutely incredible. It’s something you dream about as a little kid, watching, you know… all the TV shows and all the tournaments
come through, and to be able to hoist your own trophy is
absolutely amazing. – Is there a couple of things from that day that really stick out in your mind that you’ll never forget? I mean, besides winning a Ranger boat and all the cash? – Besides weighing in at 11:30 and having to wait
for everybody else, the biggest thing was probably running through the fog, and finding, you know, a foot of chop on
the other side, which was exactly what I needed for my bite. – And that’s what you need to be crowned champion. You need things to go your way and be a proficient
angler like Zac. Let’s get to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. – [Announcer] It’s early May, and typically on
Winnebago Chain of lakes, fish would be in transition. But a recent front
has brought in cold, rainy weather. Doubling down on an
already difficult bite. – Water temperature
dropped almost 15 degrees in the last few days with all this cold weather
and rain we’ve had. And so the bites really off. – The guy that’s
going to win this is going to be the guy that runs around pre-fishing, stumbles on some good fish, and makes a lot of adjustments. (upbeat music) – [Announcer] With
conditions as they were, many of the anglers stayed off the main lake, choosing to jockey for position on the river, where fish were staging on points and piles. (upbeat music) Anglers knew it
would be a tough day, and by the end of day one, only 14% of the field brought in a five fish limit. Claiming the top spot was Hapley Wisconsin’s Tom Keenan, weighing five for 14.79. – Honestly I had a
great day yesterday, I’d like to have
a good day today. One thing I think that could mess us up is a lot
of pressure today. As long as the people
aren’t bobber-fishing or jig-fishing on some
of the poll positions, I think we’re going to
have a good day today. I’m expecting to catch something pretty good today so… All I’m doing is
just going to fish a bunch of rock piles. I’m going to go
from one rock pile to the next rock pile,
to the next rock pile. And just try to find them. Yesterday they were on top. Today I’m guessing they’re gonna push off because
A: boat pressure, and B: sun. I think if I can
grind out 14 pounds I probably have a good chance to win the tournament. I get 15 I think I can win. 13 will be close. But I think, confidently, I can catch 10, 11
pounds pretty easy. Then I got to get one or two key 21-23 inch bites. I think we can do it for sure. Yeah, right there. (boat engine roaring) All right. Not a big one, but a catch. A pound and a quarter. – [Announcer] With
one on the boat, Keenan put his head down and went to work. Pulling crank baits over rock piles and reefs. Tom and Co-Angler
Bobby Revolinski had five by mid-morning. – So, if we get two 21
inchers we’ll have 14 pounds. Right where we want to be. We got a good top
ten finish though. I mean. It’s 10 grand, it’s 10 grand. But now we need
to go for the win. I think now though, we figured how to catch them. I told you I had
you at the dock. Had 11 for pizza. It might be noon. That’s a good one. He got a Jack. – [Bobby] Yeah. – That’s always good. – [Bobby] I just got
a winner for you. – A check’s a check. Absolutely. Now it’s time
to go for the throat. – [Announcer] With his sixth top ten finish likely, Tom turns his attention
to fishing for the win. Meanwhile, back at the dock, Zac Axtman is already
at the scales. Three hours early. Starting the day in fourth, he adds another five for 13.90. Giving him a two-day
total of 27.40, and the lead. – Yesterday we were in at 12:30, with a limit, 13
and a half pounds, and today we got a better limit. We were a little
more selective today. So we got to fish
a little bit more, but they came in the
right order today. And we’re in at 11:30. – [Announcer] At
the end of the day it all came down to
the final weigh-in. Zac’s lead held
through 164 anglers. Now, we’re down to one. And Tom Keenan steps up. Looking for his second
win on the tour. – 8.79. Zac Axtman! Our 2019 National
Walleye Tour Champion! – [Announcer] Fishing
his second year as a pro, this is Zac’s first win. Earning him nearly $85000
in cash and prizes. Coming up: We’ll continue our recap of the 2019 season. Next stop, Marinette, Wisconsin. And the Bay of Green Bay. Right here on the National Walleye Tour. Presented by Bass Pro
Shops and Cabela’s. This segment of the National Walleye Tour is presented to you
by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Your adventure starts here. By Ranger Boats. Still building legends one at a time. And by Evinrude. Proven power. Proven reliability. (electronic music) Welcome back to Devils
Lake, North Dakota. We’re gearing up for
the 2019 Championship. It’s the final practice day, and before competition starts, we’re taking a look back at one of the best seasons in tour history. – Our second stop for 2019 was one of our
angler’s favorite. The bay of Green Bay. This time, based out of Marinette, Wisconsin. The guy on my left, ended up going home
in first place. But, you know what? He’s taken a lot of cruises across our state. Crowned Angler of the Year on the Co-Angler side to get your career started, right back… Right here, in Devils
Lake, North Dakota, that prize took place. You took second place
at Prairie du Chien, so you almost won. Your first year as a pro. But, what a year. You got a first at Marinette. And then a second right after that Sault Ste Marie. What stook out in your mind from your first National
Walleye Tour win? – Really, honestly, it was… You know… It was a really tough bite. And it was a fortunate thing… The way the bites came together. When you hear
people talking about how it just happens
when it’s your time… It was really, kind of, glaringly obvious. So I got the five bites one day, got the six bites the next day. And, you know… That’s how the story unfolded. They were all big ones. They just happened
to be big ones. – Is there one word you
can share with everybody about what it’s like to be a National Walleye
Tour Champion? – I mean, honestly, I said it on stage. It’s my number one goal in life. And, you know… Fishing is life for all of us. And… When I used to watch Professional Walleye Tour on TV, I knew that that’s exactly where I wanted to be. And I told my friends beginning of the season: If I wanted to win
my first tournament, I want it to be on Green Bay, because that is
the most historical Walleye venue of all times. So… For it to happen like that, I couldn’t script it any better. And… It gives me
goosebumps every time I’m asked that question. It’s an amazing feeling. (dramatic music) – [Announcer] Sacking up five for 41.37 on day one, John Hoyer is in control. – Let today’s mark fall… – It was a fun day on Green Bay. We had six bites today. We caught five of them. – [Announcer] Berkley Pro Korey Sprengel and Joe Okada both came out swinging landing in second and third respectively. – It’s the first
day I’ve actually caught a limit on Green Bay since I’ve been here. So… I don’t know what
to expect tomorrow. I know it’s not going to blow like it did today. That’s going to hurt. And… But I’m going to try hard, because I would love to finally bring one of these things home. (theatrical music) – Out here with our day two, you know… I ended up with a
great day yesterday. I’m sitting in second place with 39.6 I believe. Something like that. The whole goal
yesterday was just: not be out of it. With these big bags, and multiple day events, you just can’t fall too short on day one. – [Announcer] Looking for his first win as a pro, John Hoyer is just ready to get this started. – You know… I’m hoping for a couple good bites there
to start the day. And after that, we’re just going to start rifling through spots, and they’re going to fire on one or two of them, and hopefully we’ll have six, seven, eight
big bites today. What I’m doing is I’m just trying to drive around and find the fish on the size scan on
my Lowrance unit. So, like… Yesterday, I caught three
fish that I marked on my size scan. So… They set up a little differently depending on how the wind blows in here, with the current. So, basically, like… This morning I’m just going to a little tour of the mouth here, and finding where
the Walleye’s are. There’s a lot of other fish, but it’s actually really easy to tell the difference
on the size scan. So… I’m looking for
those longer marks, you know… That are closer to bottom. – [Announcer] Fishing
with Co-Angler Seth Lubbers, they’re throwing
lipless crankbaits over rock and sand
transition areas. – [John] Okay, bring him to me. Bring him up. Up. Up. Up. Up. Up. Up. Nice. – [Announcer] Seth pulls
in fish number one. And minutes later,
sets the hook again. – [John] Attaboy! – [Seth] South Dakota represent! Let’s go! Wow! Nice! – [John] Hand me the pliers. – [Seth] Yes, sir! – [John] That’s a nice one. We’re going to
keep that one too. Probably… I don’t know. Seven pounder? That felt right. – [Announcer] Closing
in on a limit, Hoyer gets the nod. – [John] Big one! – [Seth] Got it. – [John] That’s what
we were looking for! – [Seth] That’s what we wanted! That’s what we need. – [John] That’s what
we came here for. – [Seth] That’s an upgrade. – [John] Wow! We smoked it. Not going anywhere. Thank you to Berkley Fusion. That was the one we needed! We have five! – [Seth] And that’s a big one. – [John] That’s a sled. – [Seth] (laughs) – 30… – [John] Almost 30
and three quarters. – [Announcer] Back in Marinette, John and Seth step
up to the scales with another five fish limit. – With his partner Seth Lubbers. They’re going to set it in there and find out. This Ranger Envinrude Pro. This beautiful wrapped Simms… Boat can pull it
out here today too. Weight for John Hoyer. 38.96! Just a scooch under 40 pounds. Gives them a two-day total right here of 80.33 pounds. A massive, massive lead my friend. – [Announcer] And
now, there’s just one angler left to beat. Korey Sprengel. One of the hottest anglers on the tour. – Find out who our
champion here is, in Marinette. (theatrical music) Locks in at 15 pounds. John Hoyer! National Walleye Tour champion! – When it finally happened, you know… I don’t know how long it’s going to take to settle in, but it was a… It’s a crazy feeling! – [Announcer] And that’ll do it from Marinette and
the Bay of Green Bay. To watch any of
these tournaments in their entirety, check out Outdoor Action. You can find it online or on Roku, Amazon Fire and AppleTV. Or download the app
for iOS and Android. Coming up: We’ll hit the Sault Ste Marie for the final qualifying stop of the season. Right here. On National Walleye Tour presented by Bass Pro
Shops and Cabela’s. The National Walleye Tour presented by Bass Pro
Shops and Cabela’s is also brought to you in part by Triton Boats. We take America fishing. Mercury Marine. Go boldly. By Lowrance. Find. Navigate. Dominate. And by Power-Pole. Swift. Silent. Secure. (theatrical music) – Our third stop of 2019 takes us somewhere we have never been on the National Walleye Tour. Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. The beautiful St. Mary’s River that connects Lake Superior to Lake Huron. And what a fishery. Ranger Pro, David Kolb, shows us all how it gets done. Taking the tournament
from wire to wire. – [Announcer] Weighing
30.97 on day one, Ranger Pro David Kolb dominates the field with a near six and a half pound lead over John Hoyer. Fresh off a win. And now in second
on Sault Ste Marie. – I was really confident. For sure. I’m doing a little
different pattern than other people around me, so it gives me the ability to fish behind people and not care where
anyone’s fished. You know. With the people
that are in my area. So… Yeah. It’s a good feeling. For sure. – [Announcer] It’s
worth noting that both Hoyer and Kolb were looking for their second win as a Pro. Hoyer’s was in May, and Kolb’s was back in 2003. – Just another day of fishing. Right? So… – [Interviewer]
What would you say would be your key to success? For today? – [David] Be patient.
The right fish are around there. Just be patient. I’m going to give it a grind. I’ll be there ’til noon. – [Announcer]
Making a 45 mile run from launch, David’s trolling a rocky bottom and 12-15 feet of water. – I’m running crankbaits over shallower rocks. And all the shallow
side’s on this side, so we’re running four boards on this side. So… I’ve got a mag
planter on the outside so it planes out
a little better, so… And, plus, they’re a little more buoyant, and these heavier fish can’t sink them. So it’s kind of nice. I put a tattletale
flag on that too. (calm music) There’s… There’s some bait. There’s some
minnows around here. Gobies. And a lot of rock. So… And some current too. – [Announcer] With just one small fish early, David stuck with the program, and his patience paid off. (theatrical music) – [David] Yes! – [Announcer] Counting
on the afternoon bite, it was 1p.m. when the flurry finally started. – [David] Very good. – [Co-Angler] All
right. Here we go. That’s three. – [David] Whoo! We had a phenomenal
day in the end. It was slow to start. We had to be really patient. I thought that the fish were still around. So I’m going to
drag it out here. I had one skinny, 24. At 11:00. 11:30. And then I’m like: I’m just going to be patient. And drag it out. So… I was. And… Eventually… I got them to fire. (theatrical music) (water splashing) – [David] Whoo! I think we got it buddy! I’d say we got it. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I forget about
that camera stuff. – [Announcer] With
five in the boat, David Kolb headed to land. (theatrical music) After sacking up
30.97 on day one, David added 34.07 for
a two day total of, get this, 65.04. Finishing nearly 15 pounds ahead of second place, John Hoyer. – National Walleye
Tour Champion! (calm classical music) – What an incredible season. And it’s going to
continue here this week. Brett King, our reigning Angler of the Year from 2018, he’s leading again. Can he be the first guy to do it back to back? It’s all happening this week. Championship Week. Devils Lake, North Dakota. – [Announcer] If
you’d like to join us for the 2020 season, head on over to nationalwalleyetour.com. Sign up online, and you’ll be registered for a $100 Cabela’s gift card to be awarded at every event. Stay with us. There’s more from
Devils Lake coming up. The National Walleye Tour presented by Bass Pro
Shops and Cabela’s is also brought
to you in part by TH Marine. Quality marine products. (electronic music) Berkley. Fishing evolved. (electronic music) And by Lucas Oil
and Marine Products. (electronic music) (soft instrumental music) Welcome back to Devils Lake, North Dakota. For the 2019 National
Walleye Tour Championship. Presented by Bass Pro
Shops and Cabela’s. This is the tour’s
third stop on the lake. And second Championship
event since 2015. The lake, and the region, are great destinations. – We say we have a lot of small-town charm here, with a really big lake. It’s a fun… Fun lake to fish, because you can do any techniques that you want. But there’s a lot of things to do in our community. Besides fishing. So… We’ve got a ton of really cool boutiques downtown, where you can go shopping or grab a glass of wine while you’re shopping. We have a lot of
cool little bars and pubs that you can take in. We have the best steakhouse in the State of North Dakota right here in Devils Lake, called “The Ranch”. You can even get a sushi roll if you want, so… (soft ambient music) – [Announcer] Back to
Tournament coverage. We’ve got 87 of the top Pro’s and Co-Anglers qualified. There’s better than
$300000 up for grabs. Including three brand
new Ranger Boats. Anglers will fish for two days. Then cut to the top 10 for the third and final day. High winds and rain affected pre-fishing, and storms are in the
tournament forecast. – You know, we’re going to face some challenging conditions, but that’s what
Championships are about. That’s what we’re here to do. So… We’ve got a game plan. We’re going to start out deep this morning. Let that water warm up. Hopefully this afternoon. And be able to catch some fish up shallow. – Man. I love Devils Lake. You know… I won the original
Championship here. I guess it was probably five years ago. And this place is… I absolutely love it. You know… You control. You can cast. You can jig and wrap. And people will be
doing everything. The big fish are… Not paired up. There isn’t big groups of them. So it’ll be an
interesting weigh-in. Obviously some guy will drop bottom and
get over 20 pounds. But there’ll be a lot of
10, 12 pound weights today. And… It’s just going to be exciting to try to get those… I’ll feel a lot better when I get five
in the live-well. – [Announcer] Getting right into day one competition. Wisconsin’s Tom Keenan is in the hunt for Lucas Oil Angler of the Year. – Going in this event, I’m currently tied for second for Angler of the Year. Brett King is leading it. Korey Sprengel and
myself are tied. I figure I… I got to take a top 20 or better just to have a chance to beat Brett King if he has a bad tournament. But… Fishing pretty aggressive
this tournament. I’m going to try and catch us some really good ones. I’m usually pretty conservative, and… I don’t anticipate that today. I could’ve went and caught 10 pounds in
a bunch of spots. I came up here trying
to catch 20 pounds. And… Make a run at Brett King. No one remembers 13th place. So… We’re trying to win this. I think if we can
get five good bites up here each, then I can win the
tournament actually. Water temps good. The water color is good. They’re here. We just got to catch
a couple of big ones. – [Announcer] With
six top 10 finishes, including a win to his credit, Tom is one of the elite members of the million dollar-club. And with his recent
retirement announcement, winning the Lucas Oil
Angler of the Year, would be a fitting end to a remarkable career. – I almost have been
doing it 30 years. I’ve been chasing them forever, since 1989. And… I’m officially retired. People are going to say I’m coming out of retirement. That’s not true. I am… I’m just ready
for some time off. And… My wife and my kids have let me pursue a dream for a long time. It’s now a time for me to scale it back a little bit. And actually spend
some time with them. I think I’ll be back, helping at the tournaments. Out in the fishing camps. I’m really looking
forward to it. It’s time for me just to… I guess, decompressionize a little bit. – [Announcer] Pulling
cranks in 12 feet of water, Tom and Co-Angler John
Allen are on fish. – [Tom] Keep them coming. Let them fight a
little bit, vice, John. Lay it right here, John. – [John] Okay. – [Tom] Big one. – [John] (excited laugh) – [Tom] Now we’re talking. – [John] Oh yeah. – [Tom] Very good one. 20… Big fat 23 incher. Going in the live-well. Boom! – [John] Yeah, yeah. – [Tom] That’s better. All better. – [John] We’re better. – [Announcer] We’re out of time. That will do it
for this episode. We’ll be back next week with continued coverage of the 2019 National Walleye
Tour Championship. Presented by Bass Pro
Shops and Cabela’s. For extended clips, keep an eye on
our Facebook page. Or check out nationalwalleyetour.com for schedules,
registration and more. Thanks for watching! We’ll see you next week. (explosion sound)

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