2023 Ohio Walleye Federation
For Immediate Release
2023 Ohio Walleye Federation
Two Day Inland Lake Championship - Pymatuning
Well that’s a wrap on the official Inland Lake Season. What started in April on Mosquito is now over before the fireworks are set off in July. For many in the club, the focus will now move away from the tournaments and competition to fun fishing on Lake Erie. After the challenging season that we just had, I can see that being a welcome relief.
The conclusion of the year ended how most of the season went, with a grinder of a bite. Pymatuning did it’s best to keep make the top finishing teams working hard to get the bites needed to win the event. The last time the club held a 2 day Championship at Pymatuning, there were big fish and big bags aplenty. What a difference a few years make.
As is what seems to be the norm, conditions were tough for all days of practice and competition. A 20-degree cold front faced the 25 teams that signed up for the event. Water temps at the beginning of June were in the high 70s, and most of the week leading up the tournament, they were trying to rebound back from the mid-60s. Pymatuning usually boasts a very strong trolling bite, and based on the results, that was not the case this year. As is always the case with this super competitive club, someone figures out how to catch them at every event.
The team that did that best this weekend was the team of Erick and Ed Williams. The Williams brothers weighed the biggest bag both days of the event and won the event with a combined weight of 29.67 pounds! Their bag on Day 1 was 16.53 pounds and Day 2 of 13.14. For their efforts, Erick and Ed brought home Day 1 NTC side pot win, total cash payout of $2500, and the 2 days efforts were enough to propel them into the top 3 points!! Erick and Ed reported catching their fish both days fishing with a jig and half a crawler in one of the many Pymatuning weed patches with in 3-6 feet of water. Erick has been a mainstay with the club, and this was his first ever win, the Championship, and to do it with his brother had to make it even more special!
In 2nd place was the team of AJ Marcello and Gary Gaca winning $1500 for their 2 days of fishing. AJ and Gary weighed a combined weight for both days of 28.28 pounds with the 3rd biggest bag on Day 1 weighing 15.54 pounds and the 2nd biggest bag on day 2 weighing 12.74 pounds. With the 12.74 pound bag on Day 2, AJ and Gary punched their ticket to the 2024 NTC on Lake Erie, winning a coveted side pot event. AJ and Gary also reported catching their fish with a jig and crawler in the weeds.
3rd place was the team of Anthony Naples and Christopher Durkin weighing a combined weight of 25.95 pounds. For their efforts, they took home a payout of $1000. They had the 2nd biggest bag of Day 1 with a weight of 16.38 pounds. Anthony and Christopher claimed that their fish were also caught on a jig and crawler in the weeds.
In 4th place, with a two day 10 fish weight of 20.34 pounds was Dan Debenedicts and Randall Hoppert. Dan and Randall won $800.00 for their 2 days fishing. To stick with the theme caught their fish with a jig and half a crawler in the weeds.
Rounding out the top 5 was the father and son team of Ray and Justin Yuran. Ray and Justin weighed 19.31 pounds over the 2 days and brought home a check for $650.00. Ray and Justin were also catching their fish in the weeds with a jig and half a crawler.
The Day 1 big fish, which weighed 5.06 pounds, was caught by the team of Landin Baughman and Dakota Trautman. Landin and Dakota caught their fish trolling worm harnesses over deep water.
Day 2 Big fish was won by Terry Hovance and Larry Calvert with a 5.55 pound walleye that was caught with a jig and crawler in the weeds.
Our 3rd place bag on Day 2 was weighed in by the team of Andy Travis and Joe Papalia with a 5 fish limit of 11.65 pounds.
All of the individual day big fish and top 3 took home some really cool plaques! The plaques for the championship top 5 will be awarded a later date.
The conclusion of the season was also the conclusion of the highly contested and highly sought-after ILC Points Championship.
The winners of the points for 2023 were the dominant team of Anthony Naples and Christopher Durkin. Naples and Durkin won 2 events this year and also finished 3rd in the Championship. Great job, guys!
In 2nd place was the team of Rick Mulraney and his multiple partners. The team got 1st at Mosquito, 2nd at Milton, and a top 5 at Berlin! Awesome year!
Finally, in 3rd place, after their dominant performance at the Championship, was the team of Erick and Ed Williams. Erick and Ed were extremely consistent all year up until the Championship when they put the pedal to the metal and won the event in dominant fashion.
The Ohio Walleye Federation will be looking to hold more NTC Side pot qualifiers throughout the summer in order to get more teams qualified for the 2024 NTC. If you are interested in fishing and getting qualified, please let us know.
Our next official event will be the Erie Marine Sales Open out of Lorain on October 21st. Get your entries in for that event as well!
The Ohio Walleye Federation would like to thank our title sponsor, Erie Marine Sales, for all of the support that they provide to us. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be able to provide 100% payout at all tournaments.