Angler becomes youngest pro to win a NWT event
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (July 30, 2018) – Dylan Nussbaum, of St. Marys, Pennsylvania, weighed a combined total of 55.43 pounds to win the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour event on Devils Lake, July 27. The angler won a fully rigged Ranger 1880 boat and trailer package with a 150-horsepower outboard, $15,000 in Ranger Cup bonus money and $2,926 in Anglers Advantage cash for a total of $63,926 in winnings.
The 20-year-old Nussbaum was victorious in only the third pro-am tournament of his young career. With the help of his travel partner and fellow Pennsylvania pro Ryan Rieger, Nussbaum located the winning area on Monday, a mere two days before the event commenced.
“This was not only my first time to Devils, it was my first time ever being in North Dakota,” said Nussbaum. “It’s a big lake, so I used my Lowrance and my Navionics charts to break it all down. I started in the main lake, and then went to Pelican. I didn’t like what I saw, so then I went to East Devils Lake.
“As I started driving through there, I ran up a breakline and saw giant marks on the screen. On my first pass I caught a 6-pounder, and then I made another pass and caught a 4-pounder. At that point, I knew they were hanging on deeper rock structure on sharp breaklines. If there was rock there, there were walleyes.”
“On my first pass we pulled a 30-incher, then a 4-pounder. Those were our sixth and seventh fish. Then we caught a 6-pounder, which pushed us over 30 pounds, and we were done for the day at 11:22.”
Nussbaum explained that his crankbaits were ticking the tops of those aforementioned rocks in 35 to 45 feet.
“I was just going up and down the breakline, trying to keep my speed at 2 mph,” Nussbaum said.
Nussbaum’s crankbaits of choice were Rapala Husky Jerks and Berkley Flicker Minnows. He said the No. 10 and No. 12 Husky Jerks accounted for the bulk of his fish. Yellows were the best colors, both stock and custom painted by Dutch Fork Custom Lures. For line, he used Sufix 832 Lead Core and a 15-pound Sufix fluorocarbon leader. Nussbaum let out between 200 and 220 feet of leadcore to get his crankbaits down, and his leaders were between 8 and 10 feet long.
“The key was getting away from all the boats and finding your own water out deep,” said Nussbaum. “The deep-water fish seemed more consistent. They don’t move daily like shallow fish. I think most of the locals were fishing shallower. I think not knowing much about the lake actually helped. I used SideScan on my Lowrance to see the rock. Sometimes I’d get some decent sized perch, which I think the bigger walleyes were feeding on.”
Second-place finisher Ryan Rieger, who travels and practices with Nussbaum, started the day in third place and moved up one spot after catching a limit weighing 24.13 pounds for a two-day total of 49.83 pounds.
“I couldn’t be any happier with second,” said Rieger. “Dylan is an awesome kid. I met him back when he was a kid and fished club tournaments on the Kinzua Reservoir with his dad. What he just did as a 20 year old is a breakthrough.”
Rieger and Nussbaum frequently troll crankbaits on leadcore back home, and it proved to be the perfect presentation on a warm, stingy Devils Lake.
“The Kinzua is where we figured out the leadcore bite, ” said Rieger. “So we came to Devils, jumped on the deep leadcore gig, and it was on.”
Despite catching 18 pounds on day two, Minot, North Dakota, pro Jim Carroll slipped from first to third. Combined with his 29.05 from day one, Carroll finished the tournament with 47.06 pounds.
“I wanted to win, but I did everything I wanted to do, the way I wanted to do it,” said Carroll. “We put it all out there and had fun.”
Carroll, who overcame a rare form of cancer in 2017, used two different patterns this week on his “second home.”
“I rip jigged and I trolled,” said Carroll. “Today, with the calmer conditions, I couldn’t get the trolling bite going.”
His two primary baits were a No. 9 Jigging Rap and Berkley Bad Shad.
Josh Venderweide (fourth), Robert Crow (fifth), Curt Hanson (sixth), Jarrod Fredericks (seventh), Zachary Axtman (eighth), Greg Ehli (ninth), and Joe Okada (tenth) round out the top 10 pro-anglers.
South Dakota fisherman Zack Kirsch caught limits of 29.05 and 17.06 to claim top honors in the Co-angler Division with a total weight of 46.65 pounds. On day one, Kirsch fished with Carroll, and was paired with Iowa pro Chris Burns on the final day. This was Kirsch’s first NWT event with the co-angler winning $6,000 plus $1,380 in Anglers Advantage cash.
“On the first day, we were using Jigging Raps, then we pulled plugs in deep water,” said Kirsch. “Today we started with Slow Death but ended up catching most of our weight slip bobbering shallow trees with leeches.”
Thomas Larson (second), Randall Vandezande (third), Lance Trihub (fourth), Mackire Gould (fifth), Tyler Hopensperger (sixth), Lee Murphy (seventh), Gary Speicher (eighth), Jerry Lagodinski (ninth) and Brandon Caulfield (tenth) round out the top-10 co-anglers.
The next stop for the NWT is the championship event set for September 5-7 on Lake of the Woods at Baudette, Minnesota.
For more details, anglers are encouraged to call 612-424-0708 or check out the website at www.nationalwalleyetour.com. From here, site visitors can learn more about the NWT, view the TV schedule and learn more about what’s in store for 2017.
National Walleye Tour events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of these well-respected brands: Cabela’s, Ranger Boats, Evinrude, Mercury, Minn Kota, Triton Boats, Power-Pole, Lowrance, Valley Fashions, T-H Marine, Atlas, G-Juice, Powertex Group.
2018 NWT Scheduled Events:
Championship – September 5-7 – Lake of the Woods (Baudette, Minn.)