If you enjoy dropping a fishing line into Lake Erie and know where to find the biggest walleye, the fourth annual Merrihew Walleye Tournament is an event local anglers won’t want to miss.
The one-day tournament will be held Saturday, April 18 out of Walleye Willi’s at Anchor Point Marina in Reno Beach.
The tournament will start at 7 a.m. and conclude at 1 p.m., with weigh-in starting at 1:40 p.m.
The fourth annual event is for jig fishing only. The previous three tournaments included trolling.
“By eliminating trolling, we hope the area’s best jig fishermen will participate,” tournament director Russ Merrihew said. “It evens out the field and levels the field off so everybody has an equal chance.
The trollers have been dominating a little bit. I thought we could get more participation if we had just one thing instead of the whole field mixed.”
Merrihew, who owns Real Affair Charters out of Meinke Marina in Bono, has been a Lake Erie charter boat captain for 24 years. He said he has talked with local jig fishermen about the tournament “and they didn’t think they could compete with the trollers.”
“If they wanted to compete in this tournament,” he said, “they wanted to compete against jig fishermen as opposed to jig fishermen and trollers. We’re hoping to get 25 teams. We’ve been getting around 20.”
A full tournament field will consist of 25 teams, with four fishermen per boat.
“This year should be better than last year,” Merrihew said. “The winter catch, the ice fishermen were catching some really nice fish. They were getting a lot of 10-pound fish.
“We like hosting this tournament in April because that’s the best time for jig (fishing) captains. For the captains, that’s the most fun time.”
The tournament entry fee is $400 and the deadline to enter is Saturday, April 11. There will be a 100 percent payout based on the number of teams. Each team’s top 10 walleye will be weighed, and there also will be a prize for the longest fish.
Last year, the winning team of captain Ron Newmister of Genoa, Marty Muse, Bob Gibbney and Mike Newmister had a winning catch of 62.7 pounds. The team fished north of West Sister Island and earned $3,400 for first place.
The runner-up team, captained by Charles Robinson of Perrysburg, won $1,700. The team included Mike Zaborski, Tim Robinson and Tony Tryree.
For information contact Russ Merrihew at 419-345-9870.