Red Wing's Olson wins FLW Walleye Tour event
While he was competing in the FLW Walleye Tour event in Pierre, S.D., Red Wing's Eric Olson stayed on a rollaway bed in what he described as David Spaid's "fancy" poll barn.
Spaid is credited with inventing the "slow death" fishing technique and Olson said he learned to understand and apply the technique from his host. For example, Spaid taught Olson that a lighter wire is better so that bait floats higher in the water.
Olson used that knowledge to win his first FLW Walleye Tour event on Lake Oahe in Pierre on June 26. Olson's fish weighed 15.8 pounds on the final day, giving him a three-day total of 45.7 pounds.
"It was awesome," Olson said. "That's the most I can say. And the confidence it brings with the win is pretty exciting as well."
He netted a total purse of $36,157. Olson received a cash prize of $12,649 along with a $10,000 Ranger Cup payment, an $8,000 Evinrude Contingency payment and a $5,508 optional pot payout.
A slow death hook is a curved hook with a bend that allows the crawler to spin in a loop.
"When it loops, it really changes the presentation," Olson said. "It says, 'Hey fish, I'm over here.' It's a fish call."
Olson started fishing professionally on the Masters Walleye Circuit in 1997 and competes in about five tournaments a year. He entered the event on Lake Oahe with six top-10 finishes in his career, but he'd never started the final day in first place.
"I wasn't even nervous," Olson said. "It was the weirdest thing. I was in third place after the first day and I told friends that I think I can win. It wasn't meant to come across as cocky. It's a feeling like nothing is going to get in my way. I'm not going to let (anything) get in my way."
By 11 a.m. on the final day, Olson's calm had been replaced with apprehension because he didn't have any fish in his box.
His luck changed when he went to his third fish spot, which Olson called "my big fish spot."
He'd been at that spot for about five minutes when he hauled in a 17 1/2-inch walleye. He lost a big one, but then he caught a 21 1/2-inch fish soon after. It didn't take long for him to land more fish.
Between 11 a.m. an 12:07 p.m., Olson said he went from no fish in the box to five fish in the box and Olson stressed they were the "right" fish to meet the competition guidelines -- he had two fish longer than 20 inches and three fish shorter than 20 inches.
"To win a tournament, things have to go right. They have to go very right," Olson said. "It's partially luck. It's partially luck that you make."
Olson said his two-pound lead entering the final day also helped him out.
"Everyone would have to do things differently," he said. "Everyone would have to start swinging for the fences for their small fish."