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Przekurat wins Red Wing FWL title

RED WING, Minn. - Jason Przekurat had the crowd almost fooled at the final weigh-in of the FWL Walley's Tour's Red Wing Tournament Saturday afternoon in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

He and his co-angler fishing partner for the day Phil Milleser of Plymouth, Ind., came to the weigh-in area with an empty plastic bucket. It looked like neither of them caught anything that day, giving the championship to Elmwood's Nick Johnson, who led the field with 69 pounds and two ounces worth of fish caught.

But soon Przekurat and Milleser came to the stand with a big platsic bag that had five fish weighing 27 pounds which gave the Stevens Point native the title with 89 pounds and 15 inches of fish caught.

Przekurat won $100,000 of the $509,000 purse. Johnson finished second but he still collected $40,000. Hager City's Scott Fairbairn finished sixth and collected $12,000.

Przekurat won despite fishing conditions Saturday all the anglers described as brutal. The peaceful and sunny weather of the first two days of the tournament were replaced by the rainy and windy conditions of Friday and Saturday on the Mississippi River's Pools 3, 4 and 5.

"I was fishing what I called the gauntlet," Przekurat said. "It was a spot right outside of a backwater lake. The fish were spawning in that lake and they would move out and stage up on this spot after they were finished. I had a steady stream of fish coming out. They seemed to be replenishing themselves everyday. If I could just get my jig through the heavy cover without snagging up I knew I was pretty much going to catch a fish."

The top 10 anglers after the first three days of the tournament got to fish on day four. Fishing with them were 10 anglers who are not on the tour. Milleser won that title with 87 lounds and five ounces worth of fish.

Johnson, who won the Red Wing title in 2004, was fifth going into Saturday's comeptition. Johnson's totals held up until Przekurat's fish were weighed. Przekurat led going into Saturday's fishing while Fairbairn was eighth.

"I'm pretty happy with the results considering the loose pattern I was running," Johnson said. "I do well because I work this river and Lake Pepin hard. I fish here from sun-up to sun-down."

Fairbarn was also happy to finish strong with five fish caught on the last day with a four-day total of 63 pounds.

"I prefer to fish the river more than I do the lake and the conditions were really rough," Fairbairn said. "I cycled through several river spots to upgrade my fish and used saugers as well."

The FWL's next tour stop is on Devil's Lake, North Dakota June 6-9.

Placing third was Chris Gilman of Chisgao City, Minn., 68-4; followed by Rock McGillivary, Watertown, S.D., 66-12; Nate Provost, Green Bay, 66-10; Fairbairn, Rick Franklin, Bemidji, Minn., 58-12; Don Marx, Rockford, Minn., 52-13; and Jeff Seyka, Milford, Mich., 47-7.

Locally, Red Wing's Steve Delain placed 15th with 43 pounds of fish and winnings of $3,000.