2015 Au Gres Tournament Review
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The Michigan Walleye Tour stormed into the town of Au Gres, literally, on June 12th in preparations for another big weekend on the tournament trail. A first in the history of the M.W.T, the M.W.T. was being combined with the annual Doc Harpham Memorial Walleye Shootout making the weekend of June 13th & 14th the biggest weekend in walleye tournament history on the Michigan Walleye Tour. With a guaranteed $8000 First Place Payout for each day on the line, teams were full of hopes and anticipation of taking home the top prizes in both events.
Day one dawned with calm seas which was a welcomed blessing, especially after the hard northeast blow on Friday that pushed waves over 8’ in height making practice nearly impossible for each of the 118 teams. The teams headed out of the Au Gres River with great hopes of bringing in the biggest five fish limit and taking home the $8000 First Place. Would the winning pattern be pulling night crawlers and spinners in the deep water, crankbaits, or fishing the shallow reef areas surrounding the outer bay, time would tell as teams began to return at 3:00PM for the afternoon weigh in.
One by one, teams crossed the stage, sharing their success of the day with a crowd of well over 500 spectators. Most teams headed north and fished the area north of Big Charity Island and some even ran as far east as Port Austin in search of the winning catch. While pulling night crawler harnesses seemed to be the dominant pattern, several teams also brought in limits of walleyes pulling Reef Runner lures and Berkley Flicker Minnows.
When the last team crossed the stage on Saturday, it was the husband and wife team of Bryan and Brett Bigelow that ruled the day with a five fish limit of 23.99lbs, which was good enough to take home first place honors and $8000 cash in the Doc Harpham Memorial Walleye Shootout. Team Bigelow also took home and additional $1000 for having the largest walleye of the day. Would team Bigelow make it a repeat performance on Sunday, only time would tell as the M.W.T. teams prepared for the final day and another chance at an $8000 payday.
The final day of the M.W.T. started out again with calm seas, however Mother Nature decided to dump a little rain on the angler’s parade in the morning, but the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the anglers as they headed out onto the vast open waters of outer Saginaw Bay. As on day one, teams brought limits of walleyes to the scales and when it was all said and done, it was Team Bigelow taking home first place in the M.W.T. for a back to back first place finish for the weekend and taking home over $16,000 cash in two days of fishing. Next stop on the M.W.T. is Port Austin on July 11th and 12th.
The M.W.T. is owned and operated by the Saginaw Bay Walleye Club. The M.W.T. would like to thank its sponsors: The Dow Chemical Company, Lund, Mercury, Lowrance, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Harpham Chiropractic, Chapman’s Sport Center, Lindy’s Sales, Linwood Beach Marina, Thelen Auto Group, Church Tackle, Frank’s Great Outdoors, Advance Tex Screen Printing, Mack’s Lures, Plano, Northland Fishing Tackle, Walt’s Crawlers, StowMaster, JT Custom Tackle, Reef Runner , Rigid Rock Creative, YETI, and Vicious Fishing.