A dual tournament of epic proportions made a splash in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, last June 5-6 when 714 anglers squared off for more than $350,000 in cash and prizes. Today, that effort has been officially recognized by Guinness World Records as history's largest fishing tournament.
A combination of the Cabela's National Team Championship (NTC) and MWC's Lake Winnebago Central Division Qualifier, the event featured 358 teams (all but two of which were two-person teams). The NTC is one of the most prestigious competitions in the country. Teams qualify by accumulating points in local tournaments organized by morethan 50 sanctioned grassroots walleye clubs. Now in its 26th season, the Cabela's MWC is the longest-running professional walleye tournament circuit in the United States.
"This is a great honor," said MWC Sr. Events Coordinator Dan Johnson. "The event was a huge team effort by Cabela's, circuit staff, volunteers and local organizers."
The two-day event was marked by great fishing and a festival atmosphere as crowds of walleye fans gathered in scenic Menominee Park for the weigh-ins, and countless more watched online. When the dust settled, hometown heroes Michael Galligan and Stuart Wells, both of Oshkosh, were crowned NTC champions for their 10-fish limit weighing 26.24 pounds—caught on Northland Fishing Tackle Weed Weasels. The team was awarded $30,000 for first place plus a new Evinrude-powered 619 Ranger boat valued at more than $50,000. The total NTC payout was more than $241,000 in cash and prizes.
On the MWC side, Greg DeKalb and Joe Ebel captured top honors and a $27,060 first place paycheck with 10 fish weighing 28.63 pounds, caught trolling 'crawler harnesses over Winnebago's mud flats. In all, the top 35 MWC teams shared a $100,360 dollar cash purse plus $1,000 in Ranger Cup cash, $500 Lowrance HDS bonus, $500 Cabela's Angler Cash, and $200 U2 Oxygenator bonus.
"The Oshkosh event was a phenomenal experience," Johnson added. "And we're already looking forward to breaking the record at our Cabela's NTC and MWC Bays de Noc dual tournament August 5-7 in Escanaba, Michigan."