Winless no more
Tonganoxie man nets first-ever win
Tonganoxie resident Ryan Koch has fished in Kansas Walleye Association tournaments for five years and never recorded a victory.
But after catching six walleye at a combined 15.69 pounds, Koch and teammate Dennis Polter won for the first time at the June 17 El Dorado Walleye Tournament.
"It feels great," Koch, 28, said. "We fished really slow and worked the trees."
Koch's biggest catch of the day was a 3.60-pound walleye. His familiarity with the lake contributed to the victory. Koch and Polter have fished in the El Dorado Lake for the past five years.
Koch has known Polter, of Topeka, for nine years. They compete in about six tournaments per summer in the KWA. The duo received 55 KWA points for their latest victory.
The point total is significant because the KWA sends its Top 10 teams to a national tournament every year. Koch and Polter qualified last year and competed in the Cabela's National Team Championship last June in Green Bay, Wis. They fished nationally another year on the Mississippi River.
Koch and Polter received $650 for the victory in El Dorado.
"I actually haven't spent any of it yet," Koch said. "It will go toward the fund to pay for these tournaments."
Koch has two tournaments left this summer: a July 8 tournament in Marion and a July 22 tournament in Melvern.
Koch fishes at Clinton Lake near Lawrence and Milford Lake near Junction City.
His biggest catch is an eight-pound walleye at Clinton Lake. He said he's caught walleye as big as 10 pounds in Green Bay.
McLouth resident records biggest catch
The KWA checked each boat before it hit the water to make sure no participants had any fish onboard at the El Dorado Tournament.
When Jim Perry stepped into his boat, he found a small toy knife inside.
At the time, he didn't think anything of it. Then, Perry caught the biggest fish of the tournament at 7.13 pounds.
"Ever since then, the KWA has wanted the toy knife back. I said, 'No, but you can buy it for $100," Perry said, jokingly. "I'm going to keep it until it quits working."
Perry and Wagner actually missed catching the large walleye before they reeled it into the net.
"A lot of times when they get to the top of the water, they see the boat, then dive away from you," Perry said. "That's when it gets interesting. The key is to keep a tight line on him."
Perry, 44, and teammate Aaron Wagner finished seventh overall. They caught three fish that weighed a total of 11.38 pounds.