Presented by Cabela’s
Ponca City, Okla.—May 9, 2018—The 2018 Cabela’s National Team Championship (NTC) has been moved from the Quad Cities area to Pools 7, 8 and 9 of the Mississippi River out of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Originally scheduled event dates of May 17-19 will remain the same.
“For more than a year, river anglers from across North America have been planning to visit the Quad Cities area for the NTC’s first trip to the Mississippi River—but Mother Nature had other ideas, and due to forecast flooding we are forced to move the event to a different site along the river,” said Robert Cartlidge, President and CEO of The Walleye Federation, which organizes the event on behalf of their corporate partner, Cabela’s “The World Foremost Outfitter” and other sponsors.
“We exhausted all safe possibilities to keep the event in the Quad Cities as announced,” Cartlidge continued. “Unfortunately, water conditions there just would not support that goal. I want to thank the Quad Cities for all of their support on this decision to move. They have been great to work with throughout the planning and relocation process, and we will try to go back there for an event someday.”
Cartlidge also acknowledged the support of Cabela’s NTC anglers, many of whom had spent months planning their Quad Cities visit. “We thank everyone who has been patient throughout this transition and the flooding issues,” he said. “Last-minute changes are something that no one likes, least of all us, but the relocated NTC has quickly taken shape into a fine championship event, thanks to the hard work of our staff. I am very proud of them to put all this together almost overnight.”
As a result of the move, Explore La Crosse (www.explorelacrosse.com) is now hosting the prestigious national championship, which is widely considered the pinnacle of grassroots walleye tournament fishing.
The Cabela’s NTC annually draws hundreds of two-person teams from the U.S. and Canada, who qualified for the event through local TWF-sanctioned competitions.
This year’s NTC field stands at 200 teams, which will compete for a lucrative payout offering nearly 400 percent payback on entry fees. Anglers will fish for a minimum of $250,000 in cash and prizes, plus 50 custom Cabela’s All-American rings, trophies, travel stipends, plaques and more. First prize is $25,000 in cash plus a brand-new Mercury-powered Ranger boat. A second Ranger-Mercury combo will be awarded through the Ranger Cup contingency, meaning the victors could take home more than $165,000 in cash and prizes.
The entire field will compete the first two days. Each team will be allowed to bring their best five fish to the scale each day. Competition will be fierce, as only the top 25 teams advance to the final round on day three.
Take-offs and weigh-ins will be held at Veterans Freedom Park located at 1 Clinton Street in La Crosse. Take-offs begin at 7 a.m., and fans are invited to the launch to cheer on their favorite teams each morning. Weigh-ins start at 3:30 p.m. daily, and should provide spectators with a steady stream of Mississippi River walleyes, plus the excitement of watching hundreds of the world’s top walleye anglers fight for the national crown.
Those unable to attend can watch weigh-ins stream live online at walleyefederation.com. The action will also be filmed for national television airing on NBC Sports’ “Americana Outdoors” and the Pursuit Channel. Dates and airtimes will be announced at walleyefederation.com.
Dale Radcliffe, director of the TWF-sanctioned circuit Mighty Miss Walleye Series, assures anglers the move will not affect their ability to enjoy world-class fishing.
“This section of the Mississippi has an excellent walleye fishery ranging from Lake Onalaska on Pool 7 to the vast channels and winding backwaters of Pools 8 and 9,” he reported. “The river has several strong year-classes of walleyes and saugers, with many fish in the 20-inch-plus class and some occasional bruisers over 10 pounds. Typical May weights are in excess of 20 pounds for a four-fish limit on our circuit.”
Radcliffe noted that water levels are quickly receding from a late spring in the region. “Things are slightly delayed about two weeks in the walleye world here right now.” he said. “The spawn wrapped up in the last week, so many female walleyes will be just coming out of a recovery period and be ready to put the feedbag on. The event dates should be perfectly timed to this part of the year where an expected 4- to 5-pound average will be the norm to cash a check.”
Cabela’s NTC sponsors include Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Ranger Boats, Pepsi, Geico. Mercury, Explore La Crosse, and TWF.
Based in Ponca City, Oklahoma, The Walleye Federation manages the qualifying process and co-produces the event alongside the Cabela’s Corporate Brand Partnership Team.
For details, visit walleyefederation.com, or call (580) 765-9031.