Hundreds of anglers will launch their boats out of Marina Bay on Saturday, setting out to catch the heftiest fish to win the $12,000 top prize during the 15th annual Big Muddy Walleye Classic fishing tournament.
The Missouri River tournament, in which 100 three-person teams compete, was full within two hours of beginning to accept applications on Feb. 12.
Organizers have received numerous requests to expand the derby and allow more teams to compete, but, according to event chairperson Stacy Keller, that likely won’t happen anytime soon.
“I think 100 teams is all they (N.D. Game and Fish Department) really allow. It has to do with the spawn,” Keller said. “We wouldn’t mind, but I don’t think we will.”
The tournament begins at 6:30 a.m. with the first check-in, followed by the first of three flights.
Anglers aim to catch numerous fish — the bigger, the better — and the team with the highest “basket weight” wins $12,000.
Last year’s winning team consisted of Dennis Bense, Dan Stier and Scott Winkels, whose six fish weighed a total of 33.72 pounds. Overall, anglers reeled in 1,535.68 pounds of fish.
The weigh-in, which is limited to six fish per team, begins at 2 p.m. at the Broken Oar, 4724 Pintail Loop, Mandan. Spectators are welcome.
Cloverdale Foods will provide free hot dogs and brats to anglers and spectators.
“Come on out and watch the weigh-in and enjoy yourself,” Keller said. “It’s going to be a nice, beautiful day.”
In addition, local band All Aces will be performing at the Broken Oar beginning at 9 tonight and Saturday night.
Tournament sponsors include Kupper Chevrolet, McQuade Distributing, Broken Oar and Moritz Sport & Marine.
“We do appreciate all of our sponsors,” Keller said.