OSHKOSH, Wis. - Zach Axtman of Rugby claimed top honors earlier this month at a National Walleye Tour tournament held on Lake Winnebago near Oshkosh. With 165 boats participating, it was a record field for any NWT event.

The winning weight of 10 walleyes for a total of 27.40 pounds earned Axtman total winnings of $84,614. The total earnings included a Ranger 620FS boat with a 225-horsepower Mercury motor.

Weather for pre-fishing and for the two-day event was less than ideal for walleye fishing. Temperatures in the low 40s, rain and windy conditions tested the best professional fishermen in the field. Axtman, a second-year pro, used a slip bobber technique he had come to rely on from frequent fishing forays to Devils Lake.

"I used just a plain hook and leech," said Axtman. "It was because water temps were dropping throughout the week and it really slowed the bite down on other techniques. I just wanted to make sure I kept the bait in front of walleyes as long as possible."

The second place weight, caught by Tim Euting of Pickett, Wis., was more than two pounds less than Axtman's. Axtman's fish on day one the second and final day included three at 20 1/2 inches, one at 20 3/4 inches and one at 21 1/2 inches.

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