BEULAH – It wasn’t quite a wire to wire victory, but it was close. After finishing day one of the 21st Annual Dakota Walleye Classic in 2nd place with a total of 16.89 pounds, the tandem of Jason Binstock and Greg Ehli wrangled in 13.83 pounds to walk away champions with a total of 30.72 pounds, taking home the top prize of twelve thousand dollars. Finishing in second place was the husband-wife tandem of Michael and Michelle Starck, just over a pound behind at 29.64 pounds.
Rounding out the top three was the team of Tim Sandstrom and Shane Jordan with 29.35 pounds. Binstock and Ehli were quick to credit new technology for the win, crediting their depth finder to locate their big catches. Ehli added, “We didn’t even put a line in the water the first hour of the day, we were cruising around and looking for the spot”
The Dakota Walleye Classic has turned out to be one of the premiere fishing tournaments in the region, and in North Dakota in particular. This year’s was a good as ever, as the tournament field was filled over a month before the event. There are so many repeat contestants and it’s a testament to the great organizers and outstanding volunteer staff.
However, this year’s tournament wasn’t without drama, as after a smooth day one, mother nature threatened to disrupt day two with early morning lightning off to the north of Lake Sakakawea. However, it was the fisherman that got that last laugh, getting out one hour and twenty minutes behind schedule and still catching nearly 270 pounds of fish more on day two than on day one. The tournament officials did a great job dealing with the weather conditions and keeping the tournament safe, fair, and competitive. The total amount of fish caught at the tournament was 1404 for a grand total of 3,212.01 pounds.
Just over thirty of those pounds were caught by the champions, Binstock and Ehli, who were very gracious of the tournament staff and their fellow anglers in victory. They walked away with 12 thousand reasons to smile, and 12 thousand reasons to come back next year and try to repeat.
(Photo: Tournament Champions, Jason Binstock, and Greg Ehli, 10 fish total of 30.72 lbs)