Local angler wins fishing tournament
By Rich Palzewic
GREEN BAY – Away from his part-time maintenance job with the Green Bay Packers, Scott Allen is a successful walleye fisherman.
Guiding anglers on the Fox River and Green Bay in the summer and frozen lakes in the winter for the past 10 years, Allen captured first place in the Head2Head Fishing Déjà vu on the Fox Walleye Challenge April 14-17.
Allen said cold temperatures and windy conditions made for a difficult tournament, in which no live bait was used.
“It was 26 degrees when I hit the water the first day with 30 mph winds,” he said. “It was a tough opening day and cold all week. Walleye are finicky when it comes to conditions.”
Allen said he wasn’t supposed to be in the tournament, but his fishing partner from Peshtigo canceled the night before the action began.
“I wasn’t initially signed up,” he said. “I had plans for yard work, but my buddy was notified by the health department he came into contact with someone who had COVID-19, so he was quarantined. I picked up my boat and was on the water the next morning at 8 a.m. He never did get COVID, but it was lucky for me.”
The format used was similar to a Sweet 16 bracket and was broadcast live on Facebook.
Walleye needed to be at least two pounds to count during each five-hour session.
“Competitors had a cameraman in the boat and the fish were weighed right there,” said Allen, who has done tournaments all over the United States. “You go against one angler at a time and advance to the next round. It can be boring watching when the bite is tough, but it’s live-action and not pre-recorded. We had an app on our phone showing what the other angler had fish-wise. In most other tournaments, you have no idea how other anglers are doing.”
Allen said he won his first walleye tournament on the Fox 32 years ago, so he knows where the fish go.
“It was an advantage because I’ve been fishing the Fox for more than 30 years,” he said. “These fish were constantly on the move due to the conditions. You can’t beat the walleye fishing on the river and the bay during the spring of the year. You could catch 40-50 fish a day in the right conditions.”
Allen said four local guides were fishing in the tournament, but he was the only one to make it past the first day.
Because Allen isn’t currently working his job with the Packers and not guiding due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the $5,000 first prize came in handy.
“For a tournament I wasn’t supposed to be in and a $500 investment, I’d say that was a pretty good return on my money,” he said. “It wasn’t a bad way to spend quarantine.”
Allen said due to his victory and a few appearances on radio talk-shows, his guide appointments have picked up.
“I hope to be back on the water and guiding by the end of May,” he said.
Allen said another perk came with his victory.
“It’s been like Christmas the last few weeks,” he said. “Companies I’ve never heard of are asking me to use their products and sending things to my house. There’s a big exposure to using one of their products.”
Allen caught more than 48 pounds of walleye combined during his four days of fishing, included more than 24 pounds in the semifinal round.