OPTIMA-sponsored Anglers, Gaines & Rhodes win World Championship!

OPTIMA-sponsored anglers, Randy Gaines and Mike Rhoades conquered both big-water and river bites to win the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit 2016 World Walleye Championship on October 6th to 8th. The duo led all three days, topping the 48-team field with daily five-fish limits weighing 27-11, 7-02 and 17-15 for a 52-pound, 12-ounce total weight.

"I have to say, OPTIMA Batteries played a major roll in this win," says Gaines. "I would like to thank OPTIMA for providing me with BLUETOP D31M batteries, which have the reserve to power my boat and 36-volt trolling motor, while maintaining position on a very small school of fish. They also did a great job of withstanding the harsh winds of the Bay of Green Bay all day long.

Presented by title sponsor, Cabela’s, the prestigious event saw the top qualifiers from the circuit’s 2015 season battle for their share of more than $100,000 in cash and prizes on the Wisconsin waters of Green Bay and the Fox River out of Green Bay’s Metro Park. “This is one of those pinnacle events that you always dream of winning,” said Gaines, of Salem, Ohio. “It’s good closure for a great year and will light the fire all winter long to get after it again next spring. I’m just so excited.”

“It’s a little unbelievable but I’m very happy,” added Rhoades, of South Bend, Indiana. “Earlier in the week, I wouldn’t have believed this was going to happen.” Indeed, they endured a challenging practice period that started out tough. “We didn’t catch a fish our first day here,” Gaines noted. “But we just kept working, trying different things and fortunately peaked at the time of competition, so it turned out to be the perfect storm for us.”

On Green Bay, the five-year circuit veterans made a 40-mile run to an area near Sturgeon Bay where they vertically fished swimming jigs weighing up to 1¼ ounces on bottom at the base of a sharp drop-off in 60 to 70 feet of water. “Slow lifts and tight-line drops were key,” said Rhoades, explaining they used fast-action baitcasting outfits spooled with superbraid mainline capped with a two-foot, heavy fluorocarbon leader to limit tangles. When the field was restricted to the Fox River on day two, due to gale force winds, they trolled Berkley Flicker Shads and Flicker Minnows behind planer boards. Gaines and Rhoades collected a cool $15,000 in cash for their efforts, along with custom trophies and championship rings. On behalf of everyone at OPTIMA Batteries, we congratulate both anglers on a great job!