Ranger Pro Mark Courts Takes First at Cabela's National Walleye Tour Mississippi River Event
FLIPPIN, ARK (June 20, 2017) Ranger Boats Pro Mark Courts brought in a two-day total of 41.97 pounds to win the Cabela's National Walleye Tour (NWT) event on the Mississippi River at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, on June 16. The angler won $15,000 and, by participating in the Ranger and Evinrude contingency programs, was upgraded to a new fully rigged Ranger 620FS with a 250 horsepower Evinrude G2 outboard for a total of $81,266 in winnings.
Courts made a short trip the week before his practice days to scout the area via driving and found the river running high due to recent rains. Conditions were sure to change with the upcoming fall in water levels and Courts' late start for pre-fishing became an advantage over other anglers.
"I had a fairly short practice but it was productive," said Courts. "It kind of worked out in my favor. When I finally got there, the river had gone down about two feet. I hadn't written off places by fishing the higher water. A lot of the guys, I think, had written spots off because they couldn't catch fish there when the water was high. With the water dropping, it obviously changed the whole system."
Along with his late start, Courts' success on the Mississippi hinged on three elements: his Ranger boat, a Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor and one magical wing dam.
On his final day of practice, Courts got on some quality fish behind one particular wing dam in Pool 10. Every fish caught by Courts during the tournament came from that one wing dam.
"I never left there," said Courts. "The wing dam I was fishing had a big flat behind it. Those fish were staging in that flat and when they wanted to feed, they would slide up on that wing dam. It worked in my favor that my particular wing dam actually reloaded."
While all anglers have faced windy days where it's hard work to keep their boat on track, staying put on a river like the Mississippi is a tough job. Along with Ranger's legendary stability, Courts used his tolling motor to keep his 621FS locked into place.
"I was using the new Minn Kota Ultrex with Spot-Lock and that's a huge feature," said Courts. "Between the Spot-Lock and my Ranger, all I did was literally sit and fish. I didn't have to worry about the boat moving or anything. It's a game changer. The 621 is a really wide boat and is a good, stable platform. It gives you a ton of room to move around. Two of us were fishing off the back of the boat."
Fishing with a Berkley Dredger and willow cats, the Ranger pro brought in a day-one total of 20.66 pounds and followed the final day with 21.31 pounds to beat out newcomer John Hoyer by just more than a pound. To win an elite level tournament such as the NWT, an angler needs to make great decisions and use the best gear. Courts fishes from a Ranger boat for one reason - it offers him the best opportunity to win.
"It's the best boat in the industry and there are reasons for that - the ride, comfortability, storage, fit and finish, trolling capabilities and the way it handles big water," said Courts. "There are a lot of key components that go into a Ranger and great things that we have added over the years. I truly believe it is the best boat in the industry."
About Ranger Boats
Headquartered in Flippin, Ark., Ranger Boats is the nation's premier manufacturer of legendary fiberglass and aluminum fishing boats, with acclaimed models and series in the bass, multi-species, fish 'n play, saltwater, waterfowl utility and pontoon boat segments. Founded in 1968 by Forrest L. Wood, Ranger Boats continues its commitment to building the highest-quality, strongest-performing boats on the water. For more information, go to RangerBoats.com, RangerAluminum.com or RangerPontoons.com.