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Pruitt, Northrop win walleye tournament

Fishing is a test of patience.

However, Dickinson’s Greg Pruitt and South Heart’s Cody Northrop experienced a different test of patience during the final day of the 4 Bears Casino and Lodge Walleye Cup at Lake Sakakawea.

After putting together a two-day total 29.07 pounds, the patience was worth the wait as the Pruitt and Northrop won the Walleye Cup by a little more than half a pound. The duo edged runner-up finishers Jacob Heilman and Roger Schumann, who ended with 28.46 pounds.

“We really had to sit there and have some patience, like when you are fishing,” said Pruitt, who has participated in more than 30 fishing tournaments. “Cody went and had the fish weighed and I parked the boat. When I came back, Cody said we had 29.07 (pounds). That put us in first place, and there were about 30 to 35 boats that were yet to weigh in. It was just a waiting game. You catch the fish, but you know there are a lot of great fishermen out there. Patience paid off.”

The win marked the first time Pruitt or Northrop had ever finished in the top spot during a fishing tournament.

“We thought we had a shot at it,” Northrop said about the chances of winning with a two-day total of 29.07 pounds. “Until the final weights came in, we didn’t really know. We only won by half a pound, so it was really close.”

For finishing in the top spot, Pruitt and Northrop won $6,000.

The top prize is a far cry from anything Pruitt and Northrop were expecting. Their one and only goal entering the tournament was to have fun.

“We didn’t really have a game plan,” Pruitt said. “We just went out, found a few good fish, moved to a different spot and found a few more good fish. It just happened that we had the right bite at the right place at the right time.”

Northrop added: “We didn’t really put any pressure on ourselves. We ended up finding some decent fish.”

The key to winning with the tournament was putting two good days together. At the end of the first day, Pruitt and Northrop were in seventh with 13.59 pounds.

The biggest walleye the duo caught in the two days was 6.15 pounds.

“In order to win a fishing tournament, you have to put two solid days together,” Pruitt said. “A lot of times in fishing tournaments, there are a lot of fishermen up there and a lot of them consistently catch that 18- to 19-inch walleye. In order to put yourself in the win column, you have to pull off at least two good fish each day. Cody and I did that. It was a big accomplishment to do that.”

Pruitt and Northrop aren’t strangers to each other in the boat. For the past six years, the two have competed in at least two fishing tournament together.

Though the two quite familiar with each other, Pruitt and Northrop fish in their own ways. Pruitt likes to use live bait, while Northrop uses crankbaits.

“Cody is one my best friends,” Pruitt said. “We do a lot of fishing together even outside of tournaments. It’s fun to know that you have a good partner in the boat and someone that knows the lake as well as Cody does.”