South Heart angler takes third in professional walleye tournament
South Heart resident Cody Northrop captured bronze at a South Dakota walleye tournament last week.
SOUTH HEART, N.D. — South Heart resident Cody Northrop placed third at a National Walleye Tour tournament on Lake Francis Case in Chamberlain-Oacoma, South Dakota. Northrop explained how walleye fishing regulations in South Dakota makes for a unique twist to the two day National Walleye Tour competition.
“This tournament is the slot limit, which means you’re only allowed one fish over 20 inches per angler. So that one big fish. That’s kind of the key to success,” he said. “The NWT tournaments are a pro-am tournament. So there’s a professional angler in the boat, so that’s us. And you have what’s called a co-angler.”
The co-anglers are paired by a randomized algorithm with a different pro each day, so they don’t know who they will be fishing with. The limit also permits anglers to keep four fish under 20 inches, but Northrop said that those are typically a pretty easy to catch for experienced anglers.
Northrop said his biggest catch of the trip took quite a bit of muscle to haul in the 28 inch walleye which weighed eight pounds.
“I’ve been tournament fishing for 30 years, mostly in North Dakota until life allowed me to start doing it professionally,” he said.
A few years ago a new friend helped him get a leg up into the professional circuit, called the National Professional Anglers Association.
“I’ve had a lot of local success over the years fishing North Dakota tournaments. Then I got into an NWT tournament as a co-angler and I was fortunate enough to fish with John Gilman, who was a pro-angler at the time. Him and I just became really good friends. Meeting and making some contacts within the industry, that really helped launch me into the pro side.”
Northrop said he stays busy when not fishing, including his work for the natural gas processor ONEOK. In his off time, when not fishing, he said he spends much of his winter hunting coyotes and trapping.
“That kind of helps supplement the cost of my fishing," Northrop said.
A custom wrapped boat featuring the names of a few sponsors, but most prominently shows the name of the Little Buddy Foundation, a regional non-profit group that makes prosthesis for children, is his way of giving back to a foundation that is near and dear to the South Heart angler.
“I’m just helping to get the word out about the foundation and get more kids in the program,” Northrop said. “We had one child so far get a new arm after they saw the boat wrap and we were able to get the family in touch with LBF.”