Casual angler turned pro heads to Lake Erie contest


The knees ache like thumbs that have met the business end of a hammer. The lower back sends signals to the brain to quit doing whatever it is you’re doing. Baseball and games like that which used to quell the need to compete are fading pastimes. It happens when the age is a number approaching the batting average. It hurts. What’s a guy to do?

Go fishing, according to Crestliner Boats pro-staff angler Ken Lynce, who admits he suffered the withdrawal from team sports and a love of competition until he dived head long into the serious side of fishing.

And he started catching fish. So he started adding tackle. Then he started drooling at the sight of the equipment, the boats, the sponsors, and the cool shirt signage the pro’s sported. And started thinking about the big leagues.


Lynce was raised within spitting distance of Lake Erie and he did his share of fishing on the big water, but he knew if he was to become more than a casual angler he would have to go to school.And he did just that, by signing on to visiting professional walleye tours as a co-angler, an eager learner who paid a fee to spend a day or three on the boat with a real pro.

“I learned a great deal from each of the pro walleye fishermen that I fished with,” said Lynce, adding that he believes the concept of pairing an amateur with a pro was an ideal way to promote walleye fishing.


Obviously the experience met Lynce’s needs since he is now a fairly serious tournament participant himself.

But to Lynce, serious can be measured in degrees. “I try to keep it fun and I do enjoy the whole thing,” Lynce said, admitting he might need to step his serious side up a degree or two.

Already this season he has captured honors for catching the largest walleye in a tournament a couple times, and he’s finished in the middle of the pack a time or two, but he’s still chasing his first win.

Lynce, a tournament angler since 2009, has attracted the attention of several sponsors and he stays busy from spring to late summer, pre-fishing and fishing regional tournaments.


This weekend Lynce will buck heads with a small armada of “serious” contenders in a two-day Lake Erie championship event, held by the Ohio Walleye Federation. Lake Erie walleye fishing is Lynce’s strong suit and he’s looking forward to the competition. A win would be a real home run for him.

Although Lynce’s boat is outfitted with enough gadgets and electronics to impress a NASA worker, he suggests anyone can get into walleye tournament fishing.

“Some the guys have the most basic of equipment and small boats and they do okay, “Lynce said.

Indeed, an outing in Lynce’s rig is an eye-bulging tour down fishing boat lane. From a chip-driven, do-everything, trolling motor on the bow to a lot of raring-to-go horsepower back end, it’s loaded with gear and an array of buttons to control it all. The rig even features shock absorbing seats, and that’s a great thing for a serious fisherman.


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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.



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