Keenan Picks Up Second Walleye AOY Title

walleye fishing
Tom Keenan is presented with the FLW Walleye Tour Angler of the Year trophy.
Patrick Baker/FLW

Pro Tom Keenan of Hatley, Wis., wrapped up his season-long quest for the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Angler of the Year title Saturday at the FLW Walleye Tour event on Lake Oahe. This is Keenan?s second overall title, and he received $10,000 for the honor, presented by the National Guard.

Keenan?s previous title came in 2006, and in 2010 he claimed Eastern Division FLW Angler of the Year. Along with his previous AOY titles, Keenan has logged an additional three top-10 finishes in the FLW Walleye Angler of the Year race during his 11-year professional career with FLW Outdoors.

?This title means a ton to me,? Keenan said. ?I am pretty jacked up. One bad day of fishing and you can?t win. I was fortunate to be able to turn in three (including the Oahe event) top-10 finishes this year. I've fished hard all year and had a lot of fun. I am doing what I love to do. I went to my 20th high school reunion last year and they read my will. It said that my three goals were to graduate high school, get a college degree and fish with Bassmaster; since they don?t have walleye, I am with FLW. And I have accomplished all three!

?My practice days go from about 6:30 a.m. to about 6 p.m., and I grind hard all day long,? Keenan went on to say. ?I fish every tournament to win. I go out there and try to catch those big donkeys. At Lake Erie I took second, then 14th at Leech. That?s when I started to think I could win Angler of the Year. At Green Bay I came in sixth, and coming into this tournament, it was all about the title. I wanted to win.

?Not to brag or anything, but I make a lot of good decisions and that?s what winning tournaments is all about,? continued Keenan, ?especially tournaments like we had here on Oahe. You really have to know what fish to keep and what fish to throw back when you are dealing with slots and overs. I am able to do that successfully.

?I like to fish by myself. If there are a lot of guys in one area, I will usually go someplace else. And I don?t get stuck on one spot. If it is not productive, I go hunting. One of my fishing mentors once told me that I was a better hunter than a fisher. I didn?t really understand that until recently.

?I am not sure if I should say this or not, but when I got married I took all our wedding money and invested in eight Daiwa line-counter reels. I have earned about $897,000 off that investment. Not a bad return on $800!?

Keenan finished the season with 577 points, 26 points ahead of runner-up pro Chase Parsons of Brillion, Wis. Rounding out the top five were National Guard pro Mark Courts of Harris, Minn., (547) Paul Meleen of Isle, Minn., (515) and Tom Kemos of Oconomowoc, Wis. (505).

Keenan began the season with a second-place finish at the Lake Erie event. His lowest finish came at the second stop on Leech Lake, where he placed 14th. That was fire enough to drive him to a sixth-place finish on Green Bay and fifth-place at the final stop on Oahe where he nailed this third top-10 finish of the year and sealed the deal for Angler of the Year.

Keenan has won two National Guard FLW Walleye Tour events and has notched 16 top-10 finishes, earning over $650,000 during his career with FLW Outdoors. He is the FLW Walleye Tour all-time leading money winner.

Strissel wins Co-angler of the Year title

walleye fishing
Boyd Strissel smiles from ear-to-ear after winning the Co-angler of the Year title.
Patrick Baker/FLW

The National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Co-angler of the Year presented by the National Guard was determined Saturday by the most points accumulated over the four Walleye Tour events. Boyd Strissel of Billings, Mont., won the title and $2,500 by 30 points over John Spiegel of Appleton, Wis., who had 497 points. Strissel posted 527 points during the course of the season. Darrell Martin of Forest Lake, Minn., came in third with 493 points.

?It?s a great honor to win,? said the 77-year-old Strissel who just completed his 12th season with FLW Outdoors. ?I didn?t win this award by myself; I have to thank everyone of the great pros that I was partnered with this year. They were amazing. I can hardly think about it, this is so wonderful.?

For a schedule of other upcoming tournaments, click here.

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