Sioux Falls angler reels in first place at international fishing tournament

Dominik Dausch
Sioux Falls Argus Leader

If the South Dakota fishing scene had an annually recurring video game series à la Madden NFL ‒ or, more appropriately, Mark Davis Pro Bass Challenge ‒ you might find Ted Takasaki on the 2023 cover. After all, he did take home some major hardware at an international fishing tournament.

Takasaki, a Sioux Falls professional walleye fisherman, and Dave Randash, a North Dakotan angler and Takasaki's fishing partner, earned first place at the Winnipeg River Greenback Championship in Pine Falls, Manitoba, Canada, on Sunday, according to a release from Takasaki's promotional company.

The anglers-in-arms reeled in eight walleyes ‒ just over 37 pounds of fish ‒ over the course of two days of grueling fishing conditions on the Winnipeg River.

South Dakota fisherman and professional walleye tournament angler Ted Takasaki holds a 30-inch, 8.5-pound walleye, his largest catch of the Winnipeg River Greenback Championship in Pine Falls, Manitoba on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. The Sioux Falls-based fisherman and his partner, Dave Randash, won first place at the tournament after reeling in 37 pounds of walleye.

"It was a cold, windy and rainy all day Saturday and Sunday," Takasaki told Farm Forum Wednesday. "It was pretty brutal conditions all things considered. You had to struggle to keep up and not just give up. Your hands are just freezing all day."

The Takasaki-Randash team's biggest catch of the weekend was a 30-inch, 8.5-pound "greenback" walleye, which largely contributed to the duo's win. According to Takasaki, greenbacks are normal variety of walleye with an iridescent-green sheen that runs along the dorsal fin and sides of the fish. In a 2016 column to the Argus Leader, he attributed the coloration to limestone deposits that are prominent in some of Canada's waters.

"We had a 30-incher the first day and a 27-incher the second day. But then we had three really fat 21-and-a-half inchers," Takasaki said. "That ended up turning out really great."

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Takasaki attributed the team's first-place win to understanding the sport as a "game of probability" and knowing how to place the lure in front of the most amount of fish. But he also said his 13 years of fishing in South Dakota, which he said has the best fishing and hunting in the nation, prepared him for his success as an angler.

This is the team's second international win. Takasaki has been a tournament angler for more than three decades and is a member of the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.