Ty Baucke and cousin score big time in walleye fishing

Yuma’s Ty Baucke, and his cousin Joey Spencer, have caused some waves in the walleye fishing world.

The duo competed in the 2024 BPS/Cabela’s National Team Championship last month in Lorain, Ohio. The competition was held on Lake Erie.

Ty and Joey finished fifth out of 287 teams, earning $5,000, a plaque and “a big ol’ ring,” Ty said.

Ty is a lifelong Yuma resident, graduating from Yuma High School in 2011. He works with his dad, Ron, and another cousin, Ryan Spencer, at Baucke Electric. (Ty and Ryan recently passed the Master’s Electrician test, so it has been quite a month for him and his cousins.)

Ron used to competitive fish, so Ty has been around fishing his whole life. He said he started fishing competitively four or five years.

Ty and Joey, who lives in Kearney, Nebraska, qualified for the National Team Championship by competing in last year’s Nebraska Walleye Association circuit, which they are doing again this year.

They were in fifth place going into the last tournament. They ended up having a great run, moving up to third place and qualifying for the NTC.

“We knew we had to have a great tournament in order to qualify, so that was kind of neat,” Ty said.

They immediately starting prepping for the national championship, and finally went to Ohio in early May.

Normally, the National Team Championship is a three-day tournament, but the first day was canceled due to weather. Therefore, it came down to two days of fishing Lake Erie.

Teams brought in their five biggest fish each day. Ty and Joey’s fish weighed a total of 35 pounds, 2 ounces the first day, then hauled in 37 pounds the second day, for a total of 72 pounds, 2 ounces.

That got them fifth place. It was tight at the top as only 8 pounds separated first through fifth.

“It was the best fishing I ever had in my life,” Ty said. “We were sorting through 6-pound walleye and tossing some of them back into Lake Erie, which actually is a lot of fun.”

However, it was not so much fun getting back to shore the second day.

Ty and Joey, in their 20-foot fishing boat, went 12 miles from their launch site and two miles off shore. Obviously it was a great location for fishing, but the trip back with their bounty got a little scary.

“The wind really kicked up and it took us three hours to go 12 miles because we were dealing with 10 to 12-foot waves, which is not fun.”

They made it back, and they cashed in, and now they are back on the Nebraska Walleye circuit. However, Ty said it might be difficult to get back to the NTC on the 2024 tournament schedule. He explained the Nebraska Walleye Association has four major tournaments, and one of them was scheduled the same weekend they went to Lake Erie.

“This could have been a once-in-a-lifetime thing, but it was a lot of fun,” Ty said.

He noted his father had qualified for big tournaments in the past, but never did as well.

“It’s kind of fun to rub it into him a little bit,” he joked.

One gets the feeling that proud papa Ron does not mind one bit.