Beautiful Alum Creek Reservoir in central Ohio was the location of the Professional Musky Tournament Trail (PMTT) Ranger Boats World Championship during the weekend of September 23-24. The Top 50 teams from throughout the year competed for the coveted reign of 2011 PMTT World Champions for the year, the first place trophies and prize of a new 2012 619 Ranger Fisherman, RangerTrail Tailer with a Mercury outboard.
Under partly cloudy skies with air temperatures in the mid 70s both days, the anglers figured that trolling white crankbaits through the near 70-degree water would be the best way to approach this reservoir. There are no weeds in the entire lake and the muskies concentrate mostly on breaklines and steep drop-offs, or the massive pods of baitfish that inhabit the reservoir.
The winners of the event were brothers Eric Burseth of Bartlett, Illinois, and Chris Burseth of Crystal Lake, Illinois. These seasoned PMTT veterans have competed in the PMTT since the first event over 13 years ago. They caught a 47-inch musky on Day One that ended up holding on to the lead for the 2-day event. In addition to winning the new Ranger Boat, motor and trailer, this beautiful fish also awarded them the prestigious Ranger Cup Award for an additional $1,000 and Big Fish for an extra $500.
The Burseths’ approach was to use white DepthRaider crank baits trolled at 4 miles per hour running them tight to steep rock walls. An ironic thing happened while prefishing the day before the tournament. The Burseths were casting a main lake point when they snagged a horseshoe. They placed the horseshoe in the bow of their boat and said that maybe it was a sign and would bring them good luck.
Second place went to longtime PMTT and musky tournament pro Duane Landmeier of Hinckley, Illinois. Landmeier fished the event alone this time and while doing so doubled up by landing 32 1/2- and 36 1/2-inch muskies. His technique was to troll Jughead jointed white crankbaits high in the water column, which won him $7,500 for his efforts. In third place with 34- and 32 1/4-inch muskies were Nathan Leverance of Coon Valley, Wisconsin, and Todd Radke of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. The duo used Cisco Kid crankbaits and Baby DepthRaider crankbaits that were white in color and took home $3,500.
In fourth place with a 36 1/2-inch musky were Kyle Weber of Crane Lake, Minnesota, and Jordan Gustman of Burlington, Wisconsin. They cast Phantom Softail jerkbaits to catch their fish. Rounding out the top five in were local favorites Rob Van Gorder of Delaware, Ohio, and Randy Parker of Avon, Ohio, who caught a 36-inch musky on a 9-inch Grandma crankbait in pearl color while trolling off of points in 12 feet of water.
The prestigious PMTT Top Gun Team of the Year Award was handed out for 2011. This is awarded to the most consistent team that catches fish throughout the year. The longtime father/son PMTT team of David and Matt Kirchner of Cleveland, Ohio, were crowned. The two anglers told everyone that when they pre-fish for a tournament they need to learn how to catch the fish, so they do not worry about hooking fish that could be caught tournament weekend. The techniques have to be learned to catch other fish later on when it counts.
Tournament Director Tim Widlacki thanked all of the PMTT’s sponsors, especially Ranger Boats for its continued support of not only the PMTT but the entire sport of musky fishing. Also thanks to Mercury Marine, Chaos Tackle, Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce, Morehead Tourism Commission, Musky Hunter Magazine, Keyes Outdoors, Rollie & Helens Musky Shop, Musky Mayhem Tackle, Crash’s Landing and all the associate and contributing sponsors.
To obtain more information on becoming a member of the PMTT, or to view event photo album, visit www.promusky.com or call the PMTT office @: 815-478-4351