The Professional Musky Tournament Trail kicked off its 2011 season at scenic Cave Run Lake in Morehead, Kentucky April 16-17 with the Chaos Tackle Spring Shootout, with 90 teams participating. Cold front conditions with highs in the 50s, high winds and record high water levels hampered fishing conditions. The water was between 18-23 feet above normal pool and rising. With the water rising three feet overnight each night, any hotspots found by anglers while prefishing were now 3-6 feet deeper. This in turn would make fish move to different areas making success difficult, as in any tournament this would make some anglers just try harder and succeed.
Steve Genson of Springbrook, Wisconsin, who is co-host of Keyes Outdoors Television Show, fished this event alone as his partner, Mike Keyes, could not attend. Fishing alone for muskies can be a handful — not only do you have to fight the musky alone, but you have to net it and control the boat at the same time. As it turned out, Genson had his hands full in a big way.
Genson ended up winning the tournament by catching muskies measuring 30, 31 and 49 inches long. The 49-inch prespawn female was also the Big Fish for Sunday, which awarded him the first place hardware and a check for over $13,000.
After trolling most of the day on Saturday, Genson moved to shallow water to cast JB Rattler crankbaits using a high retrieve speed to trigger his fish.
The longtime PMTT father and son team of Matt and Dave Kircher of Cleveland, Ohio, won second place. They short-line trolled crankbaits in water that was 18-22 feet deep to entice their fish that were 35 1/2 and 41 inches. Jason Summers of Lino Lakes, Minnesota, and Troy Bilbrey of Wyoming, Minnesota, took third place with muskies that were 35 1/2 and 38 1/2 inches. This annual top-placing duo used a jig and Baby Squirko jerkbait in shallow water for their success.
In fourth place were Garth Darton and Jared Adamovich, both of Eagle River, Wisconsin, who landed muskies that were 30 3/4 and 40 inches in size. They caught their fish on crankbaits and Hardhead jerkbaits that were white in color in shallow water. In fifth place were James Reiter and Ric Cummings who caught a 41-inch musky that was also the Big Fish for Saturday.
There were 21 muskies caught in the event.
Tournament Director Tim Widlacki thanked all of the PMTT’s fantastic sponsors, especially Chaos Tackle and the Morehead Tourism Commission. Also thanks to Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, Musky Hunter Magazine, Keyes Outdoors Television, Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce, 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 2011 PMTT, or to view event photo album, visit www.promusky.com or call the PMTT office @: 815-478-4351.