A warm front and stable weather made the fish turn on for the second qualifier of the 2011 Professional Musky Tournament Trail, Mercury Marine’s Summer Challenge, which was held on the Eagle River Chain in northeast Wisconsin on June 25-26.
There were 98 boats entered in this annual event that is hosted by the Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce. Under bright skies & temperatures in the high 70s, the anglers registered 42 muskies up to 48 1/2 inches during the tournament.
The PMTT Mercury Marine Summer Challenge was won by the team of Mike Pecosky of Oregon, Wisconsin, and Tony Puccio from the same area, a team that used a normally unconditional way of catching muskies.
Puccio & Pecosky fished 8-10 feet of water where a long point came out from an underwater hump that extended toward the shoreline. They ripped small crankbaits through suspended baitfish and newly-developing scattered cabbage weedbeds.
Pecosky & Puccio also used smaller diameter line that was 30-pound strength but the size of 8-pound monofilament on spinning gear to get their small 3-inch crankbaits deep enough. The anglers fought the fish slowly because of the small hooks of their baits and the light tackle those baits required.
The muskies that resulted measured 48 1/2 and 43 inches and were also the big fish for both Saturday and Sunday. The triumphant team took home the first place hardware and over $15,000 in cash.
In second place were two anglers from Illinois, Dennis Sweeney of Coal City and Dewey Stewart of Pawnee. The two cast copper-and-black bucktails while holding the boat in 10-12 feet of water and casting to a 4-foot deep main lake weedbed. The two anglers found this spot late on Saturday and proceeded to lose two fish, then returned on Sunday and caught three muskies measuring 40 1/2, 39 1/2, and 34 inches and took home the second place trophies and a check for more than $3,500.
In third place were Ryan Bock and Tim Rutzen of Three Lakes, Wisconsin, who cast small chartreuse-and-firetiger baits in shallow water while moving the baits fast. They caught muskies measuring 41 1/4 and 38 inches.
In fourth place was Jerome Morris of Minneapolis and Jake Bucki of Medford, Wisconsin, who caught muskies measuring 39 1/4 and 33 1/4 inches. The two men used Double Dawg lures, allowing them to sink to the bottom and then ripping them out of the weeds to trigger strikes.
Rounding out the top five was Chad Popp of Wausau, Wisconsin, and Brent Kiedrowski of Minocqua, Wisconsin, who used Bulldawgs in walleye color to entice their fish of 42 3/4 and 31 3/4 inches.
Tournament Director Tim Widlacki thanked all of the PMTT’s sponsors, especially Mercury Marine and the Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce. Also thanks to Ranger Boats, Chaos Tackle, the Morehead Tourism Commission, Musky Hunter Magazine, Keyes Outdoors Television, Rollie & Helens Musky Shop, Musky Mayhem Tackle, Crash’s Landing, Birch Villa Resort 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