Another year of the Professional Musky Tournament Trail is in the books and new PMTT champions were crowned on Oct. 22-23 at the Ranger Boats World Championship on Lake Miltona in west central Minnesota. The 35 qualifying teams had their fishing skills tested as two not so ideal weather days for muskie fishing occurred for the event.
The water was 53 degrees after fall turnover and Saturday`s weather was calm, sunny and 60 degrees. The water clarity was gin clear with visibility down to at least 12 feet which seemed to make the muskies hunker down tight to the weeds and tough to entice into biting. With a brand new 2017 Ranger 619 FS Fisherman powered by a Mercury Optimax for the winners of the event, teams worked extra hard to figure out a way to get fish in their nets. A total of eight muskies were caught during the tournament which was far fewer than expected.
Chris Riebe of South Elgin, Ill., and Matt Snyder of Tower ended up catching two muskies of 43.5 inches and 51 inches. The two anglers said that they spent almost the week before the tournament not pre-fishing but looking around the lake for patches of weeds that most people did not know about. They caught the 43.5-inch fish mid morning and shortly after, the 51-inch muskie followed Riebe’s bait to the boat and would not hit. So his partner Snyder threw the same large Bulldawg lure towards the direction of the large muskie. The fish followed in and started following the figure 8 and started getting a bit more interested through each turn and they were wondering how they would get the fish to bite. So Matt tried pulling the bait straight up vertically fast and the muskie inhaled the Bulldawg and Riebe netted it. Riebe and Snyder’s technique held up as Sunday turned out to be a really tough day for fishing and no one could catch the leaders. Their efforts awarded them the Ranger Boats World Championship trophies and a beautiful 2017 Ranger 619 FS Fisherman, powered by a Mercury Optimax Outboard and a Rangertrail Trailer valued at over $45,000.
Other results include:
Second place, 45-inch muskie boated by Fred LeDerer of Perrysburg, Ohio and Phil Cummings of Graytown, Ohio.
Third place, 44.5-inch muskie boated by Ben Michlig of Wausau, Wis. and Matt Michlig of Milwaukee, Wis.
Fourth place, 44-inch muskie boated by Dave Brown of Iron River, Wis. and Mike Keyes of Nekoosa, Wis.
Fifth place, 42.25-inch muskie boated by Bob Parteka of Green Bay and Aaron Stack of Waukesha, Wis.
The prestigious Top Gun Team of the Year Award was also handed out at the Championship. This award is earned by being the most consistent team that catches fish in the most events. This is a very hard task to win against such a talented group of anglers. The team of brothers Matt and Ben Michlig won top gun honors in nail-biting fashion. The standings came down to Saturday’s fish that they caught. The fish ended up being .50 inch larger than their closest challenging team. So the Michligs won by one point. In second place for top gun honors were Keyes outdoors hosts Dave Brown and Mike Keyes. In third place for top gun honors were Nate Osfer of Wausau, Wis. And Matt Raley of Minocqua, Wis.