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The 2003 PMTT Ranger Boats World Championship

October 11th & 12th 2003
Cass Lake, MN


Imhoff & Bailey Claim PMTT/Ranger Crown and $35,000 @ Cass Lake, MN
      

 

Bob "the Fin-Addict" Osborne, PMTT Publicity/Press Release Director


Indian Summer-like weather pleasantly greeted those anglers skilled enough to have earned a berth in this "by invitation only" event in fitting close to what is being called the most exciting season to date for the fast growing Professional Musky Tournament Trail when the top 50 teams in North America, as determined by a series of four national qualifiers, converged on Minnesota's Cass Lake, October 11th &12th, vying for a 1st Place prize package worth over $34,000, including a 2003 Ranger Boats195 Musky Edition, 150hp Mercury and Ranger Trail trailer, in the 2003 PMTT/Ranger Boats World Championship. Predictions of yet another record breaking outing were spreading like wild fire as competitors excitedly gathered for the Rules Meeting Friday night, greatly belying what Mother Nature actually had in store for this optimistic group of hopeful World Champions as Saturday morning broke gray, wet, and cold. Strong winds blew from the north, ushering a 35-degree temperature drop and steady rain that marked not only the passing cold front but also a drastic change in fish location and tactics. This years champion was going to be the one that not only got here by consistent productivity, staying at the front of a record breaking field throughout a long season, but was now going to have to display that rare combination of skills, knowledge and luck required to overcome extremely adverse weather conditions while under heavy pressure.… and you had better believe that these top pro and avid amateur Musky Hunters were bringing nothing but their "A-games"!

Day one was one of the toughest ever on the Pro Musky Trail as 51 teams gave it their best shot for 9 hours and registered only two legal fish. The early lead went to Jason Summers and partner Tony Demars of Lino Lakes, MN. when a very hefty 45.50-inch Musky ate a black Bull Dawg. Guessing that their fish had moved away from the shallower areas used earlier in the week, they began to work the outside and deeper edges of break lines adjacent to these same spots. Jason added that, "We knew the fish were there, someplace, we just had to figure out a way to get them to trigger". While resort owner, event co-host and local favorite, Mark Nelson and Wonder Lake, IL partner, Tom Stygar enticed the only other fish brought to the board that day, a beautiful 44.50-incher, using a black Manta jerk bait worked over the deep weed edges. Mark stated that although he probably knew this system better than most in attendance, "This weather really evens things up nicely doesn't it?" adding, "I like our chances, we have some good spots to work, but with only two fish on the board, well it is still anybody’s title."

The excitement and heady anticipation was almost palpable at Sunday’s take-off with every single contestant still in the running and it did not take long before Adam Oberfoell & Travis Clark made an early strike, boating a hefty 48.50-inch Musky on a perch hologram-pattern Jake worked over deeper breaks, big enough to carry them into a solid 2nd place finish and $6,800. Soon, Kentucky natives Dr. Gene Smith & Tim Gilbert made their bid with a very respectable fish measuring in at 41.25-inches, placing them 7th and just behind 6th place winners, from McHenry, IL. Lenny Szulc & Tom Olson's 42.25-incher. Steven James Rusteberg & Duane Landmeier, Naperville and Hinckley, IL. matched the day one leaders with a fat 45.50-inch specimen that committed to a well placed perch pattern Grandma twitch bait, propelling them to both 2nd in the “Top Gun” standings with 508pts and a 4th place finish overall for $4,250, just ahead of 5th place $1,700 winners Team Nelson / Stygar, when these local favorites could not trigger that elusive second fish. Day one leaders, Summers & Demars were also a bit disappointed at being unable to add to their first day numbers, knowing that one more bite could have given them a clean sweep and “all the marbles”, took comfort in finishing 3rd in the World Championship and achieving a lofty goal set by every Trail Team at the outset of the 2003 campaign, the prestigious PMTT "Top Gun" points title, awarded to the most consistently producing anglers of the year with 518 pts. for a grand total of $9,500, that includes the highly coveted honor of being and displaying #1 for the entire 2004 Tour season.

Not to be out done, not by a long shot, catching and releasing two fish Sunday, using, what is fast becoming know as one of the hottest baits on the Trail, Musky Innovation's Bull Dawg, in a walleye pattern, two of the youngest, hottest sticks on the Pro Tour, boated 2 muskies, cracking the tape at 49.75 inches, followed by a solid 41.50 kicker, placing them third in the annual points race with 496 pts. and first overall, claiming $4,850 and a beautiful, fully rigged, 2003 Ranger 195 Musky Edition, may I present to you... the PMTT / RANGER BOATS 2003 WORLD CHAMPIONS... 21 year old Steve Imhoff of Madison, WI. & 19 year old partner, Clark Bailey, from Cody, WY! Their amazing effort in the face of less than optimal conditions was truly one worthy a champion and garnered them nearly $35,000 in cash and prizes. When asked what they felt the key was to their success they cited doing your homework, flexibility and being aware of what was going on around you. Steve said, "When the weather changed it seemed that many people were staying where they had seen fish earlier in the week, trying to make them do something they maybe didn’t want to do." His partner Clark quickly added that, "We had seen some locals working over the walleye pretty good on some deep weeds off the break near Allen's Bay and decided to try imitating what we hoped was a feeding opportunity."

"Man what a finish to an amazing season!" offered Tournament Director and co-founder, Tim Widlacki. "Cass has never really been known as a numbers fishery, the 52.25 PMTT record set here last year attesting to her trophy potential, so I wasn’t real surprised by the numbers, especially after that weather moved in.” adding that, “The real excitement now is what the next season holds in store.” Tim feels certain that, “We are only just beginning in a lot of ways. We have some great venues planned for next season, most of the 80 plus Trail teams will be back, corporate interest and all important sponsor support is growing, the first ever $100,000 1st Place pay-out coming up in the Mike James Mega Musky here on Cass next August…add it all up and we really anticipate our best season is yet to come.”

 

Those desiring more information about and/or becoming a member of the most competitive, exciting and fastest growing professional freshwater tournament circuit in North America... or to claim one of the remaining berths in the upcoming inaugural, first ever, $100K 1st place pay-out, "Mike James Mega Musky 2004", are encouraged to contact PMTT Tournament Director, Tim Widlacki @ phone # 1-815-264-3228

CLICK HERE to view the 2003 Championship Photo Album

Day 1

Day 2

Total

# of

Total

# of

Total

# of

Total

Place

Team

Inches

Fish

Points

Inches

Fish

Points

Inches

Fish

Points

1

Steve Imhoff/Clark Bailey

0

0

0

91.25

2

173

91.25

2

173

2

Adam Oberfoell/Travis Clark

0

0

0

48.5

1

98

48.5

1

98

3

Jason Summers/Tony DeMars

45.5

1

86

0

0

0

45.5

1

86

4

Steve Rusteberg/Duane Landmeier

0

0

0

45.5

1

86

45.5

1

86

5

Mark Nelson/Tom Stygar

44.5

1

82

0

0

0

44.5

1

82

6

Lenny Szulc/Tom Olson

0

0

0

42.25

1

73

42.25

1

73

7

Tim Gilbert/Gene Smith

0

0

0

41.25

1

69

41.25

1

69

8

Bill Ramsey/Jim Corbett

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

9

Dennis Radloff/Gregg Laffin

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

10

John Newman Jr/Bob Culbertson

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

11

Gregg Thomas/David Grochowski

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

12

Dan Peckles/Mike Koepp

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

13

Steve & Brad Schmitt

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

14

Marc Arena/Rod Ballard

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

15

Mike Quinn/Stu Weigner

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

16

John Fisler/Dan Germann

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

17

Richard Larson/Jeff Monet

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

18

Tim Wittek/Luke Dipaulo

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

19

Brad Saul/Jeff Slusarski

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

20

Mike Giger/Jerry Rzepka

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

21

Ronald Haynes/Walter Prociuk

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

22

Gary Treadway/Mike Brister

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

23

Kirk Willberg/Brad Swenson

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

24

Dan E Becker/Joe Bukantos

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

25

Crash Mullins/Joe McCartin

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

26

Karen DiPietro/Lupe Rodriquez

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

27

Josh Behm/Mike Fryatt

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

28

Troy Bilbrey/Jeff Fladebo

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

29

Tony Hernandez/Mark Pflug

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

30

Richard D Heckel/Bill Jacobs

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

31

Rob Denkewalter/Tim Ehrhardt

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

32

Chris Drury/Rich Gallagher

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

33

Dave Sokolowski/Louie Signorilie

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

34

Matt Polman/John Augustine

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

35

Eric & Steve Genson

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

36

Ed Haagenson/Jim Frohlich

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

37

Paul Peck/Bob Elliker

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

38

Nathan Heinrich/Mark Spencer

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

39

Scott Salchli/Tony Smith

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

40

Dave Lucas/T Robert Mabry

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

41

Stacey Medin/Matt Thompson

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

42

Steve Cady/Matt Beulke

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

43

John Mich/Robert Kolar

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

44

Mike Riley/Kelly Armstrong

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

45

Scott Karow/John Thurk

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

46

Tom Ustaszewski/Ron Mazur

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

47

Gregg Schultz/Rick Nutt

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

48

Michael A Tengwall/Eric Guddal

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

49

Eric Nelson/Mark Kuether

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

50

Kevin Nash/Andy Veach

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

51

Tom Bayer/Rick LaBuda

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

CLICK HERE to view the 2003 Championship Photo Album

 

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