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LAKE SHELBYVILLE –
LANDMEIER & RUSTEBERG RULE SHELBYVILLE: WIN
2ND PMTT TITLE !!
Bob "the Fin-Addict" Osborne
Successfully defending their 2003 victory with an impressive display of knowledge, skill and dogged determination, well known local Illinois pro anglers Duane Landmeier & Steven James Rusteberg broke new ground in this weekends second qualifier of the 2004 Professional Musky Tournament Trail season, hosted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources here on Central Illinois’ explosive Lake Shelbyville, as they registered three musky of 41-½, 38-½ & 35-¾ inches, utilizing precise high-speed trolling tactics and fire-tiger jointed Depth Raiders at 4.3 mph on 53-½ feet of line in the relatively well-known Lithia Springs Cove area to become the first team in PMTT history to earn consecutive victories on the same waters, not only putting their names in the Trail’s history pages, but taking home both the prestigious Ranger Cup Award of $500 and 1st Place cash … a whopping $14,500 for their efforts!!
2nd Place went to Tony Carswell & Dave Eichelberger of nearby Champaign, IL. who made a serious bid for the lead on their ‘home waters’ when they also tripled up, sticking fish of 38-¾, 34-¾ & 34-¼ inches, casting fire-tiger Grandma minnow/twitch baits onto an "undisclosed" mud flat to fall just short of the leaders, taking home $3,500. Oh, and yes, maybe a couple of what-might-have-beens… at having been so close to grabbing the big check. "The pattern worked for us pre-fishing all thru the weekend and was better in the morning before 9:30 or so, but … well, we may have missed some chances to win", said Tony, chuckling as he added that they "wanted to keep the spot unknown … in case the PMTT was back here again next year".
3rd Place and Sundays $500 Big Fish Award, totaling $2,600, went to the team of Jim Carlson Sr. & Jr. of Grafton, WI. who doubled trolling fire-tiger Depth Raiders in the amazingly "popular" Lithia Springs area bringing a 34 and shad-fattened 43-½ incher to the boat. Jim Jr. was fishing solo after his father had returned home the night before, even with a ‘fish on the board’, to attend his younger brothers Confirmation, leaving son Jim Jr. ‘to take care of business’ when the big fish decided to bite . "Family always comes first with Dad", said the younger Carlson, excitedly adding that he thought not having a "net man" was going to cost him the lightly hooked fatty and a chance at cashing a check when, "she ran from the boat three or four times … eventually shaking loose the bait … at the exact same moment she finally hit the net!
Mike Tengwall & Eric Guddal of Buffalo, MN. claimed Saturday’s $500 Big Fish Award with a beautiful 42 inch musky and 4th Place overall when they added another of 35-¼ inches for the day and a pay out of $1,900. Holding the record for most points and most fish in a PMTT event set in Madison, WI. last year, these two have a well earned reputation for closing strong and were disappointed that they failed to trigger another fish on day two. 5th Place and $1,050 went to Dwayne Dillon & Joe Denton of Flemingsburg, KY. for the 42-¾ inch musky they were able trigger on trolled chartreuse crank baits and the first all woman Trail Team on the PMTT, Debbie Davis & Di Mindar of Aurora, IL. registered a thick 39-¼ inch fish for 7th Place, slow trolling a white Depth Raider crank bait at the mouth of a creek off Lithia.
Relatively stained-to-muddy and slightly below average water levels with a surface temperature averaging near 67 degrees, accompanied by a passing cold front Friday and some fish reportedly still in the spawn/post spawn mode (evidenced by observations of some larger fish still having eggs), may have contributed to the spotty and overall unpredictability of the bite. Compared to near record catch numbers in past years, these 105 teams, featuring more than 200 of the Nation’s top pro & avid amateur musky anglers, combined to bring a meager 19 legal fish to the boat on day one and only 9 on day two! Trolling smaller, fire-tiger pattern crank baits of various brands, on relatively short lines at speeds nearing 5 mph, in and/or around Lithia Springs was the predominant tactic and what was used by many of the teams that registered a catch this weekend but as is normally the case a few anglers found success bucking the popular trends.
Tournament Director Tim Widlacki closed by adding a special thanks to
Ranger Sales Representative Jason Parsons for addressing the crowd
Friday night on behalf of the major tour sponsor , sharing that although
primarily a bass fisher … he also catches 12 or more musky a year on
this system and really understands the passion and excitement evoked by
these outstanding gamefish, before thanking each and every one of the
PMTT‘s major, associate and contributing sponsors, including Ranger
Boats, Mercury Marine, Musky Hunter Magazine, The Fishing Guide Show,
Heckel's Marina, Crash's Landing, Inc., Morehead Kentucky Tourism
Commission, Illinois DNR, Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce and
Visitor's Center, Minnesota Musky Market Place, and the Chautauqua
County Tourism for their continued support and part they play in taking
us to the next level, asking, "You please consider patronizing the
outstanding products and services they represent."