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Mercury Marine's Summer Challenge
Eagle River, Wisconsin
June 25th & 26th, 2005

CLICK HERE to view the 2005 Eagle River Tournament Photo Album



By: Bob ‘the Fin-Addict’ Osborne

Capping what proved an emotional and incredibly exciting “Big Fish Slug-Fest” here on the waters of northern Wisconsin’s famed Eagle River Chain the weekend of June 25th & 26th, reigning 2003 & 2004 PMTT Top Gun Champs Jason Summers of Lino Lakes, MN. and partner Tony Demars from Wyoming, MN both near the Twin Cities area, became one of the most successful teams ever in the seven year history of the Professional Musky Tournament Trail when they registered fish of 44.50 - 39.75 & 40-inches to narrowly defeat a hard-charging 140 Team field of the nation’s best Musky Hunters, capturing both the PMTT / Mercury Marine Summer Challenge Title and prestigious $1,000 Ranger Cup Award for a whopping total of $19,000! Incredibly, in an inspiring display of what makes a winning team click, Summers was able to score two fish in a solo performance day one that included landing a hard fighting 44.50-incher while partner Tony was home attending his wife and newborn future fishing partner, Mason James Demars. Unable to arrive until Sunday morning, driving in overnight, he promptly shouldered his part of the tourney load by adding the anchor fish of 40-inches that was just enough to hold off the second place team and clinch their win!

This third in a series of four qualifiers saw 17 fish registered under near 90 degree, blue bird skies on Saturday and 20 more on a very humid, predominately cloudy day two … seven in the top 10 releasing two or more fish over 34-inches while nearly setting a new record for average size in a PMTT event, requiring a minimum of 42-inches to break the Top 10!!! Although a primary pattern coming into this event, relatively few fish were caught in shallow weeds as the majority of biters were in depths of 14 to 25-plus feet relating to the large schools of bait found there with the deeper waters of Eagle Lake being the most productive this time around. Far and away the most successful bait of choice… once again… was the amazingly versatile Musky Innovations Bull Dawg! Either cast to the outside edges of the weeds with a pump-and-pause retrieve or worked with a slower and more vertical jigging action over, around and through the denser bait schools, these baits triggered fish and though walleye color patterns prevailed they were certainly not the only ones that worked.

Making a strong bid that fell only slightly short for back-to-back titles while taking the lead in the 2005 Top Gun race, Tom Olson of Antioch, IL. and Chicagoland area partner Seamus Hanley took Saturday’s $500 Big Fish Award, bringing a 34.50 and 45-incher to the boat on day one, then following up with a 39.25-incher on day two to take a very close 2nd and $5,000.

Greg Buckmaster and Andy Regenfus of Phelps, WI took home 3rd Place and $3,150 when they were able to trigger fish of 46 & 37.75-inches… within 15 minutes of each other… right at the end of the tournament! While Jerry Podmarsky & Dave Quinn from La Grange, IL. utilized over 30 years experience on these waters to double-up with a 43 & 39-incher working deeper breaks to earn themselves 4th Place and $2,250, as did well-known area anglers Gordy Hastreiter & Mark Lijewski with 37.75 & 37-inchers earning them $1,800 and 5th Place overall. Almost unbelievably, Sunday’s Big Fish Award winning 48.25-inch specimen that ate a Bull Dawg offered by John Steckel & Randle Machtan on Lynx Lake only held up for 7th Place, earning the pair a cool$1,700.

In continuing testament to this incredible fishery, Mike & Dan Wojtusk also registered a double for 6th Place and $1,350 using Suick’s to trigger fish of 39 & 35.50-inches… while moving almost a dozen more! North Country Adventure hosts Steve Genson & Mike Keyes posted their second straight event Top 10 finish by doubling with a 36.75 & 35.25-incher to take 8th Place and $1,170 that advanced them near the top of the points race.

“Eagle River… Man, what an amazing fishery“, declared Tournament Director Tim Widlacki at the closing ceremonies. “From our hosts at the Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, Director "Connie" Heeg and Event Co-coordinator Kim Emerson, to all of the residents, businesses… the entire community of Eagle River, thank you all. The scenic beauty, hospitality and fishing here are second to none… Great times really do come with the territory!!”

Special thanks go out to the fine folks at Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, Musky Hunter Magazine, Heckel’s Marine, Crash’s Landing, North Country Adventure Television and all associate and contributing sponsors, as well as Host Site Sponsors; Morehead Tourism Commission, Eagles Nest Resort, Treelands, Hayward Country Inns & Suites, Medina Center and of course the Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center… without who’s continuing support none of this would be possible today.

Learn from the Pros ... be a part of the action ... and help to show your support for Musky fishing. Anyone can join the PMTT and enter this fast-growing and addictively exciting competition ... and everybody… as always… is warmly invited to come out and join the fun. The final event will be held on the historic waters of the Chippewa Flowage in Hayward, WI September 17th & 18th and is your last chance to qualify for the Ranger Boats World Championship Invitational.

To register or obtain more information on the 2005 PMTT or any remaining Qualifier, please visit them on the Web @ www.promusky.com or call PMTT Director, Tim Widlacki @ 815-264-3228
*space is limited and remaining slots are filling fast! *

1st Place Jason Summers & Tony DeMars 44 ½", 40" & 39 ¾"
2nd Place Tom Olson & Seamus Hanley 45", 39 ¼" & 34 ½"
3rd Place Greg Buckmaster & Andy Regenfuss 46" & 37 ¾"
4th. Place Jerry Podmarsky & David Quinn 43" & 39"
5th. Place Gordon Hastreiter & Mark Lijewski 37 ¾" & 37"
6th. Place Dan & Mike Wojtusik 39" & 35 ½"
7th. Place John Steckel & Randall Machtan 48 ¼"
8th. Place Steve Genson & Mike Keyes 36 ¾" & 35 ¼"
9th. Place Brad Swenson & Kirk Allen 45 ½"
10th. Place Nick Cammarata & Rick Miscimski 42"
11th Place Jeremy Driscoll & Eric Nelson 40 ¾"
12th. Place Jack Posewitz & Ellen Wells 40 ½"
13th. Place Scott Karow & John Thurk 40"
14th. Place Jeff Miller & Louie Dreger 39 ¾"
15th. Place Mike Carter & Doug Dible 39"



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