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Spring Warm Up!
Petenwell Flowage - Wisconsin

May 12th & 13th, 2006

CLICK HERE for the 2006 Petenwell Flowage Tournament Photo Album

                                   Ranger Cup Winner                       Event Big Fish - 43½"                  Saturday Big Fish - 39"
                                      Steve Rusteberg                     Nick Nigro & Dale Craine       Randall Machtan & John Steckel

Machtan & Steckel Win Petenwell PMTT "Spring Warm Up"
Record Low Pressure No Match For ‘Hottest Team’ On The Trail

Final Results-PMTT Q-1 @ Petenwell Flowage Wisconsin Rapids, WI MAY 12th & 13th, 2006

By: Bob "the Fin-Addict" Osborne - PMTT PR/Media Director

In a event that could well have spawned headlines focused on the brutally severe cold front and ‘historic record’ low pressure system that stalled out over Central Wisconsin this past weekend, bringing with it a mix of 30+ MPH winds, choppy 3 foot plus waves, sleet, hail, steady rains AND mid-30 degree air temps, Randy Machtan and partner John  Steckel, both of nearby Marshfield, WI. showed "the stuff" it takes to be a Champion, trolling the amazingly versatile 9" Bull Dawg, in stock walleye glitter pattern, just off the face of the rip-rap near the dam in the South end, directly ‘in the teeth’ of the worst wind and waves …confidently putting three fish in the net, silencing a hard-pressing, very experienced second place team by registering Saturday’s 39-inch $500 ‘BIG FISH’ award winner in addition to Fridays 42½ & 39¼-inchers, in the process …sealing yet another impressive, almost unbelievable, win and check totaling $14,500!

Machtan & Steckel have taken little time in earning both the undivided attention and respect of every angler on the Pro Circuit with … two wins and a fourth place finish …in only their third time out, putting them in a place few anglers on the Pro Musky Trail can even imagine! "I came down three or four times during ‘hard ice’ and looked around to verify were the majority of ice shanties were set up", shared a very modest Machtan. "I went around and talked to those folks that were willing to share conversation and got good recon on where perch, walleye and crappie concentrations could be found, then taking into consideration dissolved oxygen levels above 9ppm at the dam, water temps, prevailing winds, zooplankton and baitfish concentrations closer to Tournament time, locked in on about a ½ mile section nearer the dam … and stuck with it!" As impressive as is this fresh-thinking plan of attack and humble, intuitive confidence, another possible insight to an aspect of their strength was Steckel’s emotional dedication of this victory, on Mothers Day eve, to his own much-loved Mother for taking him fishing, even as a young man of barely 4, after the grievous loss of his Father and the early life lessons thereby gained saying, "Mom, I owe it all to you … God Bless you and thank you …from the bottom of my heart!"

Steven J. Rusteberg of Naperville, IL and partner Dan Bowman, Carol Stream, IL. took 2nd Place and $4,500 by scoring a triple on day one, 34 - 34½ & 35-inches … all on spinner baits, while staying very near the take-off point in Barnum Bay and throwing, "Almost everything in our tackle boxes over the course of two days", according to Rusteberg, who with just one more legal fish might have set some history as well by becoming the first three-time Event Winner. "Every one of these fish were probably ones we had located pre-fishing with hook-less lures", explained Rusteberg. "Dan was able to get on the water before I could make it up here and found Barnum to be holding a large number of smaller males that were willing to bite … we just could not get the size or numbers of keepers it took to take and keep first place. Lots of credit has to go to the winners, they really earned it"

Jason Schillinger and Don "Mr. Musky" Kempen, both ‘home-grown’ local favorites, gave another ‘near-winning’ effort going to the opposite end of the system, in the river proper, working smaller bright orange jerk baits to entice four biters to stretch their lines, of which only two made the mark, a 42-incher day one and a 37-incher on the second, for 3rd Place and $2,450. Kempen, a pioneer in making this one of the State’s top Musky waters, helping to implement the very first stockings back in 1981, stated that he had these fish up two days prior while pre-fishing but that the drastic weather change and proximity to spawn had a major effect on both the fish and tactics they used to solicit a bite. Said Schillinger, "Color choice was for us, not the fish, because it was hard to see lure action in the darker waters. We went from deeper water nearer 15 foot channel breaks on day one to a shallower shoreline presentation as the weather began to stabilize towards the end of day two feeling many fish would still be spawn oriented."

The Illinois duo of Nick Nigro & Dale Craine got on the board early and in a big way; taking the Event & Friday’s $500 ‘BIG FISH’ award and 4th Place monies totaling $2,250 with a very nice 43½ -incher that ate a walleye-colored Shallow Invader. "We moved two more fish the first day that just would not commit and might have made things a bit more interesting", a still very pleased Nigro laughingly lamented.

Another local personality whose name is synonymous with helping grow and sustain this up-and-coming Musky fishery, Todd Forcier and partner Dan Meyer threw smaller Mepps hair in the perennially productive "Devil’s Elbow" area to bring a beautiful 40-incher aboard for 5th Place and a check for $1,400. "We knew that we were going to have to either score a real ‘Pig’ or at the very least a pair of high-quality fish to make any major move in the standings … and we don’t fish for second place!" explained Forcier of their choice to change tactics and "Swing for the fences", a bold move that unfortunately fell a bit short this time around.

Jim Stella and Rob Frechette of Illinois who threw baby Jerkos/Squirkos for a 38½-incher in the ‘Tubes’ area claimed 6th Place. Minnesota Pros Mike Tengwall & Eric Guddal’s first day, glide bait eating 37¼- incher slipped to 7th Place overall while Scott Spangle & Paul Peterson of nearby Stevens Point rounded out the field of successful anglers by shallow-casting buck tails to score a 35-incher for 8th Place in their first ever PMTT competition.

"The PMTT believes that a debt of gratitude is owed those individuals, groups and organizations who by their past efforts and continued action have made what we do and enjoy so passionately today even possible and are very happy to be able to give something back", said PMTT Director/Co-Founder Tim Widlacki as he presented Consolidated Musky Club representative, Don Kempen, a much appreciated $1,000 check for their use in future Petenwell muskellunge stocking efforts. Ranger Boats, a longtime supporter of the PMTT and Musky anglers everywhere, Wisconsin Representative Steve Lindahl, announced that as of this event, "Ranger Cup Awards" have surpassed 2.1 million dollars for 2006 alone and shared a commitment by Ranger to further increase their involvement by revealing the long anticipated offering of the 188 MUSKY EDITION in 2007. "This boat has everything designed with today’s extreme Musky Hunter in mind and is the result of our listening to you, the angler, and hope that we can earn your business."

Widlacki closed the final ceremonies by thanking our hosts, the Wisconsin Rapids Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, especially Executive Director Karen Mast, "For raising the bar to a whole new level; hospitality, presentation and level of quality that insures our wanting to visit again … and often! Let’s not forget the Mead Hotel, Tom and the staff at the Lure Bar & Grill in Barnum Bay as well as the entire community for making us all feel so welcome even in some very foreboding weather. I would also like to express great thanks to each and every one of our Site, Contributing and Associate Sponsors who have helped us get to this record-breaking point in our eight year history… including Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, Musky Hunter Magazine, Heckel's Marine, Crash's Landing, Extreme Muskie Expo's, Keyes Outdoors Television, The Village of Antioch Illinois, Morehead Tourism Commission and our next hosts, the Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center. Please let these fine folks know that you appreciate their efforts in support of freshwaters most challenging, exciting, only national Pro Musky Trail … and the mighty Muskellunge!

Next up; The ‘Mercury Marine Summer Challenge‘, June 24th & 25th on the Eagle River Chain, followed by the highly anticipated ‘Musky Hunter Magazine’s Fall Showdown‘, Sept. 16th & 17th on Minnesota’s infamous ’Land of the Giants’ … Lake Vermillion, slated for the final qualifier. All events are televised by Keyes Outdoors on FOX SPORTS NORTH … with ABC-CBS-NBC affiliates from the Chicagoland area attending the Fox Chain Ranger Boats World Championship, November 4th & 5th as the keys to a new Ranger 619 Fisherman, RangerTrail trailer, 150hp Mercury OptiMax pkg. and $10,000 are awarded to the Ranger World Champs. Be a part of the action ... Learn from the Pros ... Fish top waters at peak times ...Share the camaraderie … Become a better angler and have Great Fun in the process. It is not just about this amazing fish or big money, it’s folks just like you sharing a unique passion, educating by example while helping to bring positive focus and growth to this potentially fragile resource.

Anyone can join the PMTT to enter this fast-growing, uniquely challenging and addictively exciting competition. But hurry … very limited single event berths still available and a deposit will hold your spot. To register or obtain more information on the 2006 PMTT, remaining Qualifiers or to view event photo album, please visit them on the Web @ www.promusky.com or call PMTT Director, Tim Widlacki @ 815-264-3228  


1st Place Randall Machtan & John Steckel - 42 ½", 39 ¼" & 39" Saturday Big Fish
2nd Place Ron Bowman & Steven Rusteberg - 35", 34 ½" & 34" Ranger Cup Award
3rd Place Jason Schillinger & Donald Kempen - 42" & 37"
4th Place Nick Nigro & Dale Craine - 43 ½" Fri/Event Big Fish
5th Place Todd Forcier & Dan Meyer - 40"
6th Place Robert Frechette & James Stella - 38 ½"
7th Place Michael Tengwall & Eric Guddal - 37 ¼"
8th Place Scott Spangle & Paul Peterson - 35"

This 113 Team Field - safely released a total of 13 fish - 9 Fri & 4 Sat - Event BIG FISH 43½-inches
Stained- to-Dark Water w/Temp Avg. 51 Degrees / Air Temps: HI 44 LOW 35 / Wx: Rain-Sleet-High Winds-Cloud



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