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"
Nick Nigro & Dale Craine Randall
Machtan & John Steckel
Steckel Win Petenwell PMTT "Spring
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
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"
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."
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
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
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.
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!
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