Unseasonably warm air and water temperatures greeted the top 35 teams from the Professional Musky Tournament Trail for the Ranger Boats World Championship on Lake Minnetonka near Minneapolis, September 23-24.
Air temperatures around 90 pushed the water temperature into the high 70s, but nevertheless the team of Nate Osfar of Minocqua, Wisconsin, and Matt Raley of Marathon City, Wisconsin boated three muskies measuring 46 1/4, 42 1/2 and 40 inches to win the championship.
While pre-fishing many areas of the lake, they found the stained water side seemed to give them their best chance. Once the tournament started, they found other anglers were not fishing there, so they now had relatively unpressured muskies. They cast Esox Assault bucktails in black combo patterns across shallow weeds with a fast retrieve, and worked them aggressively.
With this win, Raley & Osfar earned a brand new 2018 Ranger 619 FS Fisherman powered by a Mercury OptiMax, and RangerTrail trailer, and a first place prize package valued at over $50,000.
In second place were Christopher Padrnos of Brainerd, Minnesota, and Nick Kost of Bemidji, Minnesota, with three muskies of 40 3/4, 40 3/4 and 40 1/4 inches that were caught on black-and-perch colored Medussas in windblown areas with baitfish present. They located muskies while pre-fishing and went back to the area and “camped” on it in the tournament.
In third place with muskies of 33 1/2 and 42 inches were Bill Taylor of Trevor, Wisconsin, and Don Asleson of Silver Lake, Wisconsin, who used topwater baits and bucktails retrieved at a fast pace in sandy areas and weed flats.
In fourth place with a heavy 46 3/4-inch musky were Mark Lijewski of Minocqua, Wisconsin, and Jeff Piazza of Tomahawk, Wisconsin. Their musky stood as big fish of the tournament, earning them an extra $500 check.
In fifth place with a 40 1/2-inch musky was Chris Riebe of South Elgin, Illinois, and Matt Snyder of Tower, Minnesota. The pair were also crowned the PMTT Top Gun/Team of the Year after having caught muskies in every PMTT event this year.
In second place of the Top Gun standings are Lijewski and Piazza, and third place was Raley and Osfar.
Tournament director Tim Widlacki thanked all of the PMTT’s great sponsors, especially Ranger Boats for sponsoring this tournament, and Medina Inn & Conference Center for hosting the event. Also sponsoring the PMTT were Musky Hunter Magazine, Mercury Marine, Keyes Outdoors, Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, Musky Mayhem Tackle, Chaos Tackle, Muskies Inc. Vitaminerals, and Morehead Tourism, as well as associate and contributing sponsors.
For details on the PMTT’s 2018 season, watch www.promusky.com