When you hear of Lake Vermilion near Tower, Minnesota, the first thing that comes to mind is big muskies, and that is exactly what the anglers of the Professional Musky Tournament Trail ran into August 7-8. Water and air temperatures in the low 70s greeted 225 of the best musky fishermen in the world for Musky Hunter Magazine’s Fall Meltdown.
Big fish were in an abundance. A truly goliath musky that measured at 57 1/2 inches was caught by the team of Kory Kosek of Stewart, Minnesota, and Chris Chase of Farmington, Minnesota. The musky was the largest ever recorded during a PMTT tournament in 17 years. To put in perspective just how good the fishing was for large muskies during this tournament, that record size placed the Koseks 18th as there were 79 muskies registered in the 2-day event.
The first place winners were the father and son team of Bob and Andrew Judnick of Virginia, Minnesota who caught five large muskies up to 50 3/4 inches and had a great fish story behind it.
Their last fish on Day 2 charged Andrew’s bait and hit on the first turn of the figure-8. The 4-foot long fish was hooked and Bob quickly tried to net the musky but the lure got stuck on the outside of the net. Andrew knelt down and tried to grab the tail of the fish to get it in the net, but he slipped and fell into the water. Andrew held onto the boat with one hand and put his other arm around the fish trying to get it in the net. Bob dipped the net, grabbed the musky’s head, and together they flipped the fish into the net.
The Judnicks won two beautiful first place trophies and over $16,000 in cash by casting Double Cowgirl bucktails by Musky Mayhem Tackle and reeling them as fast as they could in two to four feet of water on windblown rocky points. Their muskies measured 43 3/4, 46 1/4, 48, 48 1/4 and 50 3/4 inches.
In second place were Brian Fitzpatrick of Eagan, Minnesota, and Jason Long of Appleton, Wisconsin, who used a variety of baits while covering as much water as possible. Fitzpatrick and Long’s muskies sizes were 35 1/4, 35 1/2, 36 1/2, 36, 39 3/4 and 45 1/4 inches.
In third place with muskies that were 39 3/4, 40 3/4, 44 1/2 and 45 inches were Mike Lee and Ryan McMahon of the Twin Cities area. Their muskies were caught on Showgirl bucktails that were cast towards rocks and windblown points.
In fourth place were Anthony Wiesner of Tower, Minnesota, and Andrew Hutter of the Twin Cities who used Apache triple-bladed bucktails casting in the rocks to boat muskies of 41 1/4, 38 1/2, 39 3/4, 42 1/2 and 42 1/2 inches long.
Rounding out the top five was Connor Cusack and Matt Snyder of Tower, Minnesota, with muskies that were 44 1/2, 45 and 46 inches in length. They used surface baits and bucktails in black color patterns near rocky windblown shorelines to catch their muskies.
Tournament director Tim Widlacki thanked all of the PMTT’s fantastic sponsors especially Musky Hunter Magazine for sponsoring the tournament. Widlacki also thanked Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, Bay View Lodge, Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce, Morehead Tourism, Keyes Outdoors, Chaos Tackle, Musky Mayhem Tackle and all of the associate and contributing sponsors.
The PMTT’s final event for 2015, the Ranger Boats World Championship, will be held on Lake Wissota near Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, on September 26-27.
To obtain more information on becoming a member of the PMTT, or to view event photo album, visit www.promusky.com or call the PMTT office, (815) 478-4092.