Chris Riebe and Matt Snyder were crowned 2016 PMTT Champions following the Ranger Boats World Championship held October 22-23 on Lake Miltona in west central Minnesota.
The 35 qualifying teams had their fishing skills tested during the event’s two not-so-ideal weather days. The water temperature was 53 degrees after fall turnover, and Saturday’s weather was calm, sunny and 60 degrees. Water clarity was gin-clear, with visibility down to at least 12 feet, which made the muskies tough to entice. A total of eight muskies were caught.
Riebe, of South Elgin, Illinois, and Snyder, of Tower, Minnesota caught two muskies of 43 1/2 and 51 inches. They said they spent almost the entire week before the tournament looking around the lake for patches of weeds most people did not know about, rather than pre-fish. They caught the 43 1/2-inch musky at mid morning the first day, and shortly after the 51-incher followed Riebe’s bait but would not hit. Snyder cast the same large BullDawg toward the direction of the musky and it followed toe the boat and engaged the figure-8. As the musky grew more aggressive with each turn, Snyder pulled the bait straight up fast, and the musky inhaled it.
Their efforts awarded them the Ranger Boats World Championship trophies and a beautiful 2017 Ranger 619 FS Fisherman with a Mercury OptiMax outboard and RangerTrail Trailer.
In second place with a 45-inch musky were Fred LeDerer of Perrysburg, Ohio, and Phil Cummings of Graytown, Ohio, who speed-trolled crankbaits near the break line in 10 feet of water near baitfish schools. In third place with a 44 1/2-inch musky were Ben Michlig of Wausau, Wisconsin, and Matt Michlig of Milwaukee, who fished main lake weed edges.
In fourth place with a 44-inch musky were Dave Brown of Iron River, Wisconsin, and Mike Keyes of Nekoosa, Wisconsin, who worked Magnum BullDawgs slowly on sandy areas with patches of weeds. Rounding out the top five were Bob Parteka of Green Bay and Aaron Stack of Waukesha, Wisconsin, who caught a 42 1/4-inch musky on a Sneaky Snake jerkbait. They fished sandy areas with deeper weed clumps.
The prestigious Top Gun/Team of the Year Award was also awarded at the Championship to the team of brothers Matt and Ben Michlig, whose fish caught on Saturday was 1/2-inch larger than that of the second place team of Brown and Keyes. In third place for Top Gun honors were Nate Osfer of Wausau, Wisconsin, and Matt Raley of Minocqua, Wisconsin.
Tournament Director Tim Widlacki thanked all of the PMTT’s sponsors for their continued support of not only the PMTT but the entire sport of musky fishing. They include Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, Crossings Inn and Suits Parkers Prairie, Minnesota, Chaos Tackle, Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce, Morehead Tourism Commission, Musky Hunter Magazine, Keyes Outdoors, Musky Mayhem Tackle, and Vitaminerals.
For more about the PMTT, visit www.promusky.com