Musky guides Jason Hamernick and John Hoyer are the champions of the Professional Musky Tournament Trail’s 20-year anniversary Mega Tournament held on Lake Vermilion in northeastern Minnesota.
By topping the 85-team field, the team received checks totaling $40,000 following the event, which was held September 14-16.
Conditions seemed good for musky fishing with cloudy skies, a mist in the air, and moderate winds on Friday and Saturday, but only 20 muskies were registered by 16 teams during the first two days and moved on to fish in Sunday’s finale. Bluebird skies and sun, with 20-mph winds, greeted the anglers Sunday.
Hamernick, of Wyoming, Minnesota, and Hoyer, of Minnetonka, Minnesota, were in the Top 10 after Saturday and knew they needed to catch another musky to win. They changed to a whole new area of the lake from which they’d been fishing and caught the last musky of the tournament, a 51 1/4-inch fish that put them on the top of the leader board for good.
The team said they cast Musky Frenzy bucktails with No. 7 blades. Their other two muskies measured 45 3/4 and 38 1/4 inches.
In second place with three muskies that were 31, 42 1/4 and a monster of a fish at 54 1/4 inches were Steve Amundson of Cook, Minnesota, and Mike Brown of Duluth, Minnesota. The two anglers used bucktails with No. 7 willow blades while covering as many spots as they could while working the lures at a fast pace to take home over $12,000 cash.
In third place were Mark Lijewski of Minocqua, Wisconsin, and Jeff Piazza of Lake Tomahawk, Wisconsin, who caught two muskies measuring 48 1/4 and 42 inches. Their technique was to work deep rock edges in windblown areas slowly with a Piazza Creeper and jerkbaits in natural colors.
Placing fourth with muskies that were 47 and 41 3/4 inches were Todd Emiro and Michael McCarthy of Mercer, Wisconsin, who worked Double Cowgirl spinners near deep rock edges.
Rounding out the top five were Matt Snyder of Tower, Minnesota, and Chris Riebe of South Elgin, Illinois, who used bucktails and American Hardwood surface lures to entice their two muskies that were 43 3/4 and 39 inches. The team fished near docks and very shallow “junk” weeds with natural-colored baits.
Tournament Director Tim Widlacki thanked Fortune Bay Resort Casino and their entire staff for the outstanding job co-hosting the event, as well as the Lake Vermilion Resort Association and all the PMTT’s sponsors: Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, Musky Hunter Magazine, Keyes Outdoors, MotorGuide, Chaos Tackle, Vitaminerals, Feldstrein Jewelers and all the associate and contributing sponsors.
Next up for the PMTT is the Ranger Boats World Championship to be held on Lake Webster, the Barbee Chain and Lake Tippecanoe in Indiana October 20-21.
For more information visit promusky.com or call the PMTT office at 815-478-4092.