Near normal pool with water temperatures in the mid to high 50s greeted competitors as the Professional Musky Tournament Trail started its 21st season April 13-14 on Cave Run Lake, Kentucky, an annual tournament hosted by Morehead Tourism.
Saturday’s weather was partly sunny with light winds and a high of 82 degrees, while Sunday saw 68 degrees with a cold front moving through. Tournament fishermen fished under cloudy skies in the morning, then sun and wind later in the day. Thirty-two muskies were caught by competing anglers.
A rally by Fred Lederer and Philip Cummings of Toledo, Ohio, on the second day led to victory. The pair was in fourth place on Saturday with a 41 1/2-inch musky and knew they needed another quality fish to win. They continued to troll Sunday when a rod went off and they eventually netted a fat 44 1/2-inch musky, which was enough for the victory and big fish honors the second day.
Cummings and Lederer were using six- and 10-inch orange Ziggy crankbaits while trolling at 3.5 mph through baitfish pods in 15 to 20 feet of water. Their efforts earned them a check for $12,500 and the two first place trophies.
The team of Tim and Brian Barker, brothers from Morehead, Kentucky, came in second with muskies measuring 36 3/4 and 47 1/2 inches. The latter musky stood as big fish of the day for Saturday, for which they earned an extra $500 and another $250 bonus from Musky Hunter magazine. The two brothers caught their muskies jigging white Bondy baits in a current area near shad on the first breakline.
In third place were Mike Keyes of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, and Brian Schaeffer of Tomahawk, Wisconsin, with muskies of 33 3/4 inches and 37 inches long. They cast Team Rhino custom-painted Phantom jerkbaits in a white-and-orange pattern to catch their muskies.
In fourth place was Nick Adams and Shane Horsley of Vanceburg, Kentucky, who used used shad-colored Bull Dawgs in deeper water to catch their muskies, which measured 34 and 36 1/2 inches.
In fifth place with 34- and 35-inch muskies caught on white Lake XToads were Chris Riebe of South Elgin, Illinois, and Matt Snyder of Tower, Minnesota. They fished shallow water close near the dam, using a pull-pause presentation.
Tournament Director Tim Widlacki thanked Morehead Tourism for its continued support in hosting this annual event, as well as the official sponsor of this year’s Cave Run event, Vitaminerals. Widlacki thanked all the major sponsors including Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, Musky Hunter Magazine, Keyes Outdoors, Feldstein’s Jewelers, Eagle River Chamber of Commerce and Chaos Tackle, and all the other associate and contributing sponsors.
Next up for the PMTT is Mercury Marine’s Summer Challenge in Eagle River, Wisconsin, on June 22-23. For information, visit promusky.com or call 815-478-4092.