A Beautiful Weekend to Wrap Up the 2009 Illinois Tournament Trail

Category: press release

 Nov 10th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Nov 10th, 2009 at 12:00 AM

The 2009 Illinois Muskie Tournament Trail State Championships were held on Lake Shelbyville, November 7 and 8. The weather was unusually sunny and warm for a fall tournament, making it very easy to spend time on the water, but it apparently made the fishing extremely difficult. The typically elusive and unpredictable muskie were doing their best job of staying in hiding, and 20 teams of talented and determined muskie fishermen tried all of their best strategies to find  them. In the end, the muskie almost pitched a shutout.  At 10 a.m. of the second day of the tournament, Ron Rodak cast out a “Super Stalker” crankbait along a sandy shoreline, and caught a 36.25 inch muskie, Normally, that would be considered an “average catch” this season. This weekend it was the ONLY catch made by anyone in the Championships, and earned Ron and his partner Bob Jeffries, first place in the tournament, this year’s IMTT Illinois State Team Championship, and a team check of $1000. The catch also pushed Rodak ahead of his nearest competitor into second place in the 2009 Tournament Trail individual championship.  This year’s top Trail individual prize went to Jim Beaty, of the Shawnee Muskie Club. Jim’s consistent performance throughout the season, and his tie in catching of the Trail’s largest fish of the season (46 in., tied with Fred Dearborn), earned him enough points to defeat Rodak by the slim margin of 4 points. All of this year’s champions are long-time IMTT members and tournament trail participants, who have earned their spurs by putting in countless hours, on days not nearly as nice as they were this weekend, in search of their quarry. They are great examples of the truth in the advice often given by experienced muskie fishermen…”If you want to catch more muskie, you have to put in your time in on that water”. They are the 2009 IMTT Illinois state champions, and they EARNED it! Congratulations!


Despite the difficulties of bringing in muskie this weekend, the vast majority of participants hung in to the very end, working to get that “one special bite”. The mantra of… “That’s muskie fishing”…  was heard many times Almost anyone can catch a number of “easier” species of fish, and sometimes even a novice can catch a nice muskie, but it takes an especially dedicated and determined breed of fisherman to be consistently successful catching muskie. This weekend Lake Shelbyville saw some of the best. The challenge and thrill of the catch, is what keeps them coming back. Certainly there were a number of disappointed fishermen, thinking that they were only a good fish or two away from being state champs this year, but that did not stop them from staying for the awards ceremony and congratulating their fellow competitors, before they headed for home. There was no complaining, just a lot of optimism, camaraderie, and appreciation for a great weekend of trying to catch those “toothy critters”, known as muskie.

This year’s banquet saw IMTT president Ron Skala, receive recognition, as he steps down, after seven years of dedicated leadership. Howard Chambliss has been elected to continue as the next president of the IMTT. Director Roy Schodtler received the Robert Kerans “Founders Award” for his work in promoting the goals and ideals of the IMTT this year, and president Chambliss outlined the changes that will take place in 2010, that hopefully will encourage even more participation, produce even larger prize payouts for tournament participants, and increase the organization’s ability to be a positive force in maintaining and improving the muskie fishery in Illinois.. The tournament participants brought in a significant quantity of canned foods , which was donated to the Shelbyville Food Pantry, along with the proceeds from a special silent auction conducted for the purpose of helping the local needy.. In all it was a great finish to a great year, in which over 400 participants fished the IMTT events, catching one short of 100 muskie.

                                    Submitted by:
 Roy Schodtler
                                        IMTT Publicity Director

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