Lijewski and Piazza Win in Come From Behind Fashion at Mercury Marine’s Summer Challenge!
The Mercury Marine Summer Challenge which is the second event of the Professional Musky Tournament Trail was held on the Eagle River Chain of Lakes in Eagle River Wisconsin on June 25 and 26. The annual event hosted by the Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce had the full field of 125 teams registered to compete waiting with great anticipation as this was the first year in the 15 year history of the PMTT visiting the chain that trolling was allowed.
Sunday’s Big Fish at 43″ Registered by Josh Sullivan and Clayton Spiess
The day one results were very good with 42 muskies caught and released. The leaders on day one were Nick Cammarata of Cary, IL. and Gary Lehnherr of McFarland, WI. with 4 muskies and yes, they were trolling. Another team that was familiar with the water (Mark Lijewski of Minoqua, WI. and Jeff Piazza of Lake Tomahawk, WI.) were in 5th place on day one with two very respectable fish a 44.50 and a 33.75, both casting. The success that the anglers had may have been due to the overcast skies, moderate wind and perfect water temperature of 74 degrees. There was also a strong approaching storm front that passed through shortly after tournament hours that triggered the muskies into feeding.
Lijewski and Piazza Show Off Their Hardware
Sunday turned out to be a little slower bite with 22 muskies being registered. Cooler air temperatures and lower humidity with a moderate wind may have been the cause but the anglers caught a good number of nice fish. Cammarata and Lehnherr ended up having one more fish on at 8:30 A.M. and it came off 10 feet from the boat. However Lijewski and Piazza were having a good day catching two more muskies to edge out the exciting fish filled event. The winners are long time tournament anglers that have had great success in the past. They knew the water very well and it showed, as they really had to work for it to come from behind and win.
As noted the winners of the Mercury Marine`s Summer Challenge were Mark Lijewski and Jeff Piazza wit 44.50′, 35.75″, 33.75″ and 32.25″ muskies. These two fine fishermen used Medussa and Bulldawg rubber baits worked vigorously through and above weed edges making sure that their baits were working properly by ripping as they contacted weeds. Their catch earned the two anglers two beautiful trophies and a cash payout of almost $20,000.00.
In Second place were Nick Cammarata and Gary Lehnherr with muskies that were 39″, 37″, 33″ and 33″. Their technique was to troll open water at somewhat of a fast pace using crankbaits while covering lots of water and keeping their baits in the water. Lehnherr prefixed during the week and found the pattern. He could not wait to get on this water and troll. It paid off for their team earning them $4,800 and two beautiful trophies.
In Third place Ryan Becker of Clear Lake, Iowa and Travis Nielsen of Winnebago, Minnesota with a 44.75″ and 39″ muskies. These two gentlemen used Showgirl buck tails in and around weedy areas close to deep water. In Fourth Place were Bruce Glowa of Countryside, Illinois and Bradley Olsen of Forest Park, Illinois that caught muskies that were 45″ and 38″ The larger fish was also the largest fish caught in the tournament which also won them a check worth $500.00. The two anglers used Grandma lures for the big fish while trolling and a Lake X cannonball lure casting for the 38″.
Rounding out the top five in Fifth Place with 4 muskies that were 37.50″, 32″, 31″ and 30″ were Clay Heller of New Berlin, WI. and Justin Johnson of Jefferson, WI. These two anglers used crankbaits while trolling on Cranberry Lake as they concentrated on windblown break lines with baitfish present.
In all there were 64 muskies caught and released in this event which was one of the best PMTT events for numbers of fish caught ever. People had a great time and really appreciated how the whole community of Eagle River welcomes our field of anglers every year. It makes them really want to come back.
Tournament director Tim Widlacki thanked all of the PMTT’s fantastic sponsors especially Mercury Marine for their continued support and the Eagle River Area Chambers of Commerce for hosting this annual event. Also Ranger Boats, Musky Hunter Magazine, Morehead Tourism, Keyes Outdoors, Chaos Tackle, Musky Mayhem Tackle, Vita-Minerals and all of the associate and contributing sponsors. Please let these fine people know that you appreciate their promotional efforts in support of fresh waters most challenging fish and those extreme anglers who chase her on the first, best and only truly national professional musky tournament circuit, the PMTT.
If you would like to join us in fishing our next event at the Madison Chain of Lakes in Madison, WI. on September 17 and 18. There are still a few openings. To obtain more information on becoming a member of the PMTT, or to view event photo album, please visit them on the Web @ www.promusky.com or call PMTT office @: 815-478-4092