Merrill, Wis. Pro Angler Wins $50,000
Apr 21st, 2006 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Apr 21st, 2006 at 12:00 AM
Wisconsin pro anglers captured the top four spots at the Mercury Pro-Am, the first tournament of the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail2006 season. They were fishing the Regional Tournament series presented by MotorGuide at Winneconne, Wis.Winning $50,000, and the title was second-year pro Tom Gatzke, Merrill. On stage, he said, “During my rookie season, I made rookie mistakes. It really feels great to be in this position.” He is fishing the entire Regional Series, and knows that with events in North Dakota, South Dakota and Michigan, he still has much work to make the Mercury Championship. Winning $15,000 for second was Ken Van Oss, Chilton. Third place money of $13,000 went to Tom Kemos, Oconomowoc, and fourth was Oshkosh pro Greg Golliher who won $10,000. Gatzke won with 27.63 pounds; Van Oss had 23 pounds; Kemos weighed 22; and Golliher netted 20 pounds. With the tougher than normal spring-bite, the catch was much lighter than expected. “This was the peak time of the year – on average – and should have been great,” said tournament chair and river guru Doug Nelson, Winneconne. “This could be one of those times when you should have been here tomorrow.”Gatzke vertical jigged near Partridge Lake at Fremont most of the time. He leads the Tommy Docks Regional Champion Race. He really increased his average place finish from his rookie year when his best finish was 72nd on the St. Mary’s River. Many top finishes came from the Wolf River, where jigging played a critical role. Some anglers trolled the reefs on Lake Winnebago, while some slip-bobbered the Winnebago rocks.Pro Brad Davis, Jackson, Wis., and amateur partner Jeff Roberts, New London, Wis., won the $2,000 Coleman Big Fish award with a 5.99-pounder.Coleman Cool Under Pressure winners were pro Pete Harsh, Sauk Centre, Minn., and Scott Peterson, Berlin, Wis., for advancing the most places. The E-CellHeavyweight $1,000 award of 11.30 pounds went to Van Oss. The PWT Pro-Am format means amateurs/co-anglers fish with three different pros during the tournament, with the pros providing all gear and tackle. Under the boat-weight format, the daily catches count for both partners. The PWT circuits with eight total tournaments still have a few amateur slots open. To find out more, check out the PWT website, www.professionalwalleyetrail.com.The tour heads west to Chamberlain, SD, in two weeks, then to Devils Lake, ND in late May. The walleye pros continue through many states in an effort to qualify for the Mercury Championship. In addition to the stage ceremonies, the PWT Outdoor Festival treated fans to the Dock Dogs, and youngsters had fun at the air rifle shooting gallery, the catfish tank and the rock-climbing wall. These festivities will occur at most PWT tournaments this year. The PWT is an integral element of the In-Fisherman Communications Network headquartered in Brainerd, Minnesota, and PRIMEDIA, America’s leading producer of targeted media. PWT promotional partners include:Mercury Marine, Lund, The Outdoor Channel, Berkley, Optima Batteries, Realtree, MotorGuide, Lowrance, MinnKota, Trilene, Frenzy, Blue Fox, Powerbait, Johnsonville Brats, Northland Fishing Tackle, Lindy Legendary Fishing Tackle, GULP!, Coleman, Storm, Tommy Docks, Smooth Moves Seat Mounts, E-Village, Kwik Pfyt, Raymarine, Rapala, Pflueger, Ram rod holders, Gerbing’s Heated Clothing, Aqua-Vu, Plano, Stowmaster.net, Navionics, Yellow Bird, Beckman, Drift Control, Gemini Sport Marketing, Yo-Zuri and Reef Runner. The PWT is an integral element of the In-Fisherman Communications Network headquartered in Brainerd, Minnesota, and PRIMEDIA, America’s leading producer of targeted media.