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Fisherman PWT 2002 Saginaw Bay Tournament
Au Gres Michigan
August 2 2002
Veteran Pro Bill St. Peter Wins PWT
AuGres, Michigan....Touring walleye pro Bill St. Peter, Bay City, Michigan, claimed his first In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) victory Aug. 2. Fishing his home waters of Saginaw Bay, St. Peter averaged six pounds for each of his 15 walleyes to beat 140 Lund/PowerBait Northeastern Pro-Am competitors.
He won the $53,000 top prize and the $500 Gander Mountain Heavyweight award for his second-day 34.08 pound catch. He qualified for the Mercury Championship; his fourth year in a row. He has several top 10 PWT finishes and is as competitive on the water as he was when he played major league baseball.
Local AuGres angler Jason Kaniszewski placed second to win $15,000, and stated his intentions to fish the Dee Zee East Division next season. He is a fourth grade teacher in the Tawas school system. Pro Wally Luoma, Minneapolis won $10,000 for third place; John Gillman, Freeland, Michigan was fourth for $7,500; and Keith Kavajecz, Kaukauna, Wis., was fifth. He won $5,500. A total of $250,000 was awarded.
Winning amateur Tom Gonya, Toledo, Ohio, netted an impressive array of awards. He won the $15,000 Lund/Mercury 17-foot boat on an Eagle trailer. With a ninth and a fourth earlier this year, he was named the Mercury Top Amateur, winning a Mercury 9.9-horsepower outboard, and invited to the Championship, representing all amateurs.
Championship qualifiers are listed on the PWT web site, www.professionalwalleyetrail.com, led by Miller/In-Fisherman Angler of the Year John Kolinski, Menasha, Wis. The award paid $25,000 cash. He also set a new PWT Angler of the Year weight record, 361.65 pounds, beating Gary Parsons' nine year old record by 11 pounds. Mike Gwizdala, Bay City, Michigan, will lead the 10 Dee Zee East Division anglers to the Championship. He earned a Yamaha ATV Big Bear valued at $5,200. He was also the Raymarine Rookie of the Year, which pays three entries in 2003.
St. Peter fished about five to eight miles south of Point AuGres, combing the 22 to 24 foot depths. "I trolled spinners and nightcrawlers faster than most at 1.6 mph. My best color blades were #5 and #6 gold or copper with Christmas tree beads (red/green/purple)," he said.
Kaniszewski trolled within a couple miles of St. Peter, and caught some fish only three feet below the surface with most about 12 feet down. On the final day he found them four feet off bottom. Copper blades with blue beads and gold blades with chartreuse and gold beads were his favorite combinations. Occasionally, a silver chopper blade with silver beads produced.
Special awards went to pro Rick LaCourse, Port Clinton, Ohio, with the Coleman Cool Under Pressure award of $1,000 for advancing 92 places. Dale Santera, Houghton Lake, Mich., moved up 93 places to win $600 for his Coleman award. Amateur Tony Tierney, Westland, Mich., fished with St. Peter and won a $300 shopping spree at Gander Mountain for his share of the Heavyweight Award.
Walleyes (slightly less than two walleyes per contestant per day) were filleted by the Arenac County Conservation Club and donated to the Hidden Harvest in Saginaw, Mich., where they will be delivered to seven charities to feed the needy. Some will also go towards various Club activities, which lead to raising and stocking walleye fingerlings into the Bay. Two weeks ago their efforts resulted in more than 500,000 walleyes being stocked.
The PWT television series is now running on TNN, noon Sundays, central time, and the Saginaw Bay show will air Sept. 15. Special segments about the Bay will also be shown Sept. 8 and 22
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