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  • Updated: 09/07/04

  • Walleye World to Watch ‘Best-of-the-Best’ PWT Champs Compete in Houghton, MI, Sept. 17-19

         Houghton, Michigan…..The top-ranked In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) anglers are headed to Houghton, Michigan.  They will compete in the season-concluding Mercury Championship to the cheers of thousands of walleye fans.

         Fishing will take place Sept. 17-19 on the Keweenaw Waterway, with weigh-in ceremonies inside the Michigan Technological University (MTU) MacInnes Ice Arena.  A Sport and Boat Show, presented by Moyle Construction and Development, will take place in the adjacent Gates Tennis Center.

         The PWT anglers include those who proved they are Championship-contenders by their performance on tour this season.  Included are anglers representing 39 PWT victories, nine Anglers of the Year, eight of the top 10 all-time money winners, seven past Championship winners and seven Optima Top Guns.  They come from 10 states: 15 from Wisconsin, 14 from Minnesota, six from Michigan, five from South Dakota, four from North Dakota, three from Colorado; one each from Montana, California, Nebraska and Ohio.  

         Leading the 2004 pack with Number One on his boat is Angler of the Year Tommy Skarlis, Walker, Minn.  He has won four PWT tournaments in as many years, and this year alone, he pocketed nearly $125,000 (so far).
         The Nebraska angler, Rick Willett-Johnson from Omaha, is the Mercury Top Amateur, and will fish against the pros he fished with all season.  The PWT is a Pro-Am, and amateurs are partnered with pro anglers to learn tournament experiences from the boat seat.  They also learn about boat control, fishing tactics, how and where to fish, electronics, and much more.

         In 2004, the PWT schedule included walleye tournaments on the Missouri River in Chamberlain, SD; Cass Lake in Minnesota; Bull Shoals Lake in Arkansas; the Fox and Wolf Rivers in Winneconne, Wis.; Lake Erie’s central basin at Cleveland, Ohio; and Bay de Noc in Escanaba, Mich.  Mercury Championship contestants qualified by fishing the entire tour or the MotorGuide east or west divisions.  A total of approximately $2,000,000 will be paid to winners in 2004.  The Mercury Champion will earn more than $110,000.

         Championship waters include the entire Keweenaw Waterway that stretches across the Keweenaw Peninsula and includes Portage and Torch Lakes.  Keweenaw Bay and Huron Bay, to the east, are also within Championship boundaries.  Contestants fish with a non-fishing observer present, and may bring four walleyes to the scales daily.  Last year, Dan Plautz, Muskego, Wis., won with nearly 50 pounds.

         The pros will participate in a special UPPCO Youth Day on Monday, Sept. 13.  All pro anglers will visit schools and share their fishing stories and life-lessons.  Nearly 2,000 youngsters will be impacted directly, and thousands more at the festivities.  Kids will also receive 500 free Plano tackle boxes and 1,000 Shakespeare spinning rods and reels.  

         Of course, those fans not able to attend the afternoon weigh-ins (beginning at 4 p.m. daily) may follow the action on the Mercury Real-Time Scoreboard at www.professionalwalleyetrail.com.    

     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 sponsors include: Mercury Marine, Lund, Berkley Gulp!, The Outdoor Channel, Trilene, Optima Batteries, Realtree, MotorGuide, Mr. Clean, PowerBait, Lowrance, MinnKota, Frenzy, Gander Mountain, Blue Fox, Northland Fishing Tackle, Lindy Legendary Fishing Tackle, Coleman, Storm, Boat Buckle, Smooth Moves Seat Mounts, Kwik Pfyt, Beckman, Rejuvenade, E-Z Loader, Raymarine, Rapala, Matzuo, Pflueger, Ram rod holders, Drift Control, Aqua-Vu, Plano, Stowmaster.net, Best Western Franklin Square Inn (906-487-1700), Keweenaw CVB (800-338-7982), UPPCO, Moyle Construction and Martineau & Morris Contracting.

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