How to Hold a Musky (and other info)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

PMTT National Championship in Antioch

I believe Antioch is in Illinois.....correct me if I'm wrong.

Antioch's going fishing with the pros

For avid fishermen, this could be the chance to land the big one.

There will be 50 two-person fishermen and women teams competing for a national title when the Professional Musky Tournament Trail lands in Antioch the first weekend in November.

Participants in the championship round must accumulate the highest number of points during four qualifying events throughout the year, each of which can hold up to 150 teams.

"Out of those, the top 50 teams from around the country will come to Antioch," said Jim Saric of Deerfield, operations manager of the tournament.

"I think its really exciting because it's going to be a challenge to fish on the Fox Chain at that time of year," he added.

Antioch and Fox Lake hosted the Professional Walleye Tournament in August 2005, drawing over 3,000 people to the final weigh-in.

The musky tournament will be run differently than the walleye tournament because the musky is a more delicate fish, said Claude LeMere, director of community services for Antioch.

"Thirteen judges will be on boats throughout the local lakes, and as soon as fish is caught, the judge will be radioed over and measure the fish for total inches," he said. This is instead of bringing the fish in to be weighed-in.

The fish must be alive to be counted.

LeMere said that muskies can range between 36 inches and 44 inches on average, but some local fishermen have reeled in muskies of over 51 inches.

The event begins Friday, Nov. 3, with a dinner at the Antioch VFW Hall to review tournament rules. Fishing takes place throughout the weekend. The awards ceremony will be held Sunday night.

Saric said the musky tournament will offer a unique virtual weigh-in.

"The judges will measure the musky and take a digital picture of it," Saric said, "and then during the ceremony, we will show the digital photo on a big screen and let the fishermen talk about it."

The top three lakes in the Chain of Lakes, including Lake Marie, Channel Lake and Lake Catherine, are known for Musky, Saric said. In a tournament, people can go down to other lakes.

First prize is a Ranger boat with a Mercury outboard motor and $10,000 cash, with a total value of more than $40,000.

LeMere said the Musky tournament has already generated national coverage for the village.

"Looking at the immediate response we've had so far, we've had a lot of excitement stirred here," LeMere said.

The sponsorship fee for the tournament is $10,000, to be split evenly between the Village of Antioch and the Antioch Chamber of Commerce.

The Village Board approved the expenditure, although Trustee Bob Caulfield voted against it and Trustee Larry Hanson passed on it.

"I am not against the tournament," said Caulfield. "I am just in favor of responsible spending, not 'we have the money, let's spend it.'"

He also questioned why Antioch was not working in partnership with Fox Lake on this tourney, as they did on the Walleye Tournament.

LeMere said that this tournament is half the size of the other, one that Antioch can handle alone.

Mayor Dorothy Larson agreed, and believes that the tournament will still benefit communities along the entire Chain of Lakes.

"There's an opportunity for any of the surrounding areas to benefit from this," Larson said, noting that there was no intended slight towards Fox Lake. "I would guess that the fishermen will get out to see more than just Antioch, that they will look at the whole area."


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