How to Hold a Musky (and other info)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Muskie Anglers vie for boat package while helping out

Here's something that's got a nice prize, and is also for a good cause.

Last week I received a phone call from Gary Dew.

"Mike, I was hoping you could once again help me," he said.

Dew told me of a one-day muskie tournament he is organizing. The tournament is scheduled for Saturday, March 18, at Kincaid Lake in southern Illinois. The entry cost is $120 per two-person team.

But unlike other muskie tournaments, this competition offers no cash or other prizes for the top finishers. What it does offer for those contestants who enter the tournament is monetary relief for a family in need and a chance at winning a boat, motor and trailer.

Here is why Dew said he hoped I could help him.

"Terry and Janet Graeff, own the Top of the Hill Bait Shop in Murphysboro, Ill.," said Dew. "The Graeffs have been wonderful supporters of muskie anglers who visit Kincaid Lake and are well-known in the muskie community. "Their daughter Lacey is 23 years old and the mother of 4-year-old daughter Jade, and 6-year-old son Solomon."

In early December of last year, Lacey Graeff Caraway was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, a very rare form of abdominal cancer. This cancer is so rare, that very few case studies are available in treating the disease.

"Lacey has already had one surgery, enduring a very painful procedure that involved scraping her abdominal wall to remove the cancer cells," Dew said.

"There have been cases where a 5-year survival has occurred, but in most cases, survival usually last no more than 2-5 years," he added. "Lacey was recently hospitalized with an infection that caused swelling of her brain, and she has lost some of her short-term memory."

While Lacey does have some medical insurance, the deductibles, co-pays and cost of travel to and from St. Louis for treatments are eroding away what little money she and her family have.

Therefore, Dew is organizing a muskie tournament as a benefit tournament, with all entry fees, and proceeds from a raffle and silent auction to be passed along to Lacey Caraway and her family.

"In addition, I'm looking for product donations for the raffle, as well as cash donations to help underwrite the cost of an insurance policy for a special promotion for those entering the muskie tournament," Dew said.

Contestants in the tournament will not only be helping out Caraway, but should a contestant catch the Illinois state record muskie (currently 38 pounds, 8 ounces) during the tournament, he or she will win a 2006 Alumacraft boat, motor and trailer package valued at $13,200.

"Kincaid Lake is thought to be the home of the next state record muskie," said Dew, "and around the tournament time is when Kincaid's female muskies near spawning and will be at their maximum weight."

Dew is no stranger to raising funds to offset medical bills for the needy. In 2003, Dew raised over $17,000 for the Charles Williams family of Aurora. Williams was suffering from colon and liver cancer. In 2004, he raised another $12,000 for Brian Barron family of Rockford. Barron was diagnosed with brain cancer.

So I suggested to Dew that he start a raffle and I offered my services to a one-day guided fishing trip for two people on Geneva Lake for large and smallmouth bass this summer.

Donators to Caraway's cancer fund could receive one chance to win the guided fishing trip for a $10 donation, three chances to win the trip for a $25 donation, and ten chances to win the trip for a $50 donation. Dew liked the idea and said he would likewise offer a one-day guided fishing trip for two to Kincaid Lake to fish for muskies.

To those interested in entering the raffle and receiving a chance(s) to win either of the guided fishing trips, checks should be made payable to and mailed to: The Lacey Graeff Caraway Cancer Fund, c/o Gary Dew, 631 Haish Blvd., DeKalb, IL. 60115.

To enter the muskie tournament and have a chance for the boat, motor, and trailer package, entry forms can be found at or call Dew at 815-529-1159.

Outdoors with Mike Norris is heard every Thursday from 3-4 p.m. on WBIG (AM-1280). For more information on his fish guiding service, Mike Norris can be reached at


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