PWT Hudson, WI
St. Croix & Mississippi Rivers
Championship Shootout Oct. 18, 2008
Story and Photos by Juls
PWT Championship One Day Shootout Starts Today!
The start of today's one day shootout was delayed for almost an hour, due to thick fog hanging over the warmer waters of the St. Croix River.
There was a "little frost on the pumpkin" this morning as the PWT Pros picked up their Observers at the ramp. Observers will be allowed to net fish, and drive the boat through no wake zones, so their Pros can take care of anything that they need to take care of, like checking on the health of the fish in their livewells, etc., but they are not allowed to do anything else in the boat today...other than "observe".
A tinge of excitement hung in the air also, as the anglers readied themselves for a all or nothing event. The winner will take home a cool $50,000.00, while the rest of the field will each take home 750.00.
Some felt confident that their big fish have moved in and will bite today, while others who did not do so well the past three days felt it was a "good day to go fishing".
I spoke with several anglers this morning to get their thoughts on the one day event...how they have been catching their fish...and what they expected to do today. The following is a hodge-podge of their replies:
Johnnie Candle: Well, I wish I would have done a lot better the last three days to give me a lot more confidence! The weather is going to change, and it looks like we're going to have a shortened day, because that fog looks pretty thick out there right now, and I'm going to stick to my guns and stick pretty close to Hudson, and fish the St. Croix.
I did get an 8 1/2 pounder on day one of the tournament. I had a 5 pounder and a 3 pounder on day two. If I get all three of those bites today, I have a legitimate shot at taking 50 thousand bucks home. So, I'll stick to my guns and hope it works out for the best.
Keith Kavajecz: It's an interesting deal. Obviously you're going for it all, because second place is going to pay the same as 50th, it sounds like. So, I'm actually not going to change that much, because I'm in places that holds big fish, and since I think it will take about 20 pounds to win this...you know, I'm going to need three good bites today. I've been getting one or two a day, and prefishing I had a day where I caught more, so I'm just going to stick with what I'm doing.
Juls: Now that it's just you in the boat and no Co Angler, what are they allowing you to have in the boat? How many fish can you have in your livewell?
Keith: I believe they are allowing us to bring in 6 and we weigh our best 5. They'll announce it when we get on the water.
(note: due to the delay, I didn't stay down there to find out what was announced)
Jim Carroll: It's a freeroll! You just let it rip! Get pumped up and go for it. I'm going to go absolutely for big fish. I'm either goingt o come in big or I'm going to come in with nothing. So, I'm just going to let it rip!
Gary Parsons: (He starts with some gutteral exasperated shooshing sound as he rolls his eyes) This has been a little bit of a big fish tournament. Meaning if you get the right bite you can be a hero in a hurry. I had a big weight yesterday, just because of two bites that just kind of came out of nowhere.
I'm switching it up today though. I trolled the whole tournament which I thought would be good for a top ten, and today I'm going to do Nick Johnson's program...I'm going to pitch jigs all day long. It's obvious if you do get a bite, the odds are much better that they're going to be the bigger fish. Today we're down to one or two rods, and we don't have the help of having the extra rods, so...
Besides, I'm tired of trolling and I want to have a little fun! That's my plan.
Rick Olson: I'm just going for 4 bites...maybe 5. If i get 4, I'm going to do really good...and might win (he's wearing a sheepish grin)...if I get 5, I think I will win. There aren't going to be any "smalls"...they're all going to be large, if I do get them.
I'm going to Buffalo Slough and I'm trolling Shad Raps. Imagine that...(he laughs).
The past few days, I'd go in there late in the afternoon. The morning bite hasn't been any good in there. The guys go in there and they don't get anything and then they leave...then I go in there in the afternoon and nobody is left, and I get them right away. But, I'm going there right away today. If I can get one or two bites this morning, then that will be just a bonus.
Tommy Skarlis: Man, I am "jacked", I'm so excited this morning to be fishing! I got a dude by the name of Rod with me who is my observer...how can you be a bad angler or a bad net man when your name is "Rod"? Hopefully, he's handled the net as much as he's handled his "fishing rod"? (Laughter errupts all around)
You know what? It's going to be a great day. Everything is running great, and the beautiful thing about this is, I'm alive and it's fall and with the colors and the water, and the bluffs and the Mississippi River...there is no question that there is a God that carved out and painted a beautiful landscape for us to play and romp and stomp around on, here on the Mississippi River in Hudson, WI.
Juls:Can you tell me what you're going to do today, since this will be posted long after you guys blast off?
Tommy: I'm doing a number of things. I'm dragging Lindy Rigs and Jigs, but that's for little fish. Today, with 6 to keep and 5 to weigh, I'm going for big fish. So, I'm going to abandon that program and I'm going to focus on jigging with either double decker GULP!, which is a 3" GULP! Minnow on the bottom and bit off piece of 3" GULP! Minnow on the top...Or, a big double decker, which is a 4" GULP! Minnow on the bottom and a 3" GULP! Minnow on the top...And, I'm also going to be fishing with a GULP! Minnow with a real minnow riding piggy back. So, I've got a multitude of things I'm doing there.
I'm also pulling great big jigs on three ways with stickbaits, which we call "Dubuque Rigs", on top of the wing dams, or in front of the wing dams. So, I've got that program going, and I'm also verticle jigging in the main current. So, I've got about 3 to 4 different things to try today. So, no matter what happens with the wind, the boat traffic, the waves...the fellow contestants...I think that I'm going to be ok. I think I'm going to catch some fish and go home with 50 thousand diapers! My boy, Nick, is almost potty trained now, so I think I'm going to have to change that to 50 thousand dollars worth of college savings bonds.
We will find out this afternoon who will reign victorious in this one day shootout, and who will be taking home a big fat check for $50,000.00!
Join us here this afternoon on Walleye Central as we continue the live coverage of the PWT Championship.
The weigh in will begin at Lakefront Park in Hudson, WI at 4pm Central Time.
There is also the "Taste Of Hudson" going on at the park too, so come on down/up/or over to Hudson today, to celebrate the rich flavors of what this town has to offer!
Hope to see you all there!