(Sep 15, 2016 - Merrill, WI)
Anglers from the Central Wisconsin River Series presented by Minn Kota, Humminbird and the Stevens Point Brewery took on a sometimes finicky Boom Lake in Rhinelander. Boom Lake is a challenging fishery with good sized fish, both smallmouth and largemouth. The anglers were excited to have their two-day championship on such a great body of water, but the weather did its best to dampen their spirits on Saturday.
At take off time it was windy and pouring rain. There were no creature comforts to be had that day. Sunday turned out to be a much better day weather-wise with cool temps in the morning, but sun and little wind until about midday.
The challenge for anglers on Boom Lake in a two-day tournament, historically, has been to save enough fish for day two. The anglers who did that best would find themselves in the money. With rain almost every day for a week before the tournament, many anglers wondered if the fish they found in practice over a week prior would still be in the same places.
Thirty-five teams made up the field, with eight qualifying from each of four qualifier tournaments earlier in the year. The 2015 Team of the Year of Andy Dassow and Robin Pester also earned a spot in the championship, as well as the defending champions from last year, Darin Weiks and Shaun Weiler. One other team was drawn randomly to receive from those teams who paid for and fished all of the qualifiers. That team also received an “early bird winner” championship berth. Denny and Terry Strasser won that spot this year, as they were paid in full by the early bird deadline.
When all was said and done, the winning team was able, not only to have some good fish left for day two, but their day two weight of over 20 pounds beat out their 18-pound bag of day one. Tyler Jesse and Chase Vaughn were crowned champions with a total two-day weight of 38.64 pounds.
Steve Scofield and R.J. Waite came home second with 30.00 pounds.
Josh Kolbeck and Jeff Kurth took third place with 26.47 pounds.
Rex Hilgart and Wayne Dezotell took fourth with 26.36 pounds.
Andy Dassow and Robin Pester landed in fifth place with 24.69 pounds.
Larry Felten and Bruce Kohn were in sixth with 23.87 pounds.
John Bestul and Louis Chick came in seventh with 23.24 pounds.
Trevor and Amanda Mildenberger took eighth place with 23.03 pounds.
Nic Treder and Kris Webster took ninth with 20.42 pounds.
FLW pro Matt Stefan and his partner Shawn Kruzitski rounded out the top 10 with 20.22 pounds.
Anglers in all Wisconsin River Series tournaments are asked to bring non-perishable foods to be donated to the food pantry of the town in which each tournament is held. The championship anglers donated 251 pounds of food at this tournament to the Rhinelander Area Food Pantry. Series sponsor Crystal Finishing Systems also provided the pantry with a check for $100, as they do at every River Series event. Guy Hansen was present from the Food Pantry to accept the donation at the Friday night registration meeting.
Bill Clow from the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce was also present at the registration banquet to welcome the anglers to town and stayed throughout the evening to answer any questions the anglers might have about things to do, places to eat and other things about the area.
The championship concluded the season for the River Series anglers, but they are already prepping for next year’s schedule. Next year the qualifier tournaments will be held on the Stevens Point Flowage, Lake Nokomis, Boom Lake and Lake Mohawksin. The championship next year will be on Minocqua/Tomahawk.
The Central Wisconsin River Series presented by Minn Kota, Humminbird and The Stevens Point Brewery is also supported by these fine companies: Ranger Boats, Stratos Boats, Evinrude, Stacker 2, Stevens Point Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Crystal Finishing Systems Inc., Gander Mountain Rothschild, St. Croix Rods, Optima Batteries, The Rod Glove, Bassnut Lures, Tomahawk Chamber of Commerce, Solar Bat, LazerTrokar, Super 8 Hotel Tomahawk, Aquatic Arts Sport Shop in Tomahawk, The Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce, Rutt’’N Rod Outfitters, Trokar Hooks, BioborEB, Staghorn Archery in Irma, Secretweaponbaits.com, Rocky Brook Sinkers, Rib Mountain Marine, Frabill and Plano, Stik um Graphics,