Al’s big walleye tourney coming to HudsonThe Professional Walleye Trail — one of the largest walleye fishing tournaments in the USA — is coming to Hudson! This year’s biggest, best and season-ending PWT tournament is scheduled to take place on the St. Croix River with Hudson being at the center of all the action.
By: Jim Bennett, Hudson Star-Observer
The Professional Walleye Trail — one of the largest walleye fishing tournaments in the USA — is coming to Hudson! Made famous by In-Fisherman (Al Linder), this year’s biggest, best and season-ending PWT tournament is scheduled to take place on the St. Croix River with Hudson being at the center of all the action in this nationally famous event.
It’s called the Lowrance/Optima PRO-AM and 2008 PWT World Championship Shootout as well as Angler of the Year event that will take place on the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers this October. The PWT PRO-AM series is presented by Minn Kota.
Local resident Michael “Mick” Howland, owner and operator of The Dry Dock, is the man behind the idea that is bringing the PWT to Hudson. Mick is friends with the former director of the PWT, Chip Leer, who liked Howland’s idea of bringing the PWT to Hudson on the beautiful St. Croix River. From there, Mick went to the mayor, City Council, Chamber of Commerce, local businessmen and local anglers, and everyone got onboard and supported Howland’s idea.
“The reality of it is we are invited to the big dance, and this type of activity could be an annual event,” says Howland. The PRO-AM will run Oct. 15-17 with the Shootout set to take place on Saturday, Oct. 18. All of the major national sportswriters, outdoor TV shows and local news media will all be covering the event with Hudson being the focal point for all activities.
Every angler who fishes has always wondered how well he or she would stack up against the pros because before they were pro they were just another angler. Some took the big step into water that could have been over their head. “We have applications for anyone who wants to fish the event as an amateur. You might want to get sponsors to help you with the fees,” added Howland.
For years Hudson’s Ed Scheele has been fishing the PWT and the FLW, which is the largest and most prestigious fishing tournament in the world, named after Forest L. Wood, owner and manufacturer of Ranger Boats. Scheele, who owns and operates Contract Admin Services in Hudson told me there are a lot of misconceptions about professional walleye anglers.
“I grew up fishing lake Erie where we used dipsey-divers and jets and we were successful using those techniques. But people on the outside looking in at the PWT and FLW would be surprised to know that there is a lot of shared information going on among the pros. Most people think the pros are out scouting and learning the water on their own and keeping it secret when just the opposite is true”, says Scheele.
“Sure the pros read a lot and spend time talking about ideas, water temps, seasonal movement, bait fish and such. But what most people don’t realize is that three or four anglers will group up, head out and scout out different areas using different techniques and then share information. I once found a spot where I marked all kinds of walleye and shared this information with a friend who then went out and won the tournament with the information we had. And that’s OK!”
One thing Howland shared with me is that there are lots of pro anglers living in this area and they will all be here, including Scheele. Also coming in with all of their big displays, crews and trailers are Rapala, Mercury, Yamaha, Suzuki, Yar-Craft and Lund boats, to name a few. ESPN, WCCO television and many others will all be here to cover the event as well.
All the pro anglers will be here a month before the event pre fishing. Howland thinks that anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 people will be in and out of town between the pre-fishing times, maybe a month before the tournament to a week before and right up through the tournament.
You might guess that Howland likes to fish. His favorites are bass and crappies but he is getting more interested in walleye fishing. I joke that anyone can catch bass, but walleye are not fished — they are hunted. Before you catch them, you hunt them down. Then you have to make them bite.
Anyone interested in getting registered for the PRO-AM event can stop in at The Dry Dock (715) 377-3625 and pick up a registration form from Mick, his wife, Barb, or Matt Pasche. You can expect more updates and news about the big event as we get closer to the big event.