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  • Updated: 07/11/03

  • Tommy Skarlis Wins Third PWT
    Tournament; Lake Erie Flexes Muscles
        Dunkirk, New York......Tommy Skarlis, Walker, Minn., claimed
    In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trial (PWT) victory Number Three today,
    July 11.  He won the $63,000 first prize as the top pro angler in the
    MinnKota Northeastern Pro-Am.

        Shortened by windy conditions mid-morning on day three, Skarlis won with
    a two-day weight of 81.65 pounds for 10 walleyes.  When the PWT cancels a
    day due to weather, the objective is to quickly get all contestants to
    safety, and a weigh-in does not occur.   A light breeze at 7 a.m. grew to
    steady Lake Erie 20 mph southwesterlys in about two hours, with forecasted
    25 to 40 mph winds by noon.  Tournament director Charlie Moore called the
    event at 9:20 a.m., and  boats returned to Chadwick Bay Marina in Dunkirk,
    NY, or safe harbors.

        PWT pro and Miller High Life big fish winner Dwight Niemi, Woodbury,
    Minn., and amateur partner John Collopy, Ashville, NY, capsized, but were
    rescued by PWT pro Sheldon Meidinger, Bismarck, ND, and amateur partner Karl
    Ludeks, West Chicago, Ill.  Niemi split the $3,000 big fish money with his
    day one amateur Adam Fernell, Canton, Ohio.  PWT pro Dave Truett,
    Valparaiso, Ind., and amateur Kevin Gerdes, Fairhaven, Mich., won $1,000 for
    a day two 10.72-pounder.

        Skarlis found his fish less than 30 feet deep over nearly 90 feet of
    water, and trolled lead core line to take his lures to them.  Anglers used
    every trolling tactic imaginable to find walleyes as deep as 80 feet.
    Crankbaits and spinner/nightcrawler harnesses were on the terminal ends of
    their lines.

        This is the third PWT win for Skarlis in as many years.  He is the
    fourth PWT veteran pro to win this season.  Dave Kraft, Bismarck, ND, was
    less than a pound behind the winning 81.65-pound weight, and won $20,000.
    He placed second at the PWT event earlier this year on Lake Erie¹s western
    basin.  Kraft also leads the DeeZee East Division standings.  His day two
    42.66 pounds earned the $500 Gander Mountain Heavyweight award.  Amateur Rod
    Putnam, Grand Ledge, Mich., fished with Kraft and won a $300 gift card from
    Gander Mountain.

        Third and fourth place pros were Gary Gray, Oshkosh, Wis., and Ernie
    Olson, Foley, Minn.  They were within .09 pounds and .12 pounds of Kraft
    respectively to win $13,000 and $11,000.  The 2002 PWT Angler of the Year
    John Kolinski, Greenville, Wis., was fifth, for a $10,000 payday.   A total
    of $280,000 was paid to the top 40 pro and amateur anglers.

        The top amateur was Fredonia, NY angler Greg Linder.  He won a Lund
    boat, Mercury outboard and Eagle trailer 17-foot walleye boat package valued
    at $15,000.  North East, Pa. amateur Mike Baker place second and won $4,500
    in merchandise.  Other amateur prizes included $600 to Rob Marz, East
    Pointe, Mich, who advanced 53 places to win the Coleman Cool Under Pressure
    award.  On the pro side, Dan Stier, Pierre, SD, collected $1,000 for moving
    up 63 places.  Local tournament coordinator Craig Robbins with the
    Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau earned the PWT Key Award for his diligent

        This was the fourth tournament of the season, with the tour heading west
    to Mobridge, SD July 30.  The sixth and final qualifier takes place in
    Escanaba, Mich., starting Aug. 22.  The top pro anglers fish the rich PWT
    and Mercury Championship Sept. 12 in Houghton, Mich. where one contestant
    could win the $1,000,000 Quantum performance tuned rod and reel prize if the
    Michigan state record walleye is broken.

        Walleye fans everywhere can catch the Dunkirk and Lake Erie action on
    TNN, Sunday, Aug. 17, at 8:30 a.m. central time.  Special sections will also
    be featured the Sundays prior to and following that show.  The entire PWT
    13-week series is now airing.  News, photos, statistics, standings and more
    can be viewed on the PWT web site: www.professionalwalleyetrail.com.

        The PWT is an integral element of the In-Fisherman Communications
    headquartered in Brainerd, Minnesota, and PRIMEDIA, America's leading
    producer of targeted media. PWT sponsors include: Mercury Marine, Lund,
    Berkley Gulp!, Trilene, PowerBait, Realtree, Miller High-Life, Nissan,
    Frenzy, Lowrance, MinnKota, Optima Batteries, Gander Mountain, Blue Fox,
    Northland Fishing Tackle, Lindy Legendary Fishing Tackle, Coleman, Storm,
    Eagle Trailers, Raymarine, Rapala, Matzuo, Pflueger, Ram rod holders, Drift
    Control, DeeZee, Cotton Cordell, Seal Skinz, Aqua-Vu, IMCO, Plano,
    KeepAlive, Stowmaster.net, Quantum Performance Tuned rods & reels and the
    Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau 800.242.4569

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