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North American fishing Club and Walleyes Inc Free trial offer
  • Updated: 09/03/03

  • The Mercury Championship, with the best walleye anglers in the
    world, takes place Sept. 12-14, in Houghton, Michigan.  This will be the
    first time for the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) pros on the
    Keweenaw Waterway, the first time with stage festivities in the Michigan
    Tech ice arena, and the first time fishing for $1,000,000.

        After a grueling six-tournament series of high-stakes walleye
    events, the top qualifiers earned the right to compete in the Mercury
    Championship.  They are led by Angler of the Year Bill Ortiz, Dodgeville,
    Wis., who also has a personal goal.  As a Mercury outboard owner and Pro
    Team member, if he wins the Championship, it will be worth an extra
    $250,000, courtesy of Mercury.  Anglers of the Year have won Championships,
    but not in the same year.  "Yes, I'll be working hard, and have spent three
    days graphing and looking (not fishing) prior to the closed period," he

        Ortiz and fellow competitor Keith Kavajecz, Kaukauna, Wis. were the
    only two pro anglers to have won money in every tournament this season.
    Kavajecz is the number two ranked pro in 2003, coming off a Championship
    victory last year.  This field represents 34 PWT wins, eight Anglers of the
    Year, seven Optima Top Guns and six past champions.

        The Championship fishery includes some of the largest walleyes in
    Michigan.  Walleyes in the "teens" are caught every year, including several
    pushing the state record, 17 pounds, 3 ounces.  If that weight is broken
    during the competition, it will mean a $1,000,000 prize from Quantum
    Performance Tuned rods and reels.  If it's broken on day one, the winner
    will have to wait until the final person crosses the Ice Arena stage,
    because the award goes to the largest fish that exceeds the mark.  

        The Championship anglers will unveil the complexity of the 27-mile
    long Keweenaw Waterway and its two lakes, Portage and Torch, and Lake
    Superior's Keweenaw Bay.  Only a couple pros have experience on this system,
    so it will be "new water" for the 51-person field.  

        The stage show with music, lights and trophy walleyes takes place at
    Michigan Technological University's MacInnes Ice Arena.  A Saturday and
    Sunday Sportshow will be held in the adjacent Gates Tennis Center.  Many
    opportunities to meet the pros in one-on-one sessions and formal seminars
    (and a chance to fish with them on the VIP/Celebrity Day) will be held
    throughout Championship week.  All are free, and kids especially are
    encouraged to attend.  On Sunday, the first 1,000 kids in the doors receive
    Shakespeare rods and reels.  

        Media friends are invited to join the festivities.  The Upper
    Peninsula is loaded with great stories -- salmon, trout, smallies, grouse,
    history, ethnic and more).  To find out more about lodging and ideas,
    contact media coordinator Jim Junttila, 906-337-1866, or e-mail Jim at

        If you require more information including stats and photos of
    contestants, check the PWT web site, www.professionalwalleyetrail.com.
    Qualifiers come from 12 states (Washington, Oregon, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa,
    Illinois, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio)
    and Canada.

        The Championship schedule of activities follows.  Feel free to
    contact PWT headquarters directly, 218-824-2542, or reply to this e-mail if
    you have any questions.

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