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  • Updated: 09/13/03

  • Michigan Angler Andy Kuffer Grabs PWT Tournament Lead at Bay de Noc

        Escanaba, Michigan.....Walleye tournament pro Andy Kuffer, Fair Haven,
    Michigan, overcame adversity to take the day one lead at the Lowrance/Lund
    North Central Pro-Am today (Friday, Aug. 22).  The In-Fisherman Professional
    Walleye Trail pro slammed his Mercury 4-stroke 225-horsepower into a rock
    Wednesday, and spent the day before the tournament trading boats.  He met
    his brother at the Mackinac Bridge, and made it back the night before the

        He showed determination by heading onto the water and concentrating.
    ³After all,² Kuffer said, ³what else could go wrong?²  He trolled, as did
    many anglers, and put together a limit of two over 23 inches and three just
    under the Bay slot limit, for a total weight of 27.36 pounds.  His amateur
    partner was John Matchinski, Manistique, Mich.  They weighed the Miller Big
    Fish of the day, 9 pounds, worth at least $1,000.

        Kuffer is fishing his sixth PWT season, and in 20 tournaments has placed
    in the money nine times.  His top finishes are 6th, 7th and 9th.  He
    qualified for the 1999 Championship, and is working towards qualifying for
    the upcoming Mercury Championship in Houghton, another community in
    Michigan¹s Upper Peninsula.  That event is Sept. 12-14.  Kuffer has 32
    points to make-up for a Championship invitation and said, ³I will try to
    repeat tomorrow.²  

        Second place pro Bill Ortiz, Dodgeville, Wis., was third in the Angler
    of the Year standings, and moved up considerably because current Angler of
    the Year leader Keith Kavajecz (also last year¹s Champion), ended day one in
    98th place.  Ortiz and his amateur partner Herb Franks, Marengo, Ill.,
    weighed 23.57 pounds.  Pro Scott Fairbairn, Hager City, Wis., and amateur
    Larry Eaton, Blue Mounds, Wis., weighed 23 pounds for third place.

        Conditions were very mild compared to the final three days of practice,
    when strong southwest winds blew the Bay waves to three to five feet.  Light
    winds allowed anglers to travel and fish as far away as the Cedar River and
    into both Big and Little Bays de Noc.

        This was the first walleye tournament held from the Escanaba Municipal
    Marina, and with the assistance of the Chamber of Commerce, the Great Lakes
    Sportsfishermen Club, and many local volunteers, the first day weigh-in only
    took two hours.  A huge first-day crowd of walleye fans cheered the anglers.
    Days two and three, Saturday and Sunday, begin at 7 a.m., with weigh-in from
    3 p.m. to 5 p.m.  More than $300,000 in tournament and year-end prizes will
    be awarded Sunday.

            The PWT is an integral element of the In-Fisherman Communications
    Network 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
    Delta Chamber of Commerce 1-888-335-8264.

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