2022 PMTT / Q1 Lief Labs Spring Shootout - Cave Run Lake, KY

Written on 06/01/2022


The Professional Musky Tournament Trail Opened an historic 24th Season with a visit to that venerable “Southern Capitol of Musky Fishing” … Cave Run Lake and host city, Morehead KY. Wild fluctuations in weather, water levels, water temps and spawn cycle made for some tough pre-fishing for the more than 200 anglers completing this event. But if there is any one thing we have also learned while following this group of ‘Hard Core’ Musky Hunters around the country some 20-plus years is that regardless of the adverse conditions, somebody always seems to figure it out, connects the dots and puts a fish or two on the board.

Shan Horsley of Tollesboro, KY. and Nick Adams of Camp Dix, KY, adept “Vertical Jiggers” with a proven record of worked in deeper water vertical jigging timber when Nick’s walleye flavored Bondy convinced a hard hitting, very clean 41.00-incher to join them in the boat Saturday and found themselves sitting at 4th going into Day Two. These veteran anglers weighed their options and unlike most around them found themselves unwilling to ’Ride or Die’, opting to change game plan… totally switching it up.

On Sunday they had decided to ‘Roll the Dice’ on throwing smaller, locally produced Burn’s Spinnerbaits up in Scott’s Creek. The gamble proved wise when at the end of a long cast Shan’s demure black/chartreus Burn’s spinnerbait became ‘Lunch’ for that much hoped for fish. A 35.75-inches impressive, tournament winning, KY Mountain Musky was slid into the net. This landed them in 1st Place, which also included the Recon Boats $1,000 Bonus Bucks and the Musky Hunter Big Fish Award for a total of $16,500.

2nd Place: Ron Haynes from Carol Stream, Illinois & Ladd Wildeson of Eagle River, Wisconsin, finished out off the lead Saturday, netting a meager 31-incher while splitting time between the lake’s two statistically highest producing areas: Zilpo Flats and Scott’s Creek. They chose to stick with it Sunday but soon found themselves second guessing as the time wound down with zero action in Scott’s, they moved back to the Flats. They hooked up on their second fish, a 38.5” on a Bulldawg to secure the second-place finish.

3rd Place: Fell to Day one leaders, Tim Smith of Ohio & Rick Simpson who also decided to “Ride or Die” with the plan that had earned them the lead to this point as did 2nd, 3rd, and most on the early Leaderboard… Yearning to duplicate even a smidgen of the previous day’s success, they worked hard to grind out just one more solid hook up and a shot at securing the Q-1 Win… and were certainly not the only anglers shut down and frustrated by the quick change in conditions brought on by the severe weather earlier that morning having reset the playing field....  they also blanked on Sunday.

4th Place: Brooks Hendrix & Justin Jackson had been right on the leader’s heels Saturday, just 2-pts out, casting white glide baits “super shallow” to cobble together the only other Day One Double on the Board, registering Musky of 31.75” & 35.25”on what Brooks called his, “Secret Bait”. But try as they might, the “Secret Bait” was of no help Sunday, and they could not advance.

5th Place: Joey Rozanski & Mark Gillich, were working white/shad jerkbaits, “Super shallow”, near bait they found staging between timber and shoreline to put the biggest Musky of the weekend on the Board, a healthy 41.25-inch Beauty that they wound up being their only fish of the event. While over in Caney Creek, Anthony Rumple & Andrew Deverich, casting a variety of Big Rubber baits in white/shad patterns tight to shore, put a sassy 39-inch fish on the board that earned them the TRUE GRIP BONUS.

PMTT Tournament Director, Tim Widlacki, acknowledged the Trail’s deep appreciation to our many outstanding Sponsors for both their continuing support and the important part they have played and are playing now in our growth over the past 24 years as America’s 1st and only; truly National Professional Musky Circuit. Leading the way with new, challenging, and innovative Formats, featuring many of America’s Top Musky Fishing Destinations; Highlighting Freshwater’s most elusive and challenging fish and the fast-growing Community of Extreme Adventure Anglers who give er chase. Special thanks to our Q-1 Event Sponsor, LIEF LABS and our good friends at MOREHEAD TOURISM. Please Welcome our NEW Official Boat & World Musky Championship Title Sponsor, RECON BOATS of IOLA, WI, MERCURY MARINE; CHAOS TACKLE; MUSKY HUNTER MAGAZINE, MOTORGUIDE and to all of our wonderful Hosts and Site Partners for their support ; EAGLE RIVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE; THREE LAKES AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE; LEECH LAKE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE; NORTHERNAIRE RESORT-THREE LAKES; LEECH LAKE TOURISM; and our entire  family of Contributing & Associate Sponsors. Please let them know how much you appreciate what they do whenever you get the chance… show them some Musky Love, returning their support when you can… they are a vital part our growing PMTT Family.