Tuesday, January 31st, 2023
Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

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Ohio pair trying to bring home top muskie prize

By Mike
Moore
Editor

Huber Heights, Ohio — An Ohio fishing team sits in fifth place
heading into the finale of the Professional Muskie Tournament
Trail.

Tom Dietz and Dave Foor, both of Huber Heights near Dayton, were
set to fish for the title at the PMTT championship event Nov. 4 and
Nov. 5 at the Fox Chain of Lakes in suburban Chicago

And Dietz believes the duo can bring home the hardware. The
rankings are tight at the top.

“We’re 23 points out (of first place) and that’s basically one
fish,” said Dietz in late October. “That’s how exciting this is
heading into the final.”

A native of Wisconsin, Dietz is the manager of the Huber Heights
Gander Mountain store. He opened that store in May 2005 after
moving to the Dayton area from Pennsylvania, where he also worked
for the national outdoor outfitter. Dietz’s fishing partner, Foor,
sells firearms at the Huber Heights store.

This year’s tournament trail is a return to glory for Dietz, who
finished third on the tour in 2000, the last year in which he
competed. He and Foor are teaming up for the first time this
year.

“Since I’ve been moving around with Gander Mountain for a few
years, I haven’t been able to fish the tour since 2000,” Dietz
said. “I’ve been here before, but it’s just been a little
while.”

This year’s tournament tour kicked off in April on Cave Run Lake
near Morehead, Ky.

“I caught a fish right out of the block (the first day of the
tournament) and we ended up finishing 13th and cashed a check,”
said Dietz, adding that there were 150 teams in the field. “That
kind of started us out for the year.”

The next tournament took the duo to Eagle River, Wis., in June.
They caught two muskies to finish in sixth place.

“That was kind of home water for me because I lived in Eagle
River for years,” Dietz said. “So, it was kind of neat to go back
and do that.”

Then, it was on to Lake Vermilion, Minn., in September with
Dietz and Foor holding on to fourth place on the trail.

“We caught a real nice fish pre-fishing (at Vermilion), but we
ran into some really tough weather for the tournament,” Dietz said.
“ … Only 11 fish were caught for the whole event.”

The shutout dropped Dietz and Foor one spot in the rankings,
where they stood heading into the championship. The muskie Dietz
caught pre-fishing before the Vermilion tournament was 44 inches.
Had that fish been caught during the tournament, Dietz said he and
Foor would be in first place heading to the championship.

“Trust me, I lost a little sleep on that one,” he said. “But, it
was still a nice fish.”

The top 50 teams from the original 150 will compete in the
finals. Top prize is about $20,000, Dietz said, and the tournaments
pay out through 15 places with the last qualifier earning $500.

“The unique thing with the muskie tournaments is that these fish
are temperamental in terms of tempting them to strike,” Dietz said.
“Not to discount the bass tournament guys, but if you can
consistently catch muskies on different bodies of water at
different times of year, that is truly saying something.”

Another difference from bass or walleye tournaments, Dietz said,
is that there is no transport of fish in a livewell. Catches remain
in a net at boatside until the angler calls for a judge boat.
Keeper fish are all based on length instead of weight.

“There’s no real stress on these fish,” he said. “They’re not
bouncing around in a livewell. They’re released right on the
spot.”

For the championship on Fox Lake, the minimum legal fish is 30
inches. Dietz said he’s never fished Fox, but it is known in muskie
circles as an up and coming lake that has been heavily stocked by
the Illinois DNR.

“This is a particular body of water that I’ve never fished
before just because of its proximity to Chicago,” Dietz said. “It’s
just not my idea of a getaway. But, we’re going to go up and
pre-fish a few days prior (to the tournament) just to establish a
pattern.”

Once the tournament starts, Dietz and Foor have definite goals
when their big bucktails hit the water.

“My goal is to double,” Dietz said, referring to boating two
fish. “If we can triple, that would be great because I think three
fish will win it.

“We’re going up there to win … Our goal is to have a couple of
Ohio boys show them how it’s done up there,” he said.

There’s also another Ohio connection in the PMTT championship.
Dave Grochowski of Cincinnati and his partner, Gregg Thomas of
Kentucky, were in third place heading into the final.

“So, we’ve got three guys from Ohio there trying to make a
splash,” Dietz said in summation.

Editor’s note: Ohio Outdoor News went to press prior to the PMTT
final but we will report the results of the championship in our
Nov. 24 edition.

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