Verdict III reels in $10K for three fish

The Verdict III team won $10,000 in the Wellcraft Best of the Best on Thursday to kick off the Salmon Splash. Pictured (from left to right): Jeff Miller, Tim Pratcshler, Wellcraft’s Bill Barnes, Lance Jambeck, Rob Pratcshler and Jon Kruse of Door County Marine in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. (Matt Wenzel/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Fresh salmon prices out at around $8 a pound in grocery stores.

The market spiked significantly on Thursday in Manistee and the Verdict III team reaped the reward.

The Ludington-based boat reeled in 70.70 pounds of salmon for the $10,000 first-place prize in the Wellcraft Best of the Best, which was for the biggest three fish over two days.

“It was great that Wellcraft was willing to put the money in and sponsor this tournament,” said Verdict III captain Tim Pratcshler, whose catch worked out to $141 a pound. “It’s great to be able to go out and catch three fish for $10,000. We’ve won tournaments before, but this is definitely the biggest payday we’ve ever seen.”

It was the first time in three years that the event was held as part of the Tournament Trail’s annual Salmon Splash.

“It’s not rocket science,” said Tournament Trail’s Scott MacDonald. “Anybody can win with three fish in two days for $10,000.”

A total of 39 boats registered for the event, but only 26 weighed fish. The top 10 took home checks, with a total of $16,150 rewarded. Trollin’ Dirty took second place and $2,000 with 69.30 pounds and Blue Fairways earned $1,000 for third with 68.15 pounds.

Pratcshler said the biggest fish they caught Wednesday was less than 10 pounds, so the box was empty going into Thursday.

“We weighed nothing (Wednesday),” he said. “We went for the gamble and it paid off.”

Fishing just south of Manistee in about 50 to 80 feet of water, Verdict III landed a 22-, 23- and 24-pounder.

“We only needed three fish, so we were going for big ones,” Pratcshler said. “We ended up having three fish, back-to-back-to-back. That’s what did it for us.

“We got the right bites today. We caught those three in 15 minutes.”

The Salmon Splash continues with the Ladies Splash today, followed by the pro/am on Saturday and Sunday. There’s also a $5,000 prize awarded for the biggest fish caught in any event.

“There’s tournaments here for everybody,” MacDonald said, “not just the big boats, not just the pros.”


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