The 2014 series kicked off with some exciting news…the middle event of the season would be filmed for season three of TGO-Tom Gruenwald Outdoors for an episode that would be part of three filmed in NW Montana. Tom has become a good friend of Mike and Chancy’s and was excited about doing an episode about tournament fishing on ice. Make no mistake, Tom could have chosen any of dozens of good tournaments held around the US, but he chose ours because of it’s reputation. And we were excited about showing him what it was all about.
Round 1 was held on Smith Lake and was dominated by “newbies” to the series. The mixed couples division rocked the event with Kim Barstow earning big fish honors, BARELY edging out two other big fish with a 1.47 Jumbo Perch! The husband and wife team of Matt and Anna McComb took top place, smoking the field with a weight of #9.82, with Smith Lake Champs of two years ago Ken Jarvis and Sol Wright in second and Chancy Jeschke and Adam Nelson in third. It was a great start to the year with great weather and some fine fish!
Next on the list was the event at Upper Thompson where the TGO film crew awaited to film the event from start to finish. The rules meeting/meet and greet the night before was very well attended and folks got a chance to win some gear that had been used all week by the crew as they filmed two additional episodes for the TGO show. EVERYONE was psyched and ready to get to it Saturday morning!
The weatherman got it wrong for Saturday morning, it started cold but became a fantastic day for ice fishing AND filming a TV show! Once everyone had weighed in, it was Wayne and Denise Schlegel claiming the top spot with a weight of #3.67, tying Travis Tveidt and Bob Muraoka on total, but winning by virtue of the biggest fish! Third place went to regular challengers and past champions Josh and Shane Stratton. Geo Johnson caught the big fish of the day, a #.96 pound beauty! Watch for this episode to air December 21st, 2014 on TGO Outdoors on The Sportsman Channel!
The final event held at Lake Mary Ronan was very near to being cancelled/postponed due to ice conditions. With a major warm up and rain/snow falling on the lake the week before the event, contestants were faced with 12-18” of slush and wet snow on most of the lake, and travel was horrible, no matter what mode you chose.
A few teams made the decision to sit this one out, but those that chose to participate were actually pleasantly surprised by the conditions. While certainly very wet and sloppy fishing conditions remained, the travel conditions had improved some and all but a couple teams were able to navigate wherever they needed to. With the season championship on the line with a close 4-5 team battle looming, it was one of the most exciting finishes in Perch Assault history.
The team of Jamey Curylo and Luke Bowles had an incredible day and took top spot for the day, and came from 5th place in the overall standing to take the championship. Matt and Anna McComb finished 25th but still retained second place overall and Adam Nelson and Chancy Jeschke turned their 10th place finish on the day into a third place overall for the season.
The big fish honors, as well as, second place on the day went to Aaron Penman and Darek Dygart who claimed a #1.62 jumbo and a #5.91 bag for the day. Third place for the day went to Tyler Frost and Jeremy Taylor who finished fourth place overall on the season.
The 2014 season marked the ninth year for the Perch Assault. It is recognized as the second oldest, continuous, competitive ice fishing series in the US. Every year, it becomes more and more ingrained in the ice fishing community, not just in Montana but elsewhere, and after the show airs this winter on TGO, we expect even more interest and participation from anglers across the ice belt. It couldn’t happen without YOU, the tournament angler and sponsors. THANK YOU and we will see ya on the ICE!