The 2007 Perch Assault ice fishing series came to a close, with one of the best events of the series. Today, all 43 teams that entered this event caught fish, and for most, the bite was on from the minute the first lure hit the water! By noon, almost every team had 10 tournament fish in their bucket, with plenty of "eaters" on the ice too. The weather was great, the bite was on, and our hosts, Mike and Meg, at the Lake Mary Ronan lodge took great care of everyone.
For the second event in a row, Tim Shattuck and Ed Slavin, "The Perch Whackers" took the top prize, with a 10 fish bag of 6.43 pounds. They were closely followed by Rusby Seabaugh and Bob Johnson in second place with 5.76 pounds. Andy Lefevbre and Allan Woller, "The DeIcers" took 3rd with a bag weight of 5.47 pounds. Perch colored Hali jig’s with droppers were a good bet today, but just about everything was catching fish.
The season points championship was a close coming into this round, with several teams having a mathematical chance at the top three. The Perch Whackers, by virtue of their three, top three finishes, took the overall title, earning them each a set of Vexilar’s "Cold Snap" parka and bibs and a $650 championship bonus. The second place championship team of Rusby and Johnson took home a Strikemaster Strike-lite power auger and the 3rd place team of Blackford and Adkins chose the Frabill Prowler Ice House as their well deserved prize.
Overall, the three event series was a resounding success and over $12500 was paid out to the over 150 anglers that participated. Many, many companies contributed over $2500 in the prizes awarded, to include Strikemaster, Aqua-Vu, Frabill, Vexilar, Berkely, Snappy Sport Senter and more. The Perch Assault would not be possible without the generosity of our sponsors!
The Perch Assault…Montana’s hottest tournament…on ICE!!!
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ICE-OUT ON ANOTHER PERCH ASSAULT SERIES - This weekend capped the 2008 Perch Assault series, with a tight race for the championship decided by literally one fish. Coming into the last event, Don Schaeffer and John Carpenter trailed the series leaders by 195 points or 1.95 pounds total weight. In the end, it was the first tournament that decided the championship.
At the Lower Stillwater event, Schaeffer and Carpenter lost a fish from their bucket during the long, bumpy ride back to the weigh in area. They only weighed in nine fish that day, and determined that their best fish, a male that pushed the one pound mark, had gone missing. At the time, it was something to kid them about, but it ended up costing them the title.
Trent Mendenhall and his stepson, 15 year old Kevin Loughery, led the field coming into the final event, and had a strong showing, taking second place for the day. Schaeffer and Carpenter were the first team to weigh in, and they smoked the field, winning the event with 7.37 pounds of perch (tying Mendenhall and Loughery’s Middle Thompson Lake event’s winning weight).
Tension was high for the rest of the weigh in, as anything over 5.42 pounds would guarantee the father and son the championship. There were several other teams with a slim chance to slip into the lead, but all eyes were on the series leaders. One of the last teams to weigh, they won the title by just over a half a pound, weighing in 5.94 pounds of fish. Schaeffer and Carpenter won the battle, (winning $900 for first and $728 for the biggest fish), but lost the war.
Trent and Kevin’s take for the day was $585 for second and $312 for the second biggest fish. Missoula’s Mark Sommer and Amanda Bielby, fishing in their first Perch Assault event, took third place on the day with 5.84 pounds, earning them $410.
The top three teams in the championship fight earned their places by strong showings in every event. For their efforts, Mendenhall and Loughery earned an extra $525 bonus, custom plaques, Champions T-Shirts and additional prizes for also being the top team in the youth division. Schaeffer and Carpenter chose a matched pair of HT fishing shelters for their second place finish. Third place overall went to the father and son team of Mike and Thane Melton who chose an Aqua-Vu Scout XL camera for their prize.
An average of 54 teams fished in the three Perch Assault events of 2008, vying for over $12,000 in posted payouts and big fish pots and $5000 in prizes, many of which were awarded by random drawing. 2009 promises to be even bigger and better as we continue to prove that the Perch Assault is…
"Montana’s hottest tournament on ICE"!
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2009 Perch Assault Series Draws to a close. The ice is off on another fantastic year for the Perch Assault. 2009 saw the addition of a new tournament lake, the first annual Masters Invitational and a new series Champion. The rewards were great for several new teams and veterans teams as well.
The first event kicked off the year at Smith Lake, west of Kalispell, MT. This lake has been recently regarded as a frustrating lake to fish, mostly due to a surge of hammer handle pike. Several teams opted to sit out, feeling that the perch fishery would no longer produce the kind of tournament winning fish that teams have become used to. Several teams did their homework and were well awarded for their efforts. The winning team of Jim Hoover and Ralph Johnson, The Fish Devils, stunned the participants with a ten perch bag weight of 6.63 pounds, fishing the same 3-4 holes all day long. They actually were not in their first choice of spots, as heavy wet snow and slush kept them from reaching their prime area. Bruce Sackett and Bob Poore posted a strong second place with 5.49 pounds of fish. Bob Hickey and Trent Young barely edged out Don Schaeffer and Jon Carpenter for third place with 4.67 pounds for the former and 4.64 pounds for the latter. Dan Muir and Dave Yarger rounded out the top five with a close 4.45 pounds.
Brian Kahler and Kirk Rasmussen ook big fish honors with a perch that tipped the scales at 1.28 pounds. Levi Jeschke, fishing with his Dad, Perch Assault co-founder Chancy Jeschke, won the youth division with one fish that weighed .74 pounds.
The second event of the series took place in February at Middle Thompson Lake, midway between Libby and Kalispell, the jewel of the Thompson Lakes Chain. Conditions on the day were perfect with solid ice, a skiff of snow and a picture perfect blue sky, with bright sunshine. 44 teams took to the ice and quickly spread out in all directions. The morning started slow for most, but it quickly became obvious that some teams had the bite figured out. In the end it was the team of Jamie Curylo and Kirk Lehmann, The Perch Heads, hat emerged victorious. Their 10 fish bag weight of 6.38 vindicated them of their forgetful day at the previous event. They also scored the big fish of the day at 1.08 pounds, earning them over $1500 in cash on the day! Second place went to Schaeffer and Carpenter with 5.97 pounds. Inaugural 2006 Perch Assault winner Wes Harapat, fishing with Ron Redfield, came third with 5.07 pounds.
Doug Bolender and Dan Smith finally put it all together to finish fourth and Shane and Josh Stratton, winners of the Masters Invitational, rounded out the top five with 4.27 pounds. Denise Schlegel, fishing with husband Wayne, won the ladies division with 1.07 pounds, but Wayne was the lucky winner of a StrikeMaster Lazer Mag Express auger when his number was called at the door prize drawing. Wayne and Denise have fished every Perch Assault and have had great luck with the prize drawings.
The last event again saw some great weather to begin with, but it turned windy and cold at mid point, which made for a bite that turned on and off for most of the day. Lake Mary Ronan, in Proctor, MT, is a favorite of almost all the teams who participate. It usually rewards most anglers with lots of fish, and for those in the right spot, some of the nicer fish to be caught anywhere in the area. Bob Hickey started the day off early with a 1.35 pound beauty that would hold as the top fish of the event.
Schaeffer and Carpenter, last year’s series Runners Up, bested the field with 7.12 pounds, earning them the top spot on the day, and the series championship. Tim Marsh and Jim Smith from Helena, MT were a very close second with 6.96 pounds and some of the nicest fish of the year. Thane Melton, who usually fishes with father Mike, instead invited his girlfriend Bayley Sorenson along, and they took third with 5.65 pounds. Bayley also won the women’s division, in her first ever ice fishing tournament. That girl is a keeper, Thane! Hoover and Johnson were fourth with 4.66 pounds and Hickey and Young finished fifth with that big fish of Bob’s the contributing factor there. Pete Jellar won the much coveted Frabill Magnum GT ice house in the drawing.
The runner up position for series champs went to Hoover and Johnson, with Hickey and Young in third place overall. Congratulations guys, you all fought hard, but Don Schaeffer and Jon Carpenter proved unstoppable this year. Their total weight of 17.73 pounds of perch caught in the three events was more than five pounds heavier than second place. After losing the championship last year by less than half a pound, they left no margin for error in 2009.
A special thank you to all 54 teams that participated this year. Your sportsmanship, camaraderie and skills make this series what it is. Of course, our sponsors make it all possible by providing the extra incentive and rewards for your hard work. Thank you for making the Perch Assault Montana’s Hottest Tournament…On Ice!!!
The Perch Assault sends a big thank you to Walleyes Unlimited of Montana; Flathead Chapter, Snappy Sport Senter, StrikeMaster, Frabill, Vexilar, HT Enterprises, Northland, Automatic Fisherman, Mo Fisch Charters, Brian’s Cenex, and Conoco.
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The Perch Assault 2011 “Ultimate Assault” on Lake Mary Ronan
I don’t want to wait until next year”… “The best ice fishing tournament I have ever attended”. Positive comments made by anglers at the conclusion of this year’s Perch Assault “Ultimate Assault” on Lake Mary Ronan. A single event this year, although expanded to a two day format, as the organizers regrouped after a pivotal year in 2010. The two day format was a hit and the event will be back stronger than ever in 2012, with a trail of 5-6 events planned to cover the state.
Fifty teams, 100 men and women, arrived at the Friday night rules meeting at Snappy Sport Senter in Kalispell. Eager to hear about how the organizers have adapted the rules to cover a two day format and excited to get back into full assault mode, they signed in, got their ID tags, and paid their money for the big fish pots.
Tournament Director and Co-Founder Mike Howe welcomed the anglers and began the meeting with a stern warning to those who might have ideas about ways to gain an unfair advantage…”I don’t want to have to spend my time thinking like a criminal in order to stay one step ahead of cheaters” Howe told the anglers. “If I have to issue a penalty, it will be severe, so please don’t put me in that position” The sportsmen and women in the crowd were all very supportive of organizers efforts to maintain a level playing field for all contestants.
Saturday morning saw all fifty teams lined up and listening to final instructions before the flashing light that signified the start of the day’s events. Once all had returned to their positions and were ready to go, Howe gave the signal and off they raced in the 15 below zero temperature. Some made a beeline for the far reaches of the lake while others were content to fish a little closer to tournament headquarters at the Lake Mary Ronan Lodge and Resort. It turned out that teams did not have to venture far at all to be into tournament winning fish.
A big fish was soon on the ice as the team of Tony Billsborough and Chris Gray landed their 1.46 pound event winner. Neighboring teams could hear the whoops and shouts as the boys had the biggest perch either had ever seen safely in their bucket. Several teams were slowly starting to pattern the fish that would give most of the teams fits all day as even those perch willing to dine were only barely sampling the goods. The temps barely rose all day and the fishing stayed cool as well. By the time the weigh in line was closed at the 2:00PM cutoff, it was evident that many teams had struggled.
A half a pound separated the top ten when all the fish had been weighed. Four teams in the top ten had their place decided by the tie breaking heaviest fish, the closest event in the six year history. Thane Melton and an expecting Baylee Sorensen won the event with a ten perch weight of 4.39 pounds. Aaron Tillman and Mike Disney were second with 4.05 pounds after winning the tie with Shane and Josh Stratton, former Masters Champions, by .03 pounds!
Chris Gray’s big fish held and Denise Schlegels 1.11 pounder took the second place prize for the day. Perch Assault Co-Founder Chancy Jeschke and his teammate Kevin Baily took a well-deserved fourth place with a weight of 3.98, again besting a tie by beating fifth place by another, slim, .03 pound margin. The stuff that makes the scale master very nervous!!!
Saturday’s prize money totaled $3,000 for the top ten, $1620 split between the top two fish and over $2000 in prizes awarded via drawing. Randy Moore of Big Timber won the StrikeMaster Lazer Pro auger and Ralph Albert of Kalispell won one of two Frabill Pro Ice House packages.
Sunday saw warming temps and the threat of snow showers, and as the teams took the starting signal at 645 AM, half of the field blasted off to different areas. The other half all seemed to follow Melton and Sorensen as they returned to the area that had rewarded them so well Saturday. The ice marshals were patrolling early again and reported several teams immediately into fish, and just as quickly, the bite seemed to die. It didn’t take long for several teams to already start to feel like it just wasn’t going to be their weekend.
But, as it sometimes is in fishing, the fish decided to cooperate and by 10:00AM or so, the bite was back on! As the first couple of teams began to make their way to the weigh in area, the fact that some larger fish decided to go on the feed became evident. While no record breaking weights were recorded, the 10 perch bags were definitely heavier for most teams then the day before. All but 4-5 teams weighed in with 10 fish limits.
Several teams significantly bested their Saturday weights, with the team of Jim Smith and Tim Marsh posting a fourth place, up nine spots from Saturday and Mike and Garret Melton improved to a fifth place, also gaining nine places. When it was all said and done, Thane and Bailey again outpaced the field, with a 4.33 pound entry and the second best fish of the day, caught by Baylee, a .75 pounder. Second place went to Shawn Meuli and Robert Ramsey who moved up 31 positions with a 4.30 pound bag. Third place went to Ron Redfield and Wes Harapat whose 1.17 pound beauty won them first place in the big fish pot and cemented their place in the top three on the day and overall.
Thane Melton and Baylee Sorensen were crowned Ultimate Assault Champions with a combined weight of 8.72 pounds. Their total winnings for the weekend exceeded $2800!! Second overall went to Shane and Josh Stratton with third overall to the team of Wes Harapat and Ron Redfield.
Congratulations to all the weekends’ winners and to all the contestants who make the Perch Assault, The Hottest Tournament…On Ice! We can’t wait to see you all again in 2012!
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Strong finish wraps up Season 8 of Perch Assault
After a very uncertain start to this season’s tournament series, the weather and ice conditions rewarded the 47 teams who came out to the finale on Lake Mary Ronan. And in a strong rally to close out their second year of fishing as a team, co-founder of the Perch Assault Chancy Jeschke and his partner Steve Hill won the event and the Championship by doubling the weight of their closest competitors.
The 2013 season got off on the wrong track, when the event scheduled for Smith Lake on December 15th, was rescheduled due to poor ice conditions. The second event, scheduled for Jan 12th at Middle Thompson Lake, was also swapped for the rescheduled date on Smith, so while the dates changed, the order of events eventually stayed the same. The tournament directors had their work cut out for them with keeping everybody up to date with all the changes, but in the end, everyone showed up at the right lakes on the right days!
A Perch Assault at Smith Lake was questioned by many of the 40 entered teams…”too many pike” and NO big perch”…were what many anglers said…and after the auger smoke cleared, some of the heaviest ten perch bags were entered and the single largest perch ever weighed won a fist full of cash. On a cold but mostly clear day, the team of Ken Jarvis and Sol Wright walked away with the win AND the big fish pot with a ten fish entry of 8.09 pounds and Kens big fish of 1.82 pound, his first BITE of the day. They also weighed the second biggest perch on the day and in fact, over a dozen one pound perch were weighed by the teams, more than would be weighed for the rest of the year. Smith Lake quickly became a favorite of many to fish for the rest of the season.
Other notable entries were turned in by eventual season runners up Dan Smith and Doug Bolender in second place, and third overall for the season Geo Johnson and Ken Varga coming third. Chancy Jeschke and Steve Hill finished in sixth, meaning they would be playing catch up for the other events
Middle Thompson Lake is usually the complete opposite from Smith, a deep water bite on a larger lake, with many places for large perch to hide. A lake known for larger fish over the years, almost everyone had the same results pre-fishing in the weeks leading up to the event…lots of small fish and very few pound plus fish. The 38 teams would have their work cut out for them…
The weather man thankfully got it all wrong on February 23rd, all the teams were expecting snow and high winds, but the day was partly sunny with very little wind to keep the anglers inside their shelters. On the initial round of observations, the first 20 or so teams were all struggling, and although early in the day, it looked as if the prefishing results were comparable to tournament day results, until Tournament Directors Mike and Cindy Howe looked in Brian Kahler and Wes Hobson’s bucket. Finally, a team with some quality fish!
As they continued patrolling and talking with other teams, it became obvious that unless Wes and Brian missed the weigh in, they most likely had a big check awaiting them! Although only one team failed to weigh any fish, some of the smallest fish and total weights to ever be entered in a Perch Assault event were added up, a stark contrast to the first event of the season. With a ten fish weight of FOUR pounds, and a biggest fish just slightly above 1.25 pounds, Brian and Wes walked away with the big check for 1st place, and an envelope of cash for the big fish. After a solid fifth place at Smith Lake, their win put them solidly in the championship hunt.
In second place on the day, with a weight of 3.33 pounds were Dan Smith and Doug Bolender, putting them in first place in the championship standings. Several of the top teams at the first event stumbled and the run for the championship was now within reach for at least ten teams. Pete Jellar and Stan Ross ended up third with 3.07 pounds, followed closely by long time Flathead Lake guide Matt McComb and his partner Chad Jassman and Keith Haverfield and Trent Young rounded out the top five. 2.6 pounds would pay tenth place and only two perch surpassed the one pound mark…Everyone was looking forward to Lake Mary Ronan and the final event of the season.
With 47 teams entered, the LMR event would see the largest purse of the year and over $3,100 up for grabs to the championship contenders. The top five teams were separated by less than 2 pounds and during the 5 days of pre-fishing leading up to the finale, some very nice fish were being caught. It looked like a battle between the top 5-7 teams would decide the championship and was certainly the top two team’s championship to lose…if either stumbled; it was anyone’s to win.
Almost 3.5 pounds behind the leaders, Chancy and Steve decided it was all or nothing and at the start of the event made a move to an area only a couple other teams targeted early. Half the field made a dash to the sunken island and the bay to the North West, while another 12-15 teams targeted the shoreline just south of the lodge. For most teams the bite came easy and early, while a few battled indifferent fish, suspended kokanee salmon made it hard for a few teams to get to the perch on the bottom. With temperatures in the low 40’s and forecast for the low 50’s, weather again would not be a factor.
For a couple of the championship leaders, it became clear that, unless they got into some much nicer fish, their chances for a title were slipping away. In fact, none of the top five teams could get a perch heavier than 3/4ths of a pound on the day they needed it most.
Meanwhile, across the lake and out of view of most of the contenders, Jeschke and Hill were on good sized, aggressive fish. A couple of solid one pound class perch early had them thinking “comeback” and that is exactly what they did. At the final weigh in, their 7.28 pound weight doubled the 3.61 of Bolender and Smith and was 2.5 better than Johnson and Varga, the only other championship contenders in the top ten. At the awards ceremony, it was all Hill and Jeschke, receiving just under $2,000 for the win and the championship, just .31# ahead of runners up Smith and Bolender and .82# ahead of third place Varga and Johnson. Smith Lake winners Jarvis and Wright took 4th place honors and consistent finishers Bob Hickey Jr. and Jason Mundel came 5th overall for the season.
Tyler Frost won the big fish pot with a 1.190# fish, just keeping Jeschke and Hill from getting ALL the winnings with their 1.096# biggest fish. Terry and Jacki Riley, in 7th place for the season, were awarded a bucket of prizes for being the top mixed couple. Join us again in 2014 for the 9th season of the Perch Assault, Montana’s HOTTEST tournament…on ICE!
The Perch Assault is made possible with the help of our sponsors. At every event, we award all the non-cash prizes via drawing, with tickets given to every entrant. There is always a “big ticket item” at each event and dozens of smaller value prizes. Examples of large prizes this year are: Frabill Pro and Headquarters ice houses, HT Polar Fire Ice Augers, Parkas and Bibs. Tons of prizes by Berkley, HT, Rapala, StrikeMaster, Frabill, Pete’s Tackle, Gardner RV, DePratu , A Able Fishing Charters and Tours and Snappy Sport Senter. Lastly, a special thank you to the Flathead Chapter of Walleyes Unlimited of Montana for providing all our trophies.
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