Phoenix crew defends title at Salmon-A-Rama
Written by The Journal TImes   
Wednesday, 19 July 2006 06:54

 When the crew of the Phoenix headed onto the waters of Lake Michigan early Monday morning, they were more than wide awake. They were chatting non-stop, incessantly talking about an array of topics ranging about their personal lives to their future plans.

But there was one topic that was off limits for Arnie Arredondo, Dave Scott, Tom Zapp and Jim Butterbrodt: the Humminbird/Cannon Super Sweepstakes fishing contest.

Of course, there was a reason for the crew’s silence on the subject. They won the Salmon-A-Rama event last year, and they weren’t about to tempt fate.

“We’re superstitious. Very superstitious,’’ Arredondo said. “We wanted to win this again this year; it was in the back of our mind.

“But you don’t want to jinx yourself. You don’t want to say anything because you know what happens when you do: All the good luck leaves you and you get a big taste of reality.’’

So, from the time the Phoenix crew started the Super Sweepstakes contest at 5 a.m. until it caught the last of the allotted 15 fish around 10 a.m., Arredondo and Co. refrained from discussing the contest.

Whether their silence on the Super Sweepstakes helped them is anyone’s guess, but it certainly didn’t hurt them. That’s because Arredondo, Scott, Zapp and Butterbrodt defended their title. And they did it in grand style.
The combined weight of their 15 fish was 162.88 pounds, earning them 312.8 points. The Leader, with captain Ken Pouldniayck, was a distant second with 298.62 points, and Prove It II, with captain Gabe Powers of Salem, was third with 292.92 points.

For Arrendondo, winning back-to-back Super Sweepstakes titles was indeed rewarding.

“To win this two years in a row is pretty shocking,’’ said Arredondo, who runs a charter boat business in Kenosha, Southport Charters. “This is a pretty good tournament. There’s a lot of good competition, so we’re happy.’’

Arredondo said he and his colleagues did the bulk of their fishing just north of Racine. They fished in waters between 50 and 70 feet deep that had 2-foot waves.

Arredondo acknowledged his crew’s experience from past Super Sweepstakes was somewhat of an advantage. Arredondo noted how last year’s winning total was 168.52 pounds. Based on that number and on previous winning totals, Arredondo and his crew had a solid idea of how heavy of a fish they needed to land.

“Ideally, we wanted to average 10 pounds per fish,’’ Arredondo said. “We exceeded that. We ended up averaging about 11 pounds.’’

Arredondo, Zapp, Butterbrodt and Scott collected $950 for their winning performance. The Leader earned $620, and Prove It II collected $520.
While Arredondo and his buddies were delighted about their repeat championship, they harbored a tinge of sadness. Kirk Pivovar of Kenosha, one of their friend’s and fishing competitors in SAR, recently died of a heart attack.

While fishing, Arredondo said he periodically thought of Pivovar, whom he had known since he was a teenager.

“We found out about his death yesterday and it’s hard to believe,’’ Arredondo said. “I knew him from when I was a teenager. It was hard not seeing him here today. He fished in this over the years; his team finished third last year.

“We’re going to miss him.’’

n There were two changes atop the off-shore leaderboard.

Chris Heibel of Dodgeville moved into first place in the brown trout category with a catch of 23.96 pounds. Heibel surpassed Ken McDonald of Kenosha, who had a 22.40-pounder.

Brian Olinger of Neenah took over the lead in the coho division with a 9.78 pounder, moving him just ahead of Kody Mrchant of Sturtevan, who had a 9.76-pounder.

There were also two changes atop the on-shore leaderboard. Tim Rumlow moved into first in the chinook division with a catch of 20.92, and Goran Batlak of Oshkosh is the new leader in the rainbow trout division with a 13.44 pounder.

Monday’s feature fish was rainbow trout. Batlak took honors in the on-shore division and Paul Isaacson of Sturtevant had the biggest off-shore rainbow trout at 12.86. Isaacson collected $100, and Batlak collected $50.

Today’s feature fish is brown trout.

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