All Speakers

Brandon Palaniuk

Brandon Palaniuk, “The Prodigy” is one of the most popular anglers on the professional bass fishing tournament trail today. At the age of 30, he has accomplished more than most fishermen have done in a lifetime. From successfully competing in club competition, to earning a spot on the Idaho State Team, to making it to the federation championship, securing a tour card by winning the whole thing and now, Angler of the Year 2017. After winning the Federation Nation National Championship he's accumulated 15 top 10 finishes including four top 5 BASS Elite finishes in 2017 alone on the Bassmaster Elite Trails. He's advanced to the Classic eight years in a row including a second place finish on Grand Lake in 2013. Brandon is an approachable "rising star" and an outstanding ambassador to the sport.

James Watson

James “JMFW WORLDWIDE” Watson, is known for his quick wit and knack for jokes on the water. The real estate mogul has used his success in residential real estate sales to fuel his passion for fishing. As a self-made angler and former United States Army Drill Sergeant he equally enjoys balancing the competition and the business sides of the bass community.

His 2013 season was the start of his career as a professional angler. Although his venture began later than some, James has accomplished many feats since he began at age 38. 

From a B.A.S.S Open win to the Bassmaster Classic, Watson promotes fishing on a WORLDWIDE level. Additionally, James has qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup and the Texas Toyota Bass Classic during his duration fishing the FLW Tour, FLW Costa Series, BASS Opens, P.A.A. and Major League Fishing. He has also competed as a member of the US Bass Team in the Black Bass Championships in 2017 in South Africa and 2018 in Mexico. Bringing home the gold medal with the team in 2018.

In 2018, he received the Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship and Community Leadership Award per his involvement in FLW Community Outreach. He prides himself on his personality, often gaining him media attention, which positively promotes his sponsors. All eyes are watching where James “WORLDWIDE” Watson will go with his professional fishing career.

You can find James fishing Major League Fishing’s Bass Pro Tour, FLW Costa’s as well as attending charity events when it fits his schedule.

Jim Saric

Jim Saric is a Legendary Angler in the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. He is the Host and Executive Producer of The Musky Hunter television series, Editor at Large of Musky Hunter Magazine, and a seven-time musky tournament winner.  Jim has a monthly column in Midwest Outdoors Magazine, and is a contributing writer for numerous other publications. He has produced 13 highly acclaimed musky videos, co-authored the book “The Complete Guide to Musky Hunting” and authored “Muskies My Way.”  Jim conducts over 20 seminars annually, and teaches the University of Esox musky schools throughout the country.  Jim has over thirty years’ experience fishing lakes, rivers, and reservoirs from Minnesota to New York and all across Canada; and has boated more than 200 muskies over 50 inches.

Jim’s sponsors include YETI Coolers, Bass Pro Shops, Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, Ontario Tourism, Shimano, G. Loomis, Power Pro, Motorguide, Lowrance, Musky Mayhem Tackle, Joe Bucher Outdoors, Musky Innovations, and Stowmaster Nets.

Jordan Lee

Jordan Lee became the 3rd back to back Bassmaster Classic winner in 2018 joining Rick Clunn and Kevin Van Dam as the only anglers to accomplish this feat. Jordan will be chasing an unprecedented 3rd Classic win in a row in March 2019. When Jordan was ten years old he caught the fishing bug at his grandfather’s pond in his hometown of Cullman, Alabama, knowing at that moment he wanted to do this as his career. Years later, his parents saw a growing passion and bought him an aluminum boat to fish local tournaments. This passion has evolved into a very successful career for the now 27 year old. Fishing on Auburn University’s Team opened the doors and Jordan has taken full advantage of it. In 2014 he won the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Bracket Championship. As a pro, he has already collected 12 top 10 BASS Elite Trail finishes and fished the Bassmaster Classic 4 times, winning the world’s most coveted fishing tournament in Houston, TX (2017) and Greenville, SC (2018). He will now try to replicate these successes on the Major League Fishing Pro Tour Trail being launched in 2019. Jordan Lee is sponsored by A.R.E. Truck Caps, Lowrance Electronics, T-H Marine, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Plano, Ranger Boats, Carhartt, Yakima, Native Watercraft, and Mossy Oak. 

Oliver Ngy

Oliver Ngy is a self-taught angler from Southern California, he learned the values of commitment and dedication at an early age. Since then, Oliver has become a familiar face in the bass scene and is renowned for catching monster fish of many species with a specialty in double digit largemouth and 5+lb smallmouth bass. To learn more about Oliver and his fishing adventures visit www.YouTube.com/OliverNgy or his website, www.bigbassdreams.com

 

 

 

Bill Schultz

Bill Schultz lives in New Berlin and Sturgeon Bay, WI, and is a contributing writer for Badger Sportsman Magazine, Kayak Angler Magazine, www.lake-link.com, along with several other web sites. Since catching his first smallmouth bass in 1994, he has caught and released 22,500. His focus has been on the big waters of Green Bay in and around Sturgeon Bay, along with rivers and streams throughout Wisconsin. Bill’s popular talks at sports shows and fishing events have turned thousands onto the tremendous opportunities and excitement of fishing for smallmouth bass on lakes and rivers. Catching and releasing smallmouth bass and sharing his recipe for success has become a passion for him. Bill’s appearance is sponsored by St. Croix Rods and Jackson Kayak. 

Brad Richardson and Mike Pehanich from Get N Bit Productions

Mike Pehanich is a nationally known outdoor writer and owner of Small Waters Outdoors consulting and communications. He teams with renowned photographer and videographer Brad Richardson of Get N Bit Productions for the 2020 launch of The Pro’s Choice web series which will feature interviews with top national and regional anglers including the biggest names in the sport today and “The Pro’s Choice New Product Forum” with its highlights and analysis of the latest new fishing products. The presentation will be showcasing hot fishing products for the coming season along with surefire tips from top pro anglers in this preview of the Pro’s Choice multi-media angling network. They also can share tips on which technology to use, and how to use it, when taking photos or videoing your success on the water

Pehanich has been a frequent contributor to Bassmaster magazine and Major League Fishing and has bylines in dozens of outdoor publications & websites including Bait & Tackle Business, Bass Angler, Game & Fish, Outdoor Life, Kayak Bass Fishing, Bass Times, Great Lakes Angler, North American Fisherman, Cabela’s Outfitters Journal, In-Fisherman, Wired2Fish, Rod Crafters Journal and Fishing Tackle Retailer. He is a former editor of the Redbone Journal and a frequent contributor to outdoor television and radio shows and YouTube.

Entrepreneur Brad Richardson, founder and builder of several companies, has blended his talent for photography and video with his fishing passion to launch Get N Bit Productions and “The Pro’s Choice” web series, which makes its debut this season. His multi-media talents help companies’ market and spread brand awareness through artful visual presentation. Brad has passed along his family fishing tradition to his wife and their two daughters. You can learn more at facebook.com/getnbit/.

Brad and Mike are helping tackle manufacturers, marine companies and industry professionals to build brands and reach key demographics through modern day media.

Carter Wijangco

Carter Wijangco of Naperville, IL has had a passion for fishing since his grandpa introduced him to the sport in kindergarten. Carter was hooked instantly and has evolved from fishing with a hook and a worm to competing in tournaments across the country.While you may see other kids after school sitting at home on electronics, you can find Carter fishing at neighborhood ponds, tuning in his techniques for the next tournament. Carter's favorite techniques are flipping and frogging, but he has a wide skill set that is crucial in winning tournaments. In Carter's 4 years of tournament fishing he has had 14 top 3 finishes in local, BASS, and FLW tournaments as well as qualifying for the past two years for the Bassmaster Junior National Championship where he placed 1st last summer in 2018. While only being a freshman, Carter has competed in local adult tournaments and has won a handful. When Carter isn't fishing, he is hunting, wrestling, mountain biking, snowboarding or working on his Eagle project for Boy Scouts.

Cheryl Smith

Cheryl Smith, also known as OutdoorGirl, is a multi-species angler on both open water and ice. She has spent the last 8 years working in the fishing industry representing leading companies. Cheryl is a USCG Licensed Master Captain, has fished local bass tournaments on the Fox Chain O’ Lakes, is an outdoor writer and a regular contributor on Chauncey’s Great Outdoors on ESPN Radio AM 1000. Her passion for fishing and dedication to the industry has gained her much respect. It is apparent through her enthusiasm that she truly loves teaching others.

Dave Kranz

Dave has been the owner of Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake, on Rte. 176 and 31 since 1989. Dave says: “ I have the best job in the world…I get to teach people about hunting and fishing.” Dave fishes bass tournaments on the Fox Chain of Lakes System and the Madison Chain of Lakes and many other bodies of water in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. Dave will present multi-species seminars for local lake fishing.

Dustan Harley

Dustan Harley was born less than a mile from the Saint Joseph River and can’t remember a time when he wasn’t on the river fishing. He grew up fishing on the rivers of Indiana and Michigan and is lucky enough today to spend most days on those same rivers. He founded Ripple Guide Service in 1999 to give fishermen an unforgettable experience and is the only full-time fly fishing guide on the St. Joe system. He guides the rivers of Indiana, Michigan, and Montana for steelhead, salmon, trout, smallmouth bass, pike, and just about anything else that swims. Dustan has also spoken to fly fishing clubs from Tennessee to California. When not on the river, he can be found fishing with his children or designing new flies for the fish he loves to fool.

Geri Meyer

Geri was born and raised in the high plains desert of eastern Washington. Thanks to having an extremely fishy brother, she was exposed to fly fishing while growing up, but it wasn’t until a casual casting lesson in the Blue Mountains of Oregon in the mid-90s that her fly fishing passion was activated. Geri began her pursuit of southern Rockies trout while living in Taos, New Mexico, and ten years later (2006) she and her husband moved to the Midwest to open a fly shop and guide service. She co-owns the Driftless Angler in Viroqua Wi, and is currently a guide there. Geri is fiercely committed to not only bringing more women into the sport of fly fishing, but also to supporting other female professionals in the fly fishing industry. Geri started Athena & Artemis Women’s Fly Shop in 2015, and is fully committed to encouraging all women to engage in the sport of fishing, both fly and conventional.

Heather Hodson

Heather Hodson @northwestflygril – Founder of United Women on the Fly.  Heather is an expert at making anglers (especially women) feel comfortable and becoming a part of the fly fishing community.  Sometimes referred to as the “Middle Women,” Heather volunteers her energy and time to connect women, help start Women Programs and enables anglers to become more confident on the water.  Heather has dedicated her time to educate and inspire others. She is currently studying for her Casting Instructor Certification with FlyFishers International and has been teaching Fly Fishing since 2014.  Follow Heather on her adventures at @ripandhoppersadventures.

Jeff Boutin

Jeff Boutin is a US certified Coastguard Captain and fishing guide on the Bay of Green Bay. Jeff has been fishing for walleyes on the Bay since 1987, and currently spends at least 50 days on the water as a professional fishing guide. Jeff is the founder and President of a non-profit kids fishing tournament called Tomorrows Anglers. Tomorrows Anglers fishing tournament was just broadcast nationally with MidWest Outdoors. Jeff is an Outdoors writer for Badger Sportsman’s Magazine, his articles on walleye fishing the Bay of Green Bay can be read from March through August issues. 

Jeff’s sponsors include: Mercury Marine, Starcraft, SkipperBuds, Humminbird, Minn Kota, and Churches Tackle Co.

Jeff has been an avid fisherman his whole life, even spending 6 years as a first mate on a lake Michigan charter boat during the 1980’s. Since his early teenage years, Jeff has been primarily focusing on Walleye fishing leading up to his present guide service. As well as his guide service, Jeff has created a tackle company called Team-Outdoors, where he has designed his own unique fishing products. Jeff and his wife Karen who is a chef, have a an All-Inclusive service which offers first class fishing charters with lodging and gourmet meals at their Green Bay location. 

Jeff Miller

Jeff Miller is from the local region Homer Glen Illinois area. Growing up in Palos Park & Orland Park Illinois, he started BASS tournament fishing in 1991 and started to travel the country in 2001. He has fished many FLW events including BFLs, EverStart Series and a few FLW events from New York to Tennessee and thru the upper Midwest Great Lakes areas.   His specialty is SMALLMOUTH BASS and the Great Lakes.  He has also fished many B.A.S.S. events in the Midwest Great Lake Region, from Pro-Am events to Team events at home on Lake Michigan to Sturgeon Bay and Lake St Clair in Michigan. A few of his accomplishments and sponsors are below.

Tournaments Accomplishments

3-Time REDMAN Regional Qualifier(1996-2001)

5-Top 10 REDMAN finishes including 2 Wins

BFL Lake St Clair 1st Place(2001)

Big Bass BFL Regional-Lake Chautauqua NY(2001)

BFL Bay of St Louis 1st Place(2003)

Big Bass 2003 BFL-Gulf Coast Division

EVERSTART Championship Qualifier(2003-2004-2005)

Chicagoland Classic Champion(2003)

Chicagoland Classic Big Bass(2003)

Big Bass Mid-West Sportsman Classic-Kentucky Lake(2000)

Mid-West Sportsman Champion-Lake Michigan Division(2001-2002)

B.A.S.S. Federation IL Calumet River Open 1st Place(2005)

B.A.S.S. Federation IL Calumet River Open 2nd Place(2007)

Sturgeon Bay Open 5th Place(2005)

Sturgeon Bay Open Big Bass(2007)

US Anglers Choice Southern Lake Michigan 1st Place(2011)

US Anglers Choice Southern Lake Michigan 1st Place(2012)

Anglers Dream Championship 1st Place Lake St Clair(2013)

Anglers Dream Team of the Year(2007-2008-2013-2015-2016-2019)

Anglers Dream Championship 3rd Place Lake St Clair(2015)

B.A.S.S. Federation TEAM Calumet River 1st Place(2015)

Breast Cancer Open Lake Calumet 1st Place(2016)

BASS NATION 1st Place(Big Green Lake) 2018

FLW winnings over $28,000

B.A.S.S. winnings over $10,000

Pro-Am and Team Events over $50,000

SPONSORS

VEXUS BOATS – 2019/Present

LEE’s Global Tackle – 2009/Present

DEM JIGS – 2015/Present

G Loomis/Shimano – 2011/Present

MERCURY Outboards – 2015/Present

DOU Realis – 2016/Present

Ranger Boats – 2001/2019

BAG-EM – 1998/2005

CASTAWAY RODS  - 1996/2009

 

Jen Ripple

Jen is the Editor-in-Chief of Dun Magazine and the Executive Editor of a Tight Loop Magazine. When not on the water, she spends her time empowering women in fly fishing by teaching fly tying and fly casting clinics, speaking nationwide on issues regarding women in fly fishing and devoting her time to conservation efforts through nonprofits. A sounding board for women in this currently male-dominated sport, Jen has created a home base for women worldwide to connect and engage in the art of fly fishing.

Jerry Costabile

Captain Jerry Costabile is a Lake Michigan charter captain with 37 years experience in the business. He is the captain of the 35' Viking charter boat "RESOLUTE' out of the Port of Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Jerry is a competitive Pro Series trout and salmon tournament angler on the western shores of Lake Michigan. Jerry and his team are consistent finishers in the top 5 boats, with several first place pay checks to their credit.

Capt. Jerry was also been named Kenosha Sportfishing's "Angler Of The Year" in 2016, 2017, 2018. He also is a five time Kenosha Sportfishing's "Big Fish" award recipient.

Capt. Jerry is the creator and instructor of the trout and salmon school "Top to Bottom". This unique school give his students classroom instruction as well as on the water instruction aboard the "RESOLUTE".

Jerry is a past IGFA World Record holder in the 4# test line class with a 15lb. 12oz. Walleye caught in the Wisconsin River.

Capt. Jerry is a Pro Staff member and sponsored by; Grandt Rods, Yellowbird Fishimg Products, FireFlies Wi., Finn Tackle, Dreamweaver Tackle, Bloodline Tackle Co., Silver Horde/Gold Star, Lake County Watersports, Outdoors With Jerry and Nick Radio, Boathouse Pub and Eatery, The Lettering Machine Embroidery and Screenprinting.

Follow Capt. Jerry on Facebook under Jerry Costabile and JLC Outdoors. www.resolutecharters.com

Joe Henry

As a long time guide, licensed charter captain, and tournament angler, Joe Henry has made fishing a part of his everyday life. Joe “cut his teeth” on MN lakes and rivers and has guided and fished walleyes throughout the nation. Joe’s home water is now Lake of the Woods, which he has fished for over 25 years. 

Professionally, Joe has enjoyed a variety of executive leadership positions, is an outdoor communicator and a media member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. His professional background combined with his many fishing credentials lead him to his current role, Executive Director of Tourism for Lake of the Woods. 

Joe works closely with 60 resorts, area guides, and a number of stakeholders in the outdoor industry. He is an active writer, appears in outdoor TV shows, produces outdoor videos, digital media and speaks about fishing and the outdoors across the Midwest.

John Cleveland

John Cleveland began launching flies into the wind at the age of 10, and was immediately hooked on the magic and challenge of temping fish with the use of hook, feathers and fur. John’s “day job” as Marketing Director of Eppinger Mfg. Co. (Makers of the famous Dardevle Spoons) has enabled him to travel to and experience some of North Americas prime fishing destinations including Alaska and much of northern Canada and the Arctic. He holds numerous fly fishing and conventional tackle catch and release line class world records for Norther Pike, Arctic Char, Sea Run Rainbow Trout and Lake Trout in the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.

He has a passion for both Spoon and fly fishing as they are two of the oldest, most traditional methods of presenting artificial lures to fish. Marketing the world famous Eppinger Dardevle spoons has provided many unique adventure travel opportunities and quite literally fed his family for the past 15 years. Fly fishing is his passion feeding his soul with its wonder, and mystique for over 50 years. Spoons and flies are simply favorites, and he believes the most effective delivery systems to the magic world of fishing, using both when pursuing large predatory fish.

Working in the fishing industry as a Marketing Director, outdoor writer and seminar speaker, John enjoys the opportunity of sharing the adventure, magic and camaraderie of a sport that takes him to some of the most beautiful places on earth.

Kurt Kopala

After landing his first fish in utero, Kurt was destined to fish. While completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Physics, he found a love for computer programming. In 2010, he combined his passions of programming and fly fishing by programming a ‘web based, page turning’ app to display an online magazine called a Tight Loop Magazine. Today, Kurt is the Editor of a Tight Loop. As a Midwesterner through and through, Kurt believes the Midwest offers some of the best fishing in the world. The goal of a Tight Loop is to showcase the Midwest fishery. When not working to promote the region’s fisheries, you can find Kurt stomping, rowing or laughing on a local smallmouth stream or chasing fish in Lake Michigan on a fly.

Linda Leary

Bio coming soon

Mark O'Neill

Mark is an accomplished angler, guide, and marine electronics educator with years of on-the-water knowledge and fishing experience. His approach to fishing is more technical than most, but he also has the ability to translate that technology in a manner easy for one to understand. He presents numerous seminars and classes both on and off the water in the Midwest and Canada, with the concentration being how to use today’s technology to catch more fish.

The presentation will be Fishing Lake Geneva with Today’s Technology. Mark fishes this deep clear water lake throughout the year and he will be discussing the changes in habitat and game fish that are evolving this great body of water. He will also present a few of techniques and technologies he uses while scouting structure to locate and catch big fish throughout the seasons.

Mark’s sponsors include: Ranger Boats, St. Croix Rod, Cabela’s, Mercury, MotorGuide, Dr. Sonar, Lowrance, Navionics, Optima and P-Line. Learn more about Mark at www.structure-fishing.com

Matt Firestein

Captain Matt  “Catfish” Firestein owns and operates “Whopper Stopper Muskie Charters and Guide Service” on LK. ST. Clair. He starts with walleyes in the Detroit River in April and May then Muskies… June through December.  The Captain has fished muskies and been successful from East of Montreal to Winnipeg.   He has had many tournament wins . He specializes in casting, jigging  and trolling for big Muskies on LK. St. Clair and connecting rivers. 26 years of addictive Musky fishing behavior gives him a unique outlook on tactics that will help any angler in the pursuit of  giant fish in LSC or his local lakes.

Mike Dove

Mike Dove was born in Indianapolis, Indiana but at the age of 10 moved to Minnesota. This where he developed his passion for fishing and it truly became a part of him. Mike eventually moved back to Indiana where he graduated from Brownsburg High School and then immediately enlisted in the Navy.

After serving in the Navy, Mike moved back to Brownsburg where he began his career in law enforcement by becoming a Reserve Officer. Over the next 27 years Mike held every sworn rank at the department including Shift Supervisor, Training Officer, Swat Commander, Undercover Operations, Crime Scene Investigator, Detective, and Assistant Chief of Police until he was appointed Chief of Police in 2010. During Mike's career he had extensive training in a variety of specialized law enforcement including Tactical Command, Special Weapons and Tactics, Certified Crime Scene Investigator, Emergency Vehicle Operations Instructor, Active Shooter Instructor, Advanced Incident Command, and graduated from the 223rd Session of the FBI Academy.

Throughout Mike's law enforcement career he continued to fuel his passion of fishing by competing in Bass Tournaments across the United States while building relationships in the industry. Since Mike's retirement in 2016 he has been actively involved in the fishing and consulting industry. Mike ceased the opportunity to begin the Hero Getaway in 2012 to give back to the police officer, firefighter, and veteran community.  Since retiring Mike has fished the Bassmaster Opens, Costa Series and is now going to fish the Champions Tour.

Ralph Steiger

Capt. Ralph Steiger grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan chasing salmon, trout, and smallmouth bass. His love for the fishery brought him to the next level by becoming a United States Coast Guard licensed master captain. He guides full-time on the south end of Lake Michigan fishing both Indiana and Illinois waters. He is a multi-species angler that primarily targets smallmouth bass, perch, salmon, and trout. He is revered as one of the top captains on Lake Michigan by his clients and anglers alike.

Rob Manthei

Rob Manthei is a full time guide in Northern Wisconsin and owner of St Germain Lodge and Resort on beautiful Big St Germain Lake. Rob appears frequently on the John Gillespie Show, speaks to fishing clubs and at shows around the Midwest, and also runs several local fishing events in my area.  When not fishing multi species, with his focus on smallmouth bass, walleye, and his favorite, the musky, you’ll find Rob out in the Western states chasing elk, mule deer, or antelope. 

Steve Heiting

Steve Heiting is the managing editor of Musky Hunter magazine. He is a well-traveled angler and has caught big muskies from the northern-most musky lake in Ontario to as far south as Kentucky.

Steve is co-owner of the University of Esox Musky Schools and conducts seminars for sport shows and fishing clubs throughout the Midwest. Each year he serves as the master of ceremonies for the National Championship Musky Open, the largest musky tournament in the world.

He is the lead presenter at the first-ever college musky fishing course ever conducted at Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

Steve has written, edited or contributed to 25 books about musky fishing and has produced five musky fishing DVDs.