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*****GNT CHAMPIONSHIP*****

First and foremost I would like to thank all of the valuable assets to the fishing world who helped with the fish! Alex Esselink, JOE D., Barry Narrin, Leonard Esselink, Dennis Beltz; Mich. B.A.S.S. Chapter Federation President, Tom Sokolowski and his BASS PRO SHOPS STAFF SCOTT, DENNIS and a huge thanks to Brian Belevender and Steve Griffen. Without the last two guys we could never had the live release that we had the last day, but I'll go into that in a second.! Closer to 400 than 300 fish weighed and 11 perished! The Angler's that had fish die on them were disappointed that they were unable to save the fish. GNT ANGLERS are the leaders in the industry as far as taking care of the fish! We had 5 boats lined up, 5 release tanks with O2 infusiors and pumps and about 10 guys working the fish to get them back to the lake. They were taken out to clean and cooler water where ZERO floated! The second day we had our weigh-in at BASS PRO SHOPS, Bass Pro Shops Staff and Tom Sokolowski ROCK!!!!!! Please release me and O2 tablets made the jouney to the store less stressfull on our most important resource...THE FISH. Brian and Steve showed up Sat. evening with a big stake truck that had a lift on it. BPS Staff loaded the tanks on a pallet with a lift truck then put covers on each tank and wrapped them with plastic for the short journey back to the lake. After we dumped the tanks into the lake we stood and watched, three fish floating. That wasn't bad I thought to myself when they started to swim on their sides I thought hmmmm, they might make it. The cool fresh water made the fish come around quickly and we had ZERO fish float when we left the release site.

"The food was the best that I have ever had at any tournament meeting" claimed by many of the Anglers. Well all I have to say is THANK YOU to some of the finest Chef's around! Without your expert handling of food we couldn't have had our Angler's now expecting this type of treatment all the time. Jason and Jeremy you're the best!

5 fish limit per day, 2 day tournament. Lake St. Clair and all connecting waters was the location.

1st place John Marchbanks and Jeff Roytek 41.48 lbs. and Big Fish for the Tournament 6.22 lbs (Smallie)

2nd place Klye and Dave Greene 38.59 lbs.

3rd place Barry and Terry Bucciarelli 37.06 lbs.

4th place Mike Chamberlin and Ricky Dixon 36.14 lbs.

5th place Hardy Tulgestka and Larry Zeiter 35.75 lbs.

6th place Jim Clauser and John Robiadek 35.59 lbs.

Highest weight of all "GREEN" fish (Large mouth) went to:

Craig Roberts and Marc Cicero 25.28 lbs.

Thanks to all whom have fished with GNT this year and a Special thanks to Grondins Hair Centers, Extreme Bass Tackle/ Combat fishing, South Street Tackle, ALL STAR Rods, Selfridge Bait and Tackle, Phillips Consulting, R.A. Manley and Associates, Standard Construction and BASS PRO SHOPS IN AUBURN HILLS/ TRACKER MARINE.

Doug Phillips
Greater North Tournaments[/SIZE][/color][/font]
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I would also like to thank the teams that showed the highest amount of "SPORTSMANSHIP"! You rescued anglers that were broke down, you turned the boat around to assist a team because you caught them out of the corner of your eye and you showed up at BPS even though you didn't fish the second day! You guys know who you are, and "We" know and see much more than you may know. You are GNT! Thanks

Doug
 

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That had to be one of the funnest tournaments I have fished (exceptions being any one that finished in 1st...lol). From the food at the banquet/meeting straight thru the final weigh-in when the winning team was given A CHOICE of their winning prize. As if there werent enough decisions to make!

A great job was done by everyone on the fish. With all the questions that were raised about the handling of fish and the distance to the weigh-in the release rate was remarkable. That STARTS with the angler's first and foremost. BUT it continues with the organizations involved and the people who make it run! Big Doug, Bernadette and Little Doug did an outstanding job, Bass Pro Shops and all of the staff involved were incredible. A big thank you to all of you!

The fish were amazingly hungry for us almost where ever we went in the lake. We had practiced in the St Clair River, Detroit River and just inside Lake Huron and Lake Erie. After not doing squat on Wednesday, the first practice day, in the St Clair River we went south to the Detroit River on Thurdsday. There wasnt enough there to convince us to run, so we just went fishing and the fish bit.

Once again thank you to all of the people that were involved in making the 2003 GNT Championship one of the best tournaments I have competed in.

Mini
 

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Like last year it was an awesome event. I just love competing against and fishing with the GNT family. Both days went about as smooth as any tournament I have ever been apart of. Considering the planning and execution that needed to happen for this event, I find this to be remarkable. The weigh-in at BPS was top notch and if anyone had any concerns about the health/care of our fish, I think they were quickly dispelled seeing how it was done first hand on both Fri & Sat. Everyone (GNT staff & anglers) involved deserves a pat on the back.

I've fished a number of tournaments this year. Both big and small and I can honestly say there was no tournament I wanted to win more than this one. I spent both days of practice in Lake Erie hoping to find the winning weight. Like, Mini on Wednesday, we really stunk it up in practice. Only we did for two days! I believe we caught 5 or 6 fish in two days! Based on this we decided to fish St. Clair/St. Clair River on day 1. We caught quite a few fish that were holding tight to structure. The only problem was they just didn't have enough weight (14.86lbs). With nothing to lose, we decided to run to Erie on day 2. Knowing full well that based on our practice days we could be going to BPS empty handed. Our first spot produced nothing and I was beginning to worry. Went to spot number 2, threw the marker buoy down and just waited them out. Ended catching 15 fish or so and culled a couple as we moved back to the Detroit river to bump us up to a little over 18lbs on day 2. The weather was the best I've seen in years and the fishing did not disappoint either. All and all it was great time on the water. And the best part of it all…..we can from behind to sneak past Mini/Donnie by 0.05lbs (32.99lbs total weight).
Scoreboard for 5 months baby!

I also just wanted to thank Doug for presenting me with the 03' conservation award. It truly means a lot. My passion in this sport has always been our fish, I never do what I do to be recognized or for awards but it sure was nice. Thanks again and anytime Doug, anytime.
 

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I just want to thank Doug, Bernadette and Little Dougie for everything they do for the anglers of GNT. This was our first year tournament fishing, and Doug and his family really made us feel good about our decision to choose GNT. First class all the way. Marke and I would also like to thank Doug for coming up with the green fish "bounty". We had no big fish, and figured we might come in with maybe 12-15 lbs of smallies per day. Not nearly enough to compete with the "big boys". So, we targeted largemouth. Caught 30+ fish each day and had a blast. And, believe it or not, we only spent one hour Friday in a canal. All of our fish came from the main lake. We just cruised around looking for isolated grass patches, and burned spinnerbaits for two days. (and man are my wrists sore!!!LOL). Thanks again Phillips Family. Marke and I are definately looking forward to next year.

BTW, there was something Marke and I neglected to do on stage Saturday, and that was to thank our wonderful wives. We never could have done this without their help and support. Thank you Kathy and Jill. You ROCK!!! (They put on a great crappie fry too! Mini, you should have come by for dinner!)

Craig
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone for the kind words. I wish you all would remember this.......GNT is yours, not mine. Remember the words of Barry, " Doug, Bernadette and Little Dougie can do only so much, it's up to us now to bring Anglers to the best trail out there". Your wants become reality with us.

Secondly, our release is 100% dictated by a few factors:

The first factor is that the anglers care about the fish. When they make long runs they stop many times to fill the livewells with fresh water and add more Please release me.

The second factor is the utmost professionalism given to these fish by our weigh staff! Mini and Donny are an absolute asset to our Organization. The speed of which they get this important task done is not matched anywhere within the tournament industry.

Third and last, is the continued work at the release tanks by the teams that are at the event. When there is room at the tanks, Guys move in and work the fish over. When there are too many hands in the pot, Anglers move aside to wait for someone to take a break.

Our ideas that were that were your wishs make all of our (All the GNT Anglers and myself included) events successful. The events that took place this past weekend gave us ideas to make a positive impact on our other ventures and in doing this, the FISH win!

This past weekend is the PAST! I'm looking forward to next year already, lots of ideas and changes. CHANGES???? Yes, you Guys have known me long enough to know that I'm not afraid to try new things, new things for the betterment of tournament angling!

Time for a break, well not a break, really I'm working on next years schedule and Championship and of course the sponsors.

Have a "Greater North" Day and GOD Bless everyone who believed in us.

Dougie, Bernadette and Doug
Greater North Tournaments
Faith, Family, Fun and Fishing
 

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I would also like to say a big THANKS to Doug and his family. I moved out here to MI one year ago and I was employed at BPS during last years Championship. I was immediately impressed and knew right then that I was going to fish the GNT the following season.

I don't believe that last years Championship offered a "Green Fish Bounty". I do however remember hearing lots of grumbling from the Wednesday night crowd.
"How can we fish an inland lake trail and be expected to compete on St. Clair with our lack of experience and smaller boats?"

This year Doug put a $500 bounty on the heads of Largemouth Bass. I honestly believe that this was an answer to last year's complaints and shows me that Doug is listening to the anglers and doing what he can give everyone a shot at something.

I fished the Wednesday night trail on Lake Orion in my 18' aluminum Tracker with a 90hp motor. I only fished St. Clair about 8 times all summer and I obviously was not going to make the long runs anywhere. Craig and I knew that we were going for the green fish bounty right off and as many of you know, it was a strategy that worked for us.

Craig and I were literally small fish in a big pond and I hope that our victory will inspire beginners to join the GNT or prevent current GNT members from shying away from the championship. It doesn't require a $40k boat to be competitive and have a lot of fun.

I also want to thank my wife Jill and Craig's wife Kathy for their continuous support. With out you we probably would have given up back in August when we didn't weigh a single fish for 4 weeks in a row.

I also have to thank the rest of the Anglers. I feel honored to have fished my first tournament season against some of the finest Anglers in MI as well as some of classiest people out there.

Thanks,

Marke
 

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Doug and Staff, nice job on taking care of the fish, I too was concerned initially, hats off to all of you !!!! Life's Short, Fish harder !!
 
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