Sean Pettibone

Sean Pettibone – WWA Board Member, 2017 & 2018
Fox Lake, IL


# years fishing WWA:
6 Years

1. How old were you when you started fishing? On what Lake did you get started fishing?

I started fishing when I was four, on a pond at New Mexico State University in southern New Mexico.

2. Who was your first hero or mentor in the fishing world?

My Dad taught me how to fish. Thank you, Dad! We spent a lot of time fishing in New Mexico and he visits me now in Illinois and we get out a few times a year on the Chain. We have also fished together in Alaska, Oregon, Michigan, and Canada.

3. How did you get started tournament fishing? And what made you jump in?.

Like many others, I saw the tournaments happening around me when I was out fishing. My neighbor knew a friend of his was looking for a partner and introduced us. We fished a couple of tournaments together and then he moved and my current partner and I finished that first season together.

4. What is your bread and butter, go-to tactic on the water?.

My go to is pitching jigs for Walleye.

5. Outside of competitive fishing, what do you do for your 9-5 job?.

I am President of a life-safety company and I am very proud to lead a team of people dedicated to keeping people safe.

6. What accomplishments are you most proud of in the tournament world?.

I have really enjoyed working with a great team to build up and improve the WWA. It is great to see how it is all coming together.

7. Other than the Fox Chain, what is your favorite body of water to fish and why?.

As long as a body of water has Walleye, I enjoy fishing it. I do appreciate the Lake Michigan fishery, especially Green Bay and Big Bay de Noc.

8. Outside of fishing, what are your hobbies? What do you do for fun?.

I enjoy spending time with my family, pleasure boating, and exploring new places.

9. What is your favorite tournament moment?.

We had been fishing one tournament and we were not doing well in the first six hours. We continued to change locations, lakes, and tactics and finally found a combination that worked and salvaged the tournament with five keepers in the last two hours.

10. How big was your best Walleye and what lake did you get it on?.

My biggest Walleye on the Chain is 27” on Fox Lake.

11. Do you have any special people you would like to thank that support your fishing?.

I want to thank my wife, Shelly, who puts up with my constant focus on fishing! Thank you, Mom and Dad, for teaching me to love the outdoors with our frequent camping and fishing trips.

John Mikeska

John Mikeska – WWA Board Member, 2017 & 2018
Genoa City, WI

 

1. How old were you when you started fishing? On what Lake did you get started fishing?
I believe my father was taking me fishing about the time i started walking! The first lake i ever fished
was Fish Lake in Volo, Il. while on a family weekend at the Fish Lake Camp Grounds.
2. Who was your first hero or mentor in the fishing world?
Definately my father! He was a skillled outdoorsman with patience. His sharing had tought me the
base fundamentals of hunting, fishing and the love of the outdoors which i carry to this day!
3. How did you get started tournament fishing? And what made you jump in?
There was a weekend that my son and i were Walleye fishing on Lake Koshkonong and a local
tournament was running…We watched the weigh-in and realized we could of won that day with the
Walleye we had caught! We signed up and never looked back!
4. What is your bread and butter, go-to tactic on the water?
There are several presentations that i enjoy depending on the body of water! Ok actually i admit #1
for me would have to be trolling!
5. Outside of competitive fishing, what do you do for your 9-5 job? 
Self employed owner Genoa City Heating & Cooling Inc.
6. What accomplishments are you most proud of in the tournament world? 
Learning new techniques and presentations on a new body of water is very rewarding to me!
7. Other than the Fox Chain, what is your favorite body of water to fish and why? 
Greenbay is my #1 favorite because it offers the opportinity to work a wide variety of presentations
and techniques throughout the year!
8. Outside of fishing, what are your hobbies? What do you do for fun? 
I Love being in the outdoors! Hunting is my other passion bow hunting, muzzle loader, chasing
whitetail, bear, turkey, pheasant hunting over pointers and flushing dogs and of course ice fishing!
9. What is your favorite tournament moment? 
I think the most memorable tournament experience was during an MWC tournament on Winnebago
on day 1 the bite was virtually non existent for us and day 2 we found active fish and weighed in with
a full bag! It was a big wow moment….
10. How big was your best Walleye and what lake did you get it on?
My personal best came from Greenbay 30+ inch.

Mike Baron

Mike Baron – WWA Board Member, 2018
Fox Lake, IL

1. How old were you when you started fishing? On what Lake did you get started fishing?
I started fishing as soon as I was big enough to hold a rod. I believe I began on Blue Spring Lake in Palmyra, WI or Lake George in Rhinelander, WI.
2. Who was your first hero or mentor in the fishing world?
Both my Dad and Grandfather
3. How did you get started tournament fishing? And what made you jump in?
My Dad and I fished a few Charlie Chain tournaments back when that was around and wound up taking First place in one. On the car ride home I was holding a couple hundred bucks cash… for spending a day fishing with my Dad!
4. What is your bread and butter, go-to tactic on the water?
Trolling – it’s what I’ve spent the most time on. I also enjoy pitching jigs, but there’s room for improvement in that department.
5. Outside of competitive fishing, what do you do for your 9-5 job?
I’m a Sales Manager for a technology company based out of Orange County, CA. We provide a real-time GPS Vehicle & Equipment Tracking Software to companies with fleet vehicles such as Ryder and the US Dept. Homeland Security.
6. What accomplishments are you most proud of in the tournament world?
One of my first tournaments, winning a Charlie Chain qualifier to pocket a few hundred bucks cash.
7. Other than the Fox Chain, what is your favorite body of water to fish and why?
I have had a few awesome experiences fishing Little Bay de Noc in November. Back in the day we used to get out night fishing on Lake Geneva – ask Joe Baron about his netting skills…
8. Outside of fishing, what are your hobbies? What do you do for fun?
Snowmobiling and Boating. I’m simple.
9. What is your favorite tournament moment?
Other than winning, seeing the WWA grow to where it is today is awesome.
10. How big was your best Walleye and what lake did you get it on?
Largest Walleye is just over 28” around 9 pounds on Little Bay de Noc in November 2013.
11. Do you have any sponsors or special people you would like to thank that support your fishing?
My Dad, Joe, and my Grandfather, Papa Don! It’s always an adventure when you’re in the boat with those two.

 

Joe Baron

Joe Baron – WWA Board Member, 2017 & 2018
Hawthorn Woods, IL

# years fishing WWA:
16 Years… wow, seems like only a few.

1. How old were you when you started fishing and what Lake did you get started fishing?
I started fishing when I was very young, maybe 5. My earliest fishing memory was fishing off a pier on the Fox Rive in McHenry.
2. Who was your first hero or mentor in the fishing world?
My hero was Babe Winkelman at a young age. The real heros would be my mom and dad who introduced me to fishing. I have great memories of day trips to Deep Lake with my dad and brother. Also awesom memories of fishing the Fox River off a pier with my mom (pic above).
3. How did you get started tournament fishing? And what made you jump in?
Brian Wilson and I fished a Bass tournament on Lake Geneva on a whim….. Took second place and I was hooked on tournament fishing ever since.
4. What is your bread and butter, go-to tactic on the water?
I love pitching jigs but I would have to say that trolling is the butter on my bread.
5. Outside of competitive fishing, what do you do for your 9-5 job?
Who has a 9-5 job these days??? I have been in manufacturing my whole professional career. For the past three years I have been leading the startup of a manufacturing company in Elk Grove Village, IL. We supply the aerospace industry with electrical connector pins and sockets, currently working on large projects for Boeing and Air Bus.
6. What accomplishments are you most proud of in the tournament world?
My first tournaments win with my son. I will never forget boating the 26” kicker walleye that wrapped it up for us. We had been stuck giving five 14” to 18” fish a ride in the livewell for hours.
7. Other than the Fox Chain, what is your favorite body of water to fish and why?
I like fishing Green Bay because of the quality of the Walleye.
8. Outside of fishing, what are your hobbies? What do you do for fun?
Other than fishing, I love spending time with my wife, family and friends. I also enjoy cooking, trying to perfect the wood fired pizza and honing my bread making skills.
9. What is your favorite tournament moment?
Making the right decision, started the day off trolling, beat it to death till close to 1PM with only shorts and maybe a slot fish to show for it. We switched gears to rigging an area and were able to bring 6 in. Not enough for a check, but close.
10. How big was your best Walleye and what lake did you get it on?
Personal best walleye was 32-1/4” 12.25 Lbs from the north end of Little Bay De Noc.
11. Do you have any sponsors or special people you would like to thank that support your fishing?
I would like to thank my wife Lisa #BEST WIFE EVER!

Casey Felling

Casey Felling- WWA Board Member, 2018
Libertyville, IL


1.How old were you when you started fishing? On what Lake did you get started fishing?
I was 8 or 9 years old, my grandfather would take me up to Mille Lacs and Leach Lake during the summers I would spend in the Twin Cities with them.
2. Who was your first hero or mentor in the fishing world?
My grandfather, he taught me all the foundational techniques, how to appreciate the outdoors and my role as conservationist.
3. How did you get started tournament fishing? And what made you jump in?
I first started tournament fishing in College in Missoula, MT. There were club fly fishing tournaments often such as a One-Fly modeled after the famed Jackson Hole Tournament, though on a much smaller scale. I also got into kayak fishing tournaments here in Chicagoland which I would highly recommend if you don’t have a boat yet. These tournaments are very well run and are a fantastic stepping off point if you are interested in tournament fishing. Tournament fishing made me look at the body of water I was fishing differently and pushed me to improve in every facet. I recommend it to anyone with a competitive spirit and lust for the sport.
4. What is your bread and butter, go-to tactic on the water?
For walleye fishing, my favorite tactic is pitching jigs with light tackle.
5. Outside of competitive fishing, what do you do for your 9-5 job?
I am a partner in a specialty food importing business. We source and import rare, prized ingredients predominantly from Japan and sell to a network of distributors throughout North America who then get those ingredients in the hands of the top chefs. It is very satisfying career that never gets boring.
6. What accomplishments are you most proud of in the tournament world?
Honestly, re-connecting with my tournament partner. He and I went to pre-school together and were friends growing up and we lost touch after college. His passion for fishing and appreciation for the outdoors rivals my own and no tournament trophy can supplant that.
7. Other than the Fox Chain, what is your favorite body of water to fish and why?
Probably Lake Michigan. That body of water has improved so much over the years and remains a destination fishery.
8. Outside of fishing, what are your hobbies? What do you do for fun?
Waterfowl and Upland hunting in the fall, dog training/testing throughout the summer when not on the boat. Golf when I can fit that in and the never-ending projects around the house.
9. What is your favorite tournament moment?
A couple of years ago, we found a late bite during a very tough spring bite and managed to boat 5 keepers in the last 30 mins of legal time. My partner had packed everything up, started the motor and was turning the boat around to head in while I fired off one more cast and hooked up with a legal fish and boat flipped it while he put the hammer down. It was a great moment, we were high-fiving and laughing all the way to the launch.
10. How big was your best Walleye and what lake did you get it on?
28.5” on Pistakee Lake

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