Kobriger and Zwick On a Roll
Two Wisconsin walleye anglers have been on a roll since they started fishing the MWC a few years ago, and they aren’t letting up yet. Now with two World Walleye Championships under their belt (2011 and 2013) and the Oconto MWC win in 2013, Tony Kobriger and Dan Zwick just won the 2014 Detroit River tournament with the Masters Walleye Circuit.
Dan and Denise Zwick of Wrighttown, Wisconsin have two boys, Dylan (18) and Derek (15). Working construction projects as a brick layer, Dan has 24 years with Oscar Boldt Construction in the Appleton area. From Chilton, Tony Kobriger is married to Tina and has three children: Danielle (17), Kelsy (13) and Bryce (12). The family enjoys the outdoor lifestyle around Lake Winnebago. With the Balmet Corporation for 26 years, a company that designs, builds and services paper machinery, Tony started out in the plant, and received a promotion to product sales manager a few years ago. He travels throughout the Midwest calling on clients and uses fishing tournaments to budget time on the water and to fuel the competitive juices.
After two respectable seasons fishing the MWC on their own (and finishing fairly high in Team of the Year standings – 4th and 8th ), some very good anglers running the paper mill equipment that Tony sold and serviced invited the up-and-coming duo into their network: Wayne Butz, Don “Freddie” Frederick, Steve Stack, Kevin Dahl and brothers Steve and Dan Bodinger. “We were definitely challenged by these guys to try different techniques, things we hadn’t focused on before,” said Tony. “When you surround yourself with good fishermen, good things happen.” Kobriger learned it is the little things that make a difference.
Teamwork raised the bar and offered many years of experience on other waters. “The guys had 10 to 15 years of experience on some of the rivers and lakes in Minnesota, places we hadn’t fished as much,” added Dan. “They took us under their wing.”
Tony agreed they were fortunate to be invited into such a successful team of anglers. “They took our jig fishing to a whole new level,” continued Tony. “We learned more about jig presentation, boat control and identifying current seams from all of them, but especially from Kevin and Steve.” Since then they have continued to ramp-up. “I study the current in the rivers and Great Lakes and water temperatures a lot now, looking for information we need.”
The two discuss everything, even if they might look at the same information a little bit differently at times. “I like to run and gun and Dan is a little more likely to grind it out,” said Tony. “Kind of like brains and brawn. We’ve learned to work together and now we organize our day like a baseball field, making short runs to set up in a different spot quickly, to keep our lines in the water as much as possible.” Dan thinks he is just as antsy as Tony.
“I never wait for fish,” said Dan. “If they aren’t going we just have to find them.” There is always a lot of water to work with.
“You just know that they’re biting somewhere,” said Tony. “We organize our prefishing so we discuss it as a big team in the evenings, laying out our maps and identifying who’s pulling what and how far back or whatever, and that helps us figure it out.”
“Our styles work well together,” said Dan. “And when it is working good like it has the last few years, it’s great. But we owe a lot of our success to our whole team. Without them we wouldn’t be where we are at, that’s for sure.”
“We try to stay calm and not get too crazy,” said Kobriger. “But we are looking forward to the MWC in Oconto and the National Team Championship in Green Bay later this year.”
Forewarned, field of Masters Walleye Circuit competitors, this walleye duo is on a roll.
Contributed by KJ Houtman