2019 Insight Brewing Team of the Year - Jack Thomes & Jeremy Schwanz

Team of the Year is another term for Best Fisherman.

To win a team of the year while tournament fishing, doesn't necessarily mean you win every event.  It means you are the most consistent.  Your good days are better than most teams good days and your bad days still put you towards the top of the field.

While watching teams fish throughout the year, there was one team I would pull up on and knew I would see fish being brought top side while I sat and talked to them for 5-10 minutes.  The plan was put in place throughout the days before and the communication on the ice was at a different level compared to other teams.

What depth did you pull that one from?  Heavy jigging or light?  Did it hit hard or was it a light bite?  We have our crappies - what time you want to move for gills?  So many questions that can decide your fate and your standings on a given day.  These guys work together and fish hard.  

It didn't matter if they were stacked up in the middle of a community spot or off by themselves - fact of the matter is these guys caught more and better fish than all of the other teams.

The best part is.....they are just getting started.  They came into the league at 19 years old and won Team of the Year.  Their sophomore season at 20 years old yielded the same results.  Consistency is King!!!  

When I handed them the wood engraved plaques for Team of the Year, I told them it takes three in a row to be proclaimed a dynasty and I'm sure they will be gunning for it in 2020.  But, that's next year - they have a whole year to enjoy their back to back wins.

The talent level they had to compete against this season was the best we've ever had in our league.  The task was no easy feat.  It was certainly earned.

Congratulations Jack Thomes and Jeremy Schwanz on another incredible year!!!

In their own words........

Jack Thomes

All in all this year was amazing, starting out on Pokegama, I pre-fished what feels like every inch of the lake and it payed off with a first place win! Jeremy and I were thrilled to start the year off so great! Then it was on to maple as I had never fished it I was nervous, we had found some quality crappies but did not have a quality gill spot. Tournament day we had a decent bag of crappies but only managed to get 2 gills that could make that magical 7 inch mark. Ending that tournament in 7th we were now tied for 2nd for team of the year. Going onward to North Arm Jeremy and I knew several spots from years past. After looking at a few spots with the camera we found the fish we wanted. Going into tournament day we caught an absurd amount of fish slowly culling all day and building up a stronger bag. Getting 2nd in that tournament bumped us to 1st for team of the year. Lastly, Big Marine - I feel like I have always struggled with this lake and the snow did not help.  Pre-fishing was difficult but we found crappies and gills together. Come to the tournament, we stayed in the same spot most of the day, lucky we were able to get a full bag of 7 crappies and 8 gills. As we got 4th place -it was enough for us to win team of the year! 
Team Of The Year
Being able to get Team of the Year is an absolute honor. I have always looked up to other people in this league - always learning things and taking in more and more knowledge. I’ve always thought the only fisherman I want to be better than is the one I was yesterday. It’s not just about winning, being able to be in a league of guys that I can call my friends is a blessing in it self, everyone always has a smile and everyone is rooting each other on. The continued camaraderie  is unbelievable and I thank you all for that. I can’t wait till next season!
Jeremy Schwanz
Well this season was different than previous years of tournament fishing.  We started the season with a first place on Pokegama and brought some hardware home. Maple was a struggle to find big enough gills and walked away with 7th, congrats Paul and Evan with a 1st place. North arm was fun, we held on to T.O.Y by placing 2nd, congrats Tim and Mark again on dragging back that monster slab placing them in 1st.  And Big Marine, that was a mind game trying to find crappies, we placed 4th which kept us on the board for Team of the Year, congrats Neil and Chris on placing 1st on their home lake. We searched and searched for the large suspended schools of fish in deeper water but really no matter what situation this year we only fished shallow. Even though there wasn’t as many weeds as there were back in previous years. But, one of the key factors was to hole hop to search for the pods of fish. Another is communication with my partner if the fish are reacting different then the ones I’m working, what depth they’ll strike at, what we should start out with either meat or plastic. The day before the event, we always come up with a game plan about where to start, how long we should stay at that spot until we move if we have to if it’s not producing the quality of fish we need. I enjoy fishing MN Made, everyone in the league is civil with each other, if someone asks for advice about anything there’s always someone that’s willing to help out whether it be towing someone back to the launch, unloading, borrowing tools or asking for some techniques about where to locate fish or how you’re catching them. The rules are pretty simple, I don’t think there’s anything that needs to be changed. 
Team of the Year, wow I’m kinda short on words about that. It means a lot to me towards reaching goals in life. When I was younger I’ve always wanted to do tournament fishing and try to be the one of the best. And I feel starting in leagues is the way to make it there by making a title and putting yourself out there and just keeps moving me forward to chase my dream. And so I’m just gonna keep doing what I do best and that is fishing.
Asked what his dream is - Jeremy's response was:
I want to make a career becoming a professional angler. Kinda slow I know, but it’s what I’ve always wanted to do.  Or run a guiding business.
Congrats again.  2020 is right around the corner and "The Boys" will be the team to beat once again.  With a 3rd straight title, the nickname may be changed to "The Men".  
Not to mention they can enjoy the beers provided to Team of the Year by our new sponsor - Insight Brewing.

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