There are some awesome things happening on the AIM Professional Walleye Series this year and as the anglers get ready to compete at the Oconto event on July 20-22, 2012 they’ll be in for a very unique and special approach to walleye fishing.
New this year and exclusively for the Oconto event, AIM is introducing an exciting format called “The Pro Team Challenge”. Each boat will have three anglers instead of two. A two person pro team will draw a different co-angler each day, allowing for six rods instead of four.
The “Pro Team Challenge” format will provide many opportunities not previously available for a wide variety of anglers. In terms of approach and payouts, this new format will fit perfectly into what a Touring Pro/Co looks for and also what Team anglers hope to see.
Full-Time AIM Angler Chase Parsons is extremely excited for the possibilities of the Pro Team Concept going into the future. Chase explains by saying, “This format will allow many more anglers to experience the AIM C-R-R weigh-in system, which in my opinion is hands down the best tournament format around. In this instance, on Green Bay, anglers would previously have to deal with no cull regulations, and with C-R-R there are absolutely no decisions to be made on which fish to keep. Catch fish all day, put them on the card and check your longest 7 at the end!”
Chase Parsons is from the Green Bay area and he looks forward to seeing a bunch of “new blood” and local anglers enter this event because of the Pro Team Format. Chase says, “When Brett King brought this format to us last fall, everyone on the AIM Advisory Council agreed that Green Bay needed to be the kickoff for this great idea. There are an unbelievable amount of phenomenal Team Format anglers from this area, of which we are really trying to appeal to with the Pro Team Format. These anglers can compete on a body of water familiar to many anglers, alongside their normal partner for other team events. It’s the comfort factor and we’re trying to make it as easy as possible for these anglers to choose to fish an AIM event. C-R-R will catch on, even more so, as we can continue to attract new anglers.”
Chase continues by saying, “Any anglers who are used to fishing regular Pro/Co events will be pleasantly surprised at how many of the anglers are viewing this format. I’ll treat this event as any other Pro/Co tournament I have ever fished. I’ll cover the entry fees and expenses alone and hopefully collect a nice big check at the end! However, now I’ll get to fish this event with a good friend all three days (Mike Vorderstrasse) plus I’ll have a different Co-Angler in the boat each day. This will all allow for a fantastic time in the boat and the use of 6 lines in a major event. I can’t wait!”
By having 6 lines, the pro anglers will do a lot more experimenting during the day with at least 2 lines because they know they can still have their “confidence” lures and set ups working on the other 4 lines. That will make for more work on the part of the entire 3 man team, but should also result in allowing the anglers to more quickly adjust to changes the walleyes make. As Chase explains, “There will be a lot more reeling in and letting out just to change a lure, color or fishing depth, so all of us in the boat will be staying busy – not to mention all the triple headers I intend to get!”
Co-Anglers will be randomly paired with a new “Team” each day and they will get an experience like never before in a regular Pro/Co event. Chase mentioned, “As always, Co’s will get to fish right with the Pro’s; now that there are just three anglers in each boat. Running six lines on Green Bay during a Tour Level event will be exciting on its own. However, from a Co’s perspective, I fully believe they will get a much better learning and tournament experience because of the Pro Team Concept. This goes back to comfort level, where each “Team” knows the other member well and will be more talkative in the boat. The Co’s will be able to participate in every aspect (clearing boards, reeling, measuring fish and taking photos) in a more relaxed atmosphere. I think it’s going to be a format that each Co-angler absolutely loves!”
Tournament entry fees are $1,200 for each pro team and $300 for each co-angler. Pro teams are competing for at least 100% of all pro team entries making it one of the most lucrative “team” events in walleye tournament history.
Based on the success of this first “Pro Team Challenge” – anglers could very well see more of the AIM Walleye Series events use this format in the future. Three anglers per boat instead of two, six rods instead of four—Oconto here we come!