Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.



Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)


 2017 AWWS Mercury Marine North Dakota ‘Big Show’ Champs To Be Decided In A Devilish Way Starting Friday


They’re already there. In fact, some of the 29 teams that made it to “The Show” have been snooping around Devils Lake for a few weeks now, looking for that “edge,” any edge, that will lead to a podium spot in the 2017 AIM Weekend Walleye Series Mercury Marine North Dakota Championship, this Friday and Saturday Aug. 4-5.

And it appears that jigging, and cranks have the edge in the early positioning for those spots, and more than $13,000 in cash going to those who can get by all the obstacles, both natural and manmade, in this interesting lake.

Dennis Bense may be like a lot of the entrants. Sure, he’s fished Devils before. How about twice in the last 20 years, with the most recent visit when AIM’s second qualifier for this event took place in May. He and his partner finished 38th then. He was reached on his Mercury Verado-powered boat earlier this week, on Devils Lake.

“I’m like the least well-versed guy on Devils Lake in the championship,” Bense laughed. “From what I hear, it’s a different lake than what we fished.”

He means, he’s looking at a shallow water bite for game day. “I hear that the shallow bite can go, but it seems I hear everyone’s fishing Jigging Raps. There are tons of small fish, I don’t know how many I’ve caught, but a number. It’s just a matter of targeting the biggies,” Bense said.

“The leaders had 35 pounds of fish on Jigging Raps, and with the little knowledge I have, I would say using Jigging Raps is a good bet. Over the years, all the major tournaments always seemed to be a Jigging Rap bite. The fish are sitting on rock piles, telephone pole piles that are in the lake. The bad news, those eat a lot of Jigging Raps,” Bense continued.

“You can go through a lot in a day. It’s good for retailers. But I think the championship is wide open. Most teams in the last one went to Pelican (Pelican Lake), and now I think the fish are in Pelican, the East Bay and the main lake. It’ll really spread the fishermen out. Now, the good news is I have a fish on as we’re talking. But, the 16-inchers I’m catching aren’t going to do it. But, this is my first day out, so I’ve got a lot to explore.”

Lonnie Jacobs also has some experience fishing the clutter of submerged roads, farm implements, half-submerged barns and the like that makes Devils famous, and infamous. But last May’s tournament convinced him that AIM’s format is the best.

“Last season, I fished one AIM tournament at Devils Lake and we enjoyed it so much this season we made up our minds to fish the whole series. It’s the best format ever in tournament fishing, and whoever came up with it deserves an attaboy,” Jacobs said.

He’s looking at midweek to take Devils deep with jigs. But, maybe you won’t have to, he added.

“Just because it’s August doesn’t mean you have to go deep. It doesn’t look like we’ll have big winds, so we’ll be fishing deep, because there will be no water turmoil. If we get the wind blowing, we can move into the shallows, 6-12 feet,” he said. If the lake stays down, then going deep means probing 18- to 24-feet.

“Devils Lake can be a bugger if you don’t know the lake. You can catch little fish in 99 percent, and the bigger ones are harder to find. It’s not like Lake Sakakawea where the bigger and small fish intermingle. In Devils, the bigger fish are in their area, and the smaller ones are in theirs. It’s a strange one,” Jacobs said.

“We’ll be jigging to start and I know we’re going to pull crank baits deep. In one of those spots, we’re going to lose some crank baits, there’s no getting around it. A couple of other spots that are not wooded, we’ll have a clean pull, but one spot isn’t and we’re going to lose some.

Jacobs also is in the running for AIM North Dakota Team Of The Year, and hopes to improve his team’s current 11th place standing.

“Up until the last tournament we were in the top five all year. We started out with a 6th in Bismarck, and a 7th at Devils in May, but Sakakawea got us so we’re 11th. Our goal is to get into the top five in this final to qualify for the national championship. That’s what we’re shooting for,” he said.

“We feel really confident right now but on derby day anything can happen,” Jacobs added. He’ll be fishing Wednesday and Thursday, then “away we go on Friday. And, I’ll go out on a limb and say 50 pounds is going to win it.”

We’ll all know come Friday, when the field leaves Woodland Resort on the lake’s north side near Devils Lake, North Dakota starting at 7 a.m. Friday. Team registration and rules meeting will take place starting at 5 p.m. today at the resort. The awards ceremony takes place 6 p.m. Saturday at Woodland.

You can follow all the action including on-water updates at AIM’s Facebook page and at ProChattrr.

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™) is a unique tournament organization created and owned by many of the most accomplished and recognizable professional walleye anglers, along with others who share the mission of advancing competitive walleye fishing and making it sustainable into the future. AIM is committed to marketing excellence on behalf of its tournament competitors, the tournament host communities, and the brands that partner with it. AIM is also committed to maintaining healthy fisheries across the nation by the development of the exclusive AIM Catch-Record-Release™ format, which is integral to its dynamic events and unparalleled consumer engagement. For more information about AIM™, AIM Pro Walleye Series™, AIM Weekend Walleye Series, AIM sponsors and AIM anglers, visit

AIM Presenting Sponsors: Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S.A. and Warrior Boats, LLC.

AIM Supporting Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Nitro Boats, Navionics, Garmin, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, AirWave Pedestals, Off Shore Tackle, Vibrations Tackle, Pro Chattrr, National Fleet Graphics, Gemini Sport Marketing, Warrior Boat Center.

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