Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats Inc.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 15, 2022
Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)
AIM Leech Lake Qualifier Awaits Sunday, Setting Up Another Potential Monster Mid-40s Bag To Win
The weather’s looking good. The fish are looking good. And the chances that the 100-boat field launching for the AIM Weekend Walleye Series, Warrior Boats/Musky House Minnesota Division Open Sunday (July 17) will again be pushing several pounds north of 40 to win are also good, as AIM’s 2022 season marches towards the state championship in August at Duluth.
“The big mayfly hatch, which some say was a record, is on the run, and the fish appear to be back on the feed for us,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director. “That’ll make for some great Catch-Record-ReleaseÔ photos Sunday, and that $9,000 check will also make two anglers very happy. Teams have been on the water since Monday, so here’s a look at some predictions.”
Anyone on the water Sunday had better watch Brian Collins of Moose Lake, and partner Michael Zimmerman of Sturgeon Lake. These two won the AIM Quest For The Best in 2021, and Collins grew up on and still has a place on Leech. He’s predicting a good time Sunday. And you can read into that what you want and beware. They’ll be hunting ‘eyes in their Mercury 400 Verado-powered boat, with Garmin LiveScope in the toolbox.
Collins has ben pre-fishing since Wednesday, and he says, “the bite’s not bad.” You can also read plenty into that.
“We’re on the tail end of the big mayfly hatch, but the fish are still full of them. They’re eating bugs somewhere. There’s still a lot of bait in the lake, but the bite hasn’t been bad. I think the key will be that if those in Walker don’t go, you’d better have a backup plan,” he said. And, he said, his is definitely in the works.
“The reason I have a place on this lake is, you can fish it anyway you want. The fish out here move. We’re still behind where we were last year (due to the Midwest’s late spring), so you’ve just got to adapt and do what the fish are telling you to do,” Collins advised.
“Multiple things are working. You can rig minnows, use Jigging Raps or plastics, or power fish,” he said. Some also call it power corking. That means scoping the water with your LiveScope and honing in on winning big fish, then tossing a bobber with a chub or leech dangling below it.
“This lake is so diverse. You can do anything and a lot of it is working right now. You’ll have to be north of 40 to get into the top five, and you’d better be in the mid-40s to win,” he said. And, he reminds that there may be big honkers in Walker Bay, but they’re also in the main lake. You’ll have to find’em to have a chance, he said, and you can do a final read between the lines whether he has.
Things, however, haven’t been as apparent in the Warrior 198, (powered by a 225 Yamaha, with Garmin electronics in the mix) of Danny Burkholder of Princeton, who’ll be taking his mom, Linda, of Menahga, out Sunday. He hosted his father during a previous event and thought he’d better treat her. He’s been pre-fishing since Monday.
“My mom is my partner and hopefully we’ll get on the water and it’s not too tough for her. Maybe she’ll teach me a thing or two or pull my ear when I decided to do something stupid,” Burkholder laughed, so he’s happy that Sunday is supposed to be sunny and mostly calm. He’s also worried about the mayfly hatch, which he heard was a “record” and which broke just before he arrived.
“It’s been tough for us so far. But the fish we do find seem hungry. We’ll be pulling spinners or rigging with leeches and chubs,” he said. Once he finds fish, he’ll “power cork.” Crawlers right now are being picked apart by Leech’s “little piranhas,” AKA perch. Unfortunately, he said, he had an equipment malfunction, and all his chubs escaped, so he was heading back for more.
“It’ll definitely take 40 pounds at least to win it. On Leech, it always takes at least 40. Somebody is going to put it together. We can go find eaters all over. That’s not the kind we want.”
The kind all 100 teams want are waiting somewhere on Leech for them to find come Sunday from Horseshoe Bay Lodge in Walker. After the online registration and rules meeting at 7 p.m. Saturday, boats arrive for inspection at 5:30 a.m., with the first wave departing at 7 a.m. Boats are due back at check-in starting at 3 p.m., and the countdown to see who gathers in that check and those Yamaha Team Of The Year points starts at 5 p.m. at Horseshoe Bay Lodge.
If you want to have a great time and challenge yourself at the same time, go to aimfishing.com to register and be part of the walleye fishing’s most lucrative affordable walleye series.
You know you want to. You know you can.
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.
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