Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 1st, 2017
Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)
Are You Ready For A Walleye Shootout? Upper Mississippi Hosts 2017 AWWS Warrior Boats/Yamaha Outboards National Championship June 2-3
Three states. Thirty teams. Sixty-two miles of Mississippi River. And, the chance to win a Warrior/Yamaha/Garmin rig worth well over $50K.
We’re talkin’ Pools 3 and 4 of the Mississippi River, site of last April’s Minnesota qualifier, where now those 30 teams from three states will meet to determine which, at least on these given two days June 2-3, is the best, during the 2017 AIM Weekend Walleye Series Warrior Boats/Yamaha Outboards National Championship Shootout.
“This is my most exciting time of the year to be connected with AIM,” says AWWS National Tournament Director Denny Fox. “This is when the best of our best, who’ve toughed it out from snow flying in April, to summer heat, have a chance to show what they can do to the world. And we’re here to help them do just that.”
“Warrior Boats is a fisherman-owned company, and we’re proud to be associated with a conservation-minded tournament series like AIM,” added Kent Andersen, Warrior Boats National Sales Manager. “It’s a great honor to be part of this growing tournament series. We’re invested in the Catch-Record-Release™ concept and the growth each year has been more than anyone ever expected. Seeing that growth, we know we’re at the right place to put our products in front of people,” Andersen said.
Local sponsor for the event is Warrior Boat Center, with two locations, in Ramsey, MN, and Chippewa Falls, WI. Owner Dean Marshall is happy to be supporting the championship.
“We’ve really enjoyed being a part of AIM with Yamaha and Warrior, and actively supporting it not just for this event but the entire series,” Marshall said. “One of the things we’re most proud of is that not only are we an AIM sponsor, but we’re active fishermen, and regardless of what boat you run, we’re here to help if you’re in the area. That’s our credo, ‘fishermen helping fishermen.’”
“On top of Warrior’s support, our partnership with Yamaha Outboards has been another pivotal reason for AIM’s ongoing success,” Fox said. “Yamaha’s motors, from the 150-four-stroke on our championship boat, to the 9.9 kickers awarded our Teams of the Year, represent engineering for on-the-water fun at its best.”
Part of that support by all of AIM’s sponsors will be offering fans a chance to meet their favorite teams Wednesday evening at event headquarters, The Bluffs Bar and Grill in Hager City, starting at 6 p.m.
Test rides in Warrior boats will be available throughout the week by appointment and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Mr. Sippi Bar, Marina and Campground in Hager City on the river’s Wisconsin Channel. Warrior boats, from tiller to console models, also will be displayed at The Bluffs starting Wednesday of tournament week.
Some already know what the Mississippi has in store. Others, maybe not. But here’s the skinny: There isn’t any skinny water here this year. The river is up, says Brett King, AIM Board Chairman and one of the original 77 owners of AIM. In fact, it’s been up. It was up when AIM was last here for the Minnesota Division opener on May 7, and it still is. That presents challenges, and also opportunities, for all the teams.
“The good news is, the river crested at 11.2 feet,” said King, who calls this stretch of the Upper Miss his home water. “So it looks like we’ll get into the stable water stage, and it will be dropping.
“The seven-day forecast is for it to slowly drop to 9 feet. And, if that holds, these guys are going to have some of the better water conditions you can ask for. It’s going to clean up and stabilize. It should be a great event,” he said.
And when the river falls, the prospects for walleye rise. Because the water has been high all year, there are still plenty of fish in the upper river on Pool 3 that have not dropped into Pool 4, which makes up most of Lake Pepin.
“But I don’t see Pepin being much of player with the high water, but there are a few key areas there. If the water’s high on the lake, it’s not unheard of to find a lot of nice fish in the willows,” King said. But, there should be areas of the lake where anglers who prefer pulling flat lines and lead core will also find fish.
The key, he said, is those stable levels. “When the water is high the fish can’t stage anywhere. With high water comes a lot of current that forces them to have to use specific areas to feed and rest.”
Pool 3, from below the mouth of the St. Croix River at Prescott Bridge, offers teams a vast number of wing dams and some massive backwater areas such as North and Sturgeon lakes that, because of water levels, may be holding post-spawn fish that will fill up an AIM Catch-Record-Release™ scorecard quickly.
“The entire system has a very healthy population of 18- to 20-inch fish and a very healthy number of five- to seven-pounders, and I won’t be surprised to see some nine-pounders. I would fully expect a two-day total somewhere between 60 and 65 pounds to win. I fished a local tournament there last weekend. The water was rising, generally the worst time, and the river was littered with debris. But my partner and I were still able to bring in a five-fish basket just shy of 26 pounds for one day,” King said.
He expects live bait to be a go-to tactic, either anchoring or slowly bringing it through current breaks. You can either sit on a spot all day, or run and gun like they did, fishing seven spots in eight hours to reach their weight. “Our fish came from three of seven spots,” he added.
Now, the best part: the team figuring out when, where and how by Saturday afternoon gets rewarded big time. A chance to put that championship title in your resume, and trailering home a new Warrior 1898 DC, powered by a Yamaha 150 four-stroke, and decked out with a Garmin Echomap CHIRP Series plotter/sonar, all worth a mere $50,000-plus.
Team registration will start at 5 p.m. Thursday, June 1, at The Bluffs Bar and Grill. One of those attending is Chad Bleeker, a local AIM angler and championship qualifier. His new business, Forever Barnwood, is sponsoring the team dinner during the rules meeting. Each day’s start for the event will be at Everts Resort, on the river’s Wisconsin side.
Weigh-ins each day will also take place at The Bluffs Bar and Grill, which is the site of Saturday’s awards starting at 6 p.m. More information on the event will be posted as the dates approach at AIM’s website and Facebook site.
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 www.aimfishing.com.
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.