42-Plus Gets It: Leech Produces Two-Peat For Huynh, Wolske At Third AWWS Minnesota Qualifier Sunday

Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats Inc.


Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)


42-Plus Gets It: Leech Produces Two-Peat For Huynh, Wolske At Third AWWS Minnesota Qualifier Sunday


Well sorry, Fan Nation, the estimate by some that a mid-thirty-something bag would get it done on Leech Lake for the AIM Weekend Walleye Series  Warrior Boats Highway 3 Marine Open qualifier Sunday (July 11) was wrong. Instead, 42.27 pounds meant a cool 9K for the winners, Tom Huynh and Nate Wolske, who won the same AIM event on the same day last year.

“Who’d a thunk it, the same team winning the same event on the same date as they did a year ago, and they beat their 2020 total by around four pounds,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director.  “Great job, guys, and on top of that $9,000 for first, they also took home $1,500 in side pot cash, for 42.27 pounds, and boosted their shot at being atop Minnesota Team Of The Year standings.”

Huynh, who was a bass angler in another life, relied in part on a fave bass rig to take the win. But, he first tried the same spots he won last year’s event on. Therein lies a lesson: walleyes move, and a lot.

“It was a year ago to the date that we won and went in thinking, it’s the same time of year and same type conditions. I’m going to find these in the same area, but I was completely wrong. They weren’t there,” said Huynh, who’s from Moorhead, MN. Wolske is from Boy River. So they ended up burning 140 gallons of fuel in less than a week, and they finally found them.

“They were in a totally opposite area, different structure. On Friday we found this spot and was pulling live bait and as I was reeling in fast, a walleye just came up and grabbed it. A fast reel. We found this year the fish in Leech were way more picky.

They just ignored our baits. But when it grabbed it, I still had some bass gear in the boat thought it may work for walleyes. I put on a “scrounger head” jig with a plastic minnow and got a couple that were 28 inches.”

A scrounger jig has a plastic bill that gives it action, apparently a pretty attractive action for walleyes.

“We fished the spot a couple of hours, left it alone Saturday and came back Sunday. We didn’t get bit until around 9 or 9:30 so we were getting a bit nervous. Then the first fish we caught was a 19. We both thought, ‘this isn’t what we need,’” he said. But, that was only a teaser. After that, they landed a 27-1/2, then a 28-1/2, and the smallest fish after that 19 was a 23. Five good ground-out bites, 11 total.

“We probably caught three of our card fish on that rig, and the other ones, we did use live bait, since with two in the boat we can throw two different rigs. You’re talking about a bite maybe every hour-and-a-half, and we never got bit after 11:30 or noon,” he said.

Now, we all want to know where on Leech he was, but he’s not quite revealing that. All Huynh would say is that it was fairly shallow, sliding down contour lines between six and 20 feet with their Garmin Panoptix Livescope.

“The only other thing I can attribute it to is that Leech Lake water seems to be clearing, so we did go around looking for that stained water and there were little sections here and there and that’s where we found’em,” he said.

Later on, he said, Wolske realized that since they began fishing walleye, they’ve gotten three first place finishes, one fourth and a sixth. The team’s AIM finishes had them sitting fourth for Minnesota Team of the Year, so this win, he said, means “we’re going to be right up there; it’s going to be close.” So despite another commitment in South Dakota, he’s sorely tempted to make the drive to fish the fourth Minnesota Division qualifier at Duluth on Aug. 1 on the St. Louis River.
“I’m thinking if we go up and Zero, we’re going to Zero anyway if we don’t go, and if we put the boat (it’s well-equipped for fishing there, with that Garmin aboard and
300 Mercury Pro XS power) in the water,” he said, there’s those TOY points to consider.

He’s right. Don’t fish, don’t catch and don’t win. It’s that simple, including getting a fish or two counting towards that coveted TOY title. We’re guessing he’ll be there.

In second place and earning $3,500 plus $900 side pot cash were brothers Joe and Jeff Broking of Grand Rapids, MN. They pulled 38.09 pounds in their 350 Verado-powered boat.

And the key to that second-place, he said? Their Garmin Livescope system.

“It has changed the game so much I don’t hardly use my down or side imaging. Once we get to what we call high percentage areas we drop the Livescope, run about 3 mph and pan in all directions (his system is on a pole developed by Colorado-based Fishing Specialties) and then we get after them. We’ve effectively used it to target fish as deep as 80 feet,” Joe Broking said.
“We can actually find fish now that we’ve never found before without it.”

The pair began pre-fishing July 5, and focused on Leech’s well-known walleye factory, Walker Bay.

“We found four or five spots holding pretty good fish, in 16 feet, to as shallow as eight. Once we found them we started throwing all sorts of presentations and caught a lot. We always like to throw bobbers out but we were pretty much continuously catching fish, casting, on bobbers, cranks, jerkbaits. We were also casting live bait and slowly retrieving them, both crawlers and big minnows,” he said.

On game day, they’d settled on a color pattern, and had found a nice group of active fish.

Their first three came on a bobber setup. “The first was a 29-incher, an absolute monster on live bait tipped with a leech. In the first 30 minutes that came, then back-to-back 24-1/2-inchers, then it slowed,” he said.

“They moved to their next spots and got a couple more on Jigging Raps, and by 8:30 had five on the card,” he said. They then moved back to their first spot and spent the rest of the day there, and were the only boat in the area to start.

We started throwing different presentations and finally brought out big minnows, slow retrieving them, and on the first cast hooked up an absolute giant, and lost it after about five minutes. The second cast we got a 27-3/4-incher and the third cast, a 26. So by 11 we had our big fish on the card, and then had boats move in on us. The fish were still there, so we had our bobbers out for about two hours. It got to be one and everybody moved out, and the last two hours we had three more bites. It was super-exciting, a lot of fun,” he said.

Their Livescope system has been so effective, he said, they haven’t trolled since AIM was at Big Stone Lake in May. “We’re now trying to target positive fish and get within 45 feet to pitch to them. And the Livescope is the key. It’s changed fishing. We were actually watching these big fish and how they were reacting to our bait and to what they were eating.”

They’ll be also using that system when AIM heads to Duluth.

The rest of the top five played out this way: In third, with 37.03 pounds and good for $2,800 were Evan Rosemore, of North Branch, MN, and Steven Rosemore of Cloquet. Fourth place was occupied by Scott Burton, of Apple Valley, MN, and William Marty of Hopkins, who boated 33.27 pds, for a $1,400 payday. Fifth place and $1,300 went to Phil Peterson of Anoka, MN, and Justin Osterbauer of Monticello, for landing 31.55 pounds.

The third place side pot winners of $600 were Chaz Dobias of Nevis, MN, and Corbin Hime of Bemidji.

Next up in Minnesota is that date with Duluth on Aug. 1, but there’s lots more where that came from in the Bay of Green Bay at Marinette. Stay tuned!

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 inc.   

AIM Supporting Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Garmin, Berkley, X2Power by Batteries Plus, Abu-Garcia, Fenwick, Navionics, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, AirWave Pedestals, Off Shore Tackle, Quality Flow Systems, Gemini Sport Marketing, Moonshine Lures Shiver Minnow, JT Outdoors Products, McQuoids Inn, Marinette, WI