For Immediate Release, Sept. 2, 2015
Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp. USA and Warrior Boats:
AWWS Minnesota Division Warrior Boats Championship; Warrior Teams Take First, Third and Fourth
Jason Pitts credits his ride, a Warrior V203DC, powered by a 300 Mercury Verado, but you can bet it was plain old fishing knowledge and a little luck on the part of the anglers aboard that helped them nab first place at AIM’sWarrior Boats Minnesota Weekend Walleye Series Championship Aug. 28-29 on Lake Winnibigoshish.
Pitts, from Des Moines, IA., and partner Pat Brookshaw, of Hager City, WI, had a bit of drama on Day Two, after leading on Day One by about three pounds. But quick thinking on Brookshaw’s part kept their momentum going, helping to ensure their win, a $5,500 check an a berth in next year’s Warrior Boats Shootout.
Brookshaw played that all-important third man—on-water confidence—with a bit of quick-thinking chicanery.
“Pulling boards with spinners is not always a 100 percent proposition on hookups. On day 2 we did lose a fish, our second fish of the day. It came unbuttoned at the boat, and Pat said it was a pike, so no problem. But it wasn’t. It was a 25- to 27-inch Walleye. But he didn’t tell me until we got to the awards that it was a walleye because he didn’t want to lose that confidence and momentum” Said Pitts.
“Our goal going into Day Two was to have at least 15 pounds on our card. If we got that, we could at least make the Shootout,” Pitts said. Instead of going for the win, he added, “We were actually more focused on making the Shootout and a top five finish.”
The pair stuck with what got them the lead on the first day, pulling spinners behind Offshore planer boards on Lake Winnie’s west side.
“Our starting spot was based on our pre-fishing. But, our pre-fishing was not very good. We only found four fish in two days. However we caught two where we started Day One, a 22 and a 25,” he said.
Things grew a bit worrisome as Pitts and Brookshaw had those few early fish, but not a full card, but as predicted, the weather played a role.
“Then the wind laid down and for a few minutes the fish went crazy, and we got a 25, a 26 and a 23 in less than an hour. We came in pretty confident that we’d be at least in the top five. When we found out we had the lead, that put more pressure on us,” Pitts said. Why? “We were in fifth after Day One at the same event last year, and Day Two did not go well. We had four fish come unbuttoned at the boat.”
So this year, they approached Day Two with cautious optimism. “We figured our fish were still there, and we have to give all the other anglers credit; they stayed out of our way. We had our card filled by 8:30, but only had about 13 pounds. And at 12:30, we still had 13 pounds. Then, the same thing happened that happened on Day One. The fish just turned on. We caught a 20, a 22 and a 25 all in front of the camera boat, which never happens. So we upgraded by 8 pounds right there. We felt that last 25-incher sealed the deal,” he said.
For Pitts, it was extremely important to qualify for next year’s big Shootout. “I think a lot of fishermen don’t understand how big a deal it is to fish for a $50,000 boat in a no-entry-fee tournament. If more tournament fishermen grasped that, all AIM events would be full. That’s a very incredible payday for the low fee that it costs to enter AIM qualifying tournaments. Pat and I are big Warrior guys. Pat, who owns Bluffs Bar and Grill in Hager City WI is also one of the owners of Warrior, so Warrior Boats holds a special place for both of us, and it’d be pretty awesome to win,” he said.
Squeezing into second place was Mercury pro Bruce ‘Doc’ Samson, of Osakis, MN, also running a Mercury Verado, took home $2,300 with partner Tom Weihrauch of St. Cloud, MN, with 43.26 pounds.
“We fished next to the weeds and then went a little deeper, with chubs and leeches on Lindy Rigs. That was our number one presentation choice. We left there with only three fish though, the biggest 18 inches. We were kinda bummed. But then we went out to the main lake and there were more fish there than anyone thought. We got’em with bobbers and pitching jigs to them, fishing the rock reefs with leeches,” Samson said.
“I was really surprised how good the fishing was. The weather made the difference. We showed up after a major cold front so our fishing was poor. But each day it got warmer and I think that’s what the difference was. We had 19-plus pounds coming in on the first day and I said we’re going to win. But we got in, and we’re in fifth place with that, and the leaders are 8 pounds ahead of us, and it was like um, I missed that one,” he said with a chuckle.
Alexandria, MN, residents Drake and his father, John Herd, in a Warrior 2090 tiller, placed third, with 39.94 pounds, good for $1,800. How?
They did their damage to Winnie trolling their own custom-painted No. 5 and 7 Shad raps.
“It was crazy. We were trolling crank baits on boards high in the water column, from 11 to 15 feet. The first day we were seventh, so we were a little nervous,” Drake said.
Then he got the call.
Driving three hours, he met his wife Ivy at the hospital and was there for his son’s birth, at 4 a.m., and Ivy told him to get back to Winnie. “I got to Denny’s Resort about 8:30 AM, jumped in the boat and just took off. Honestly on Day Two we were way more relaxed, and got into a school of fish and caught maybe 15 to 20 fish total. We won’t forget this one for awhile.”
Taking Fourth Place with 39.43 pounds and a check for $1,300.00 is Adam Andersen of Amery, WI and Jason Evenson of Luch, WI.
Finishing in fifth with 33.05 pounds and a check good for $1,000.00 were Dan Swenson, Deer River, MN, and Jeff Braaten, Grand Rapids, MN.
The AMSOIL Team of the Year in the Minnesota Division goes to the father son team of Ross and 8 year old Reid Grothe. Completing the team is younger brother Roger and Mom Karisa. The Grothe’s make it a family affair and that is awesome. The team anchored their way with a pair of wins at the first event on the Mississippi River and the 2nd event at Randalls Beach Resort on Lac Qui Parle, Mn. For their efforts they will receive paid entry fees into the 2016 MN Qualifying events courtesy of AMSOIL.
Come back on Thursday for results of the Navionics BIG FISH THURSDAY.
Contact:Denny Fox, AIM National Tournament Director, 920-505-0122; email@example.com
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.
AIM Supporting Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Nitro Boats, Starcraft Marine, Amsoil, Navionics, Powrtran, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, Off Shore Tackle, Team Lodge, National Fleet Graphics, Gemini Sport Marketing, The City of Oconto, Eagle Bay Marina and Eagles Landing Casino, Montevideo MN Chamber of Commerce, Randall’s Milan Beach Resort