Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 15, 2020
Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)
Devils Lake Proves Heavenly For Deutz And Chim, Who
Head Home With $5,000, Besting A 57-Boat Field
When things go right, they go right all the way, and it definitely went right for Spencer Deutz and partner Jimmy Chim, with what could only be described as near a-perfect day as they could have, landing 42.87 pounds and a $5,000 first-place check in the AIM Weekend Walleye Series/Warrior Boats/Mild 2 Wild Open Sunday, July 12.
“We hosted 57 teams at the season’s third North Dakota qualifier, and for this pair, it was definitely a day, that’s all you can say. Like landing and releasing a 29-inch brown on your favorite trout stream. You couldn’t do much better,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director. “Devils certainly gave it up for them, all in one spot, in about 25 feet of water. And Deutz with a partner who’d never, ever, been walleye fishing. They also took first in the side pot for another $1,350.”
In Deutz’ words, here’s how they did it, in their Yamaha 300-powered outfit.
“We bobbered pretty much the whole time pre-fishing,” said Deutz, who’s from Fargo, ND. Chim is from Miami. “We caught a few pulling lead core, but nothing great. I found them Sunday the week before. There were three good ones over 25 inches in about 15 minutes of fishing the East Devils, and then I left them alone after that,” he added.
On tournament day and armed with four-inch leeches, they made the run east, to that big fish spot. But, he didn’t know how big until they arrived. “We got there about 7:15 or so, and we had 35 pounds by about 7:40. It was incredible. In the first half-hour. We stayed there through the day and ended up upgrading one of our smaller fish.”
smaller, he said? “It doesn’t show on our card, but we had five more fish between 25 and 26 inches, that we didn’t even put on. Our smallest was 26-3/4 inches. It was crazy. We actually lost about a 31-incher at the boat and had two other 28-inchers get off. It was just one of those days.”
“There came a point where we had a 29-3/4 and a 25-1/2 in the bottom of the boat at the same time. We had three bobbers go down at the same time and ended up catching them all,” he said.
“Then we caught a 20-1/2 that we did not record, then a 26, a 26-1/2 and a 26-1/4. We stayed on the same spot, put our Minnkota on spot lock and were there for seven hours. We’re talking about a big fish spot, but I have just never seen it like this before. I said to my partner, we had it won. At 8:45.
“Whether it was the currents, the barometric pressure, the sun, it all just lined up perfectly for these fish to be in the same spot. I was hoping to get three big ones and we had another spot to get some 22 or 23-inch fish, but we never had to do that.
“The crazy thing is (among others), that if we took our sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth best fish, which we didn’t even weigh, we would have had 34 pounds. It was incredible,” Deutz continued.
The other incredible thing (among others)? This was his only AIM event of the year.
“And the best part of this (among others) was the guy that fished it with me, it was his first time ever walleye fishing. He’s from Miami. I told him he could never go again. It could never be better,” he laughed.
“One week every year my wife and I take a week off to go to our place on Devils, and this happened to be the week, so I decided to jump in it (the tournament). Two weeks before it started,” Deutz added. Yup, among others, too.
Deutz is no stranger to the lake, however. He won the AIM tournament here in 2016.
The second place team of Brett Kenner and Nate Miller, both from Devils Lake, had a similar experience, and landed 36.27 pounds to win $2,000, plus $810 for taking second place in the side pot.
They also gunned their Mercury 400 Verado-powered boat to the lake’s east side, where the bigs reside.
“I actually guide on Devils and I knew about this spot and I was guiding the whole week. I wasn’t even pre-fishing, but on the last day before, I was guiding and my clients had their possession limit, and I said I hadn’t been able to pre-fish this event, do you want to go looking for big fish, and they were up for that,” Kenner said.
They moved up towards the rock pile that he was to fish in the tournament. “I could see the fish laying up on my side imaging, on the rocks and in the mud right on the outside of the rocks, and every once in a while you’d see one come up on the side imaging, and your bobber would go down. We had 36 pounds that day, too, and released over a dozen 25-inchers. It was honestly the best day I’ve ever had here. It was insane,” Kenner continued.
Come tournament day, he said, he was hoping for a good boat number because you had to be on a spot on that rock pile, and he had to get there. He did, at 63 mph, taking 25 minutes.
“I knew I had to be in 20 feet of water. If you were out deeper, you weren’t going to be bit. In shallower, you weren’t going to be bit. We were slip-bobbering and if you set the bobber too close to the bottom, like below six inches, you wouldn’t be bit, and up to a foot off, you won’t be bit, so you had to check it every time, after each fish,” he said.
So what’s so alluring about bobber fishing, as opposed to other ways to fish Devils?
“I think it’s just the presentation of sitting there, not moving. You’re in the strike zone all the time. With jigging it all depends on the cadence. And for some reason, these walleyes eat leeches all year, and they have to be big. We had monsters, from Pete’s Bait Shop in town.”
They started with 1/8-ounce jigs, and they lost two, so they went with plain hooks and two split shots with 12-pound test fluro, and never lost another, he said.
“It was almost literally the exact same as that other day. We started off with a 25, and our bites came mostly between 9 and 11 a.m. Our best 15 minutes was when we caught four of our five weigh fish,” he said.
Kenner also commented on the winners’ day.
“One of my friends was fishing right next to them (Deutz and Chim), and they only caught five pounds or so. We had boats come into our spot, and they couldn’t get a bite. They were doing everything the exact same we were. We were just on a spot on a spot.”
Kenner said that like Deutz, this was his only NoDak AIM tournament, so all you other teams heading to Lake Sak in a few weeks, rest easy.
“Next year, I plan to fish more AIM events. It depends on my schedule. I like that every fish is released, and it has a chance to be caught by someone else, and it’s a lot easier on the fish. It seems like AIM is getting more and more popular here,” he said.
Finishing in third with 32.77 pounds and $1,800 were Shelby Vasichek, and Cody Armstrong, of Devils Lake.
Fourth place and $1,800 went to Travis Clemens, of Velva, ND, and Roger Schumann, of Minot, finishing with 29.31 pounds. They also took third place in the side pot, and took home an extra $540.
Fifth place went to Tyler Elshaug, and Tanner Paine, both from Devils Lake. They netted 24.18 pounds, and $1,400.
Okay, NoDak, you’re on R&R until AIM returns to Lake Sak on Sunday, July 26, at Parshall Bay. Until then, follow all the other action in Minnesota and Wisconsin, including the upcoming double-header on Green Bay, at Oconto, this weekend, at AIM’s Facebook page. Details on all other upcoming state qualifiers are at the AIM website.
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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