Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 29, 2020
Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)
Final NoDak Season Qualifier In The Books With Rigging
The Hot Ticket For First and Second Place Teams
The “Arm,” as in, Van Hook, was again the place to be for big fish on Lake Sakakawea for winners Lonnie Jacobs and Janine Landsiedel, who had two spots zeroed in and chose their “Number Two” location to land 36.33 pounds, taking the AIM Weekend Walleye Series/Pure Powersports Open on Sunday, July 26.
“Some folks still think Lake Sakakawea doesn’t have the big fish, but I think they’d better re-think that thought,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director. “Both our first- and second-place teams found quality fish within a few miles of the launch at Parshall Bay, and in just a few short weeks and a wakeup or two, we’re coming back to a different part of Lake Sak for the state championship. Once again that it’s a matter of patience and locating the fish you want to target.”
That’s what Jacobs and Landsiedel, who are both from Douglas, about six miles from Garrison, ND, did starting last Thursday. They already had what they thought was their go-to spot pegged.
“On Friday, our Number One spot was still going to be the same spot we were at during the New Town event (June 28),” Jacobs said. They finished fourth in that event. Then came Saturday. And that choice earned them a $5,500 check from AIM, plus another $1,850 in cash from the side pot that they and 36 other teams had entered.
“We ran into a school of bait, and it had fish with it. We sat down on it and caught two, and said, that’s it. We had to convince ourselves to leave our Number One, but we knew we had a choice to make and life’s about choices. We opted for this to be our Number One then,” he said.
“We had an Option A and an Option B (which was their prior Number One). Option B worked out better.” Where did they steer their Mercury 350 Verado-powered boat to? Since they have another tournament coming up this weekend, ask him after that, he said.
He did say they never left Van Hook Arm. And that new Number One spot? “We were off one of the main islands in the Arm.” That was about as specific as he got, at least for now. But it definitely got the job done.
“A lot of anglers ran way south because fishing in the Arm hasn’t been the greatest,” Jacobs said. “A few years ago you could go out there and find good ones. Now you have to have a good feel for where they are out there now. But it’s fishing, not catching.”
Using standard Lindy rigs, they dipped one creek chub, one crawler and one leech, slow trolled at about 1 mph.
“To tell you the truth the night crawler and leech were going early but the chub, only for about an hour. Janine caught all hers on a leech or crawler. But I caught a couple of big ones on a chub,” he said.
“That’s what we do. We pitch in spring and pull cranks when we have to, but this is our Number One method. The first two hours it was dead calm and when the wind came up blowing 16 to 18 mph, we moved shallow.” Wait, what? You went shallow as the morning progressed?
“That’s backwards. But we had big waves and rollers and that’s what triggered our fish. We had to run both the kicker and the electric at the same time to control the boat, both with the wind and against,” Jacobs said. It worked, because they ended up with 11 on their Catch-Record-Release™ card.
“We started up, the first one was a 22-1/2, then a 19, a 20, and a 20-3/4 incher. We relaxed a little then. Then all of a sudden that wind came up and we moved in to 13 to 17 feet of water. Janine got a 25-1/2. And now the pressure’s really off, and that’s when they hit the creek chub, a 25-1/4 and a 27-1/2 incher. They were dandies,” Jacobs said. They were happy with their weight but weren’t done yet. After a long dry spell, Janine spiked a 27-incher around 1 p.m.
“I figured before that, we were going to be right up there, and once we kicked out that 22-1/2 when she zapped that 27, I looked at her and said, ‘are you confident?’” They then headed for their former Number One spot, but when your smallest weigh fish is 25 inches, it’s hard to upgrade. They found out later that there were 23 fish landed over 25 inches in the tournament, and Jacobs and Landsiedel had five.
They’re now looking forward to the state championship, taking off from Beulah Bay on the lake’s south-central side.
“We’re not as familiar with it but we’ve fished this from New Town to Garrison and back. I feel like we’re good enough to get it done, but we need to pre-fish and then I could really look you in the eye and say that, but you can’t predict.”
The second place team of Justin Krieger and Rick Ellingson, both from Williston, headed to the main lake to fish the rock piles and points, collecting $2,500, plus another $1,110 in side pot cash, for landing 34.70 pounds, after a tough pre-fish in their 2090 Warrior Backtroller tiller, powered by a 150 Mercury four-stroke.
“We maybe burned six gallons of gas,” Ellingson said, going to a spot they’d caught a 25 and a 25 1/2-incher the day before.
“We were pre-fishing and struggling trying to tie a blood knot in a line, and we ended up shallower than what we wanted, caught them and left. That’s all we had going. Nothing else was any better so that’s how we decided,” Krieger added.
Rigging with creek chubs, crawlers and leeches, they concentrated on pitching to the streaks of mud coming off the points in the wind, and those rocks, putting seven on the card.
“The first two were around 9, a 23 and a 25,” Ellingson said.
“We were driving over a rock point,” Krieger added. “Rick was in the bow and he looked back and said, ‘hey you might want to back up, it’s shallow,’ and all of a sudden he lifts his rod so he wouldn’t get caught and there’s a fish on it.”
“Wham, the 25-incher hit,” Ellingson said. “I could see boulders at the bow and at the back it was 11 feet. The next four fish were at the next rock spot along the shore. Including a 26, a 16 and a 20-incher. I re-tied rigs 25 times yesterday. We were right in the rocks and the fish were right in them. We went to another point and caught a 27 and a 23 in the mud streaks. The fish were right under them. We lost a couple of others too. Everyone else near us was fishing in 30 feet of water. We were the only boat up in the rocks.”
Krieger said they’re very familiar with the water where the state championship takes place on Aug. 14-15. “We fish down there quite a bit. We’ve fished pretty much all sections of this lake now.”
In third place and collecting $2,000 for 31.04 pounds were Matt Ristow and Kyle Hertz, both from Bismarck. They also took home an extra $740 side pot cash for being third in that as well.
The fourth-place team of Timothy and Landen Sandstrom, from Minot, won $1,500 for 28.58 pounds. In fifth were Gary Hodge and Jared Baier, also from Minot. They recorded 28.27 pounds of walleye.
Okay, Fan Nation. One qualifier left before the championship rounds begin, and it’s coming up this Sunday, Aug. 2, on Minnesota’s Lake Winnibigoshish. Then the run for all the marbles starts. Check out an upcoming preview of Lake Winnie this week, plus all the day-of action at AIM’s Facebook page, where the winners Sunday also will be announced. Details on all AIM tournaments 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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