Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 26, 2017
Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)
Go Ahead, Prove Us Wrong, And Team Woodke/Meyer Did, Going North To Win Green Bay’s AWWS Nitro Boats Open
The prediction was, it’ll be a mud basin bite. That the bite/conditions in northern Bay of Green Bay just weren’t there to win Sunday’s (July 23) final AIM Weekend Walleye Series Nitro Boats Wisconsin Division qualifier.
Leave it to Daniel Woodke and Steve Meyer to prove it wrong, and do just that. They turned their boat north, away from the pack, to fish they’d found lounging on rock humps, both jigging and trolling, to wow those assembled at the awards ceremony with 55.81 pounds—that’s for five fish, an average of 11.16 pounds each, folks—to take home $8,000 in the only AIM Weekend Walleye Series event they fished this year.
Each top five finisher, including the fifth place team of Guy and Cole Engebretson, of Wausau, WI, who finished with 33.60 pounds to earn $1,300, would have won many tourneys with their bags. The action was that good. But, it took that huge weight from Woodke-Meyer to do it.
“It was really fun,” said Woodke. To say the least. It was upgrading-28-inch-fish-with-a-30 fun. Here’s how they did it, and why they went north, when it was predicted that the bay’s mud basin would be the place to do it:
“We jumped around a lot and hit three or four different spots we’d located during pre-fishing that in the past held fish. Our pre-fishing was really good. We had a 38-pound day and a 25-pound day and we were shooting for the low-40s mark. I didn’t ever think we’d catch 55 pounds. We’d caught fish there in some pretty bad conditions. So when wind was forecast we knew the fish were there and conditions would be right,” Woodke said.
“Green Bay is a wind-driven body so when the wind blows in the area it triggers something to make the fish active and also gets current moving.”
Running north, they hopscotched to catch fish at rock humps, using everything from Rippin’ Raps, plastics, harnesses and hair jigs to get’em. And did they ever. “We had our limit by 8:45 and from then on we started upgrading.
“The wind really made the fish active, which it does in Door County. We just kept upgrading. It was a really good feeling for both of us. We fish a lot and to be able to upgrade fish throughout the day because of AIM’s format was pretty neat.”
In Wisconsin, he explained, you can’t cull fish, so they would have had their fish early in the day and that would have been it. Thanks to AIM’s Catch-Record-Release™ rules, they were able to. And it helped big time.
“We picked up a 30-incher, and then two more 30s and another 29…I said early in the day that we’re probably not going to upgrade 28-inch fish, but it’s exactly what we did thanks to AIM,” Woodke said. Two of the 30s came on trolled gold crawler harnesses.
They decided to pull the plug around 1 p.m., and began the run back. That’s when their Air Wave seat pedestals proved their worth.
“Air Wave is one of my, and AIM’s, sponsors. We thought we left with plenty of time and had some rough conditions coming back. When it’s rough those pedestals mean a world of difference. In prior years the fatigue would get to us, and over the last year running the Air Waves, we didn’t get as fatigued as we once did. It definitely made for a smooth ride in.”
He also spoke to the predictions of no fish north, when there were. “A couple weeks prior we had some goofy winds and the water was cold. It wasn’t setting up right, but getting closer to Sunday the weather started being more consistent. The only thing we were missing in the north was some wind. When we looked at the forecast, that’s what made us decide to either go big or go home.”
He also credited for their win on his partner, Steve Meyer. “Being able to have a partner like Steve helps a lot. He does his thing, and I do mine,” he said, and together, they prevailed.
“And since this was the only AIM event we were able to fish, it made our decision to make the run north easier. I’d like to thank the AIM circuit and its sponsors. I absolutely love the AIM format. It did get rough, and we anglers strive to protect the fishery, and when you have to bring them in to weigh, there are dead fish penalties. It just happens. With the warm water, the likelihood that the fish would have made it back alive just wouldn’t have happened. We also would have had our limit before we caught our biggest fish. Without AIM’s format, we never could have done it,” Woodke said.
Not far behind were Derek Navis, Brandon, WI, and Ryan Dempsey, Green Bay, who boated 47.71 pounds in their 300 Verado-powered Nitro ZV21, good for second place and $2,400.
That weight, along with each of the other top five finishers, would have been good for first in most tourneys. But not this one.
“We honestly thought we had it,” Navis said. “We were stuck right around the upper 30s and just like that we hit a triple at around 1 p.m., and we had a 28-3/4-and a 29-incher.”
Like the winners, they too, headed north of Sturgeon Bay, near Marinette, taking a chance like maybe no more than a dozen boats of the 100-boat field did.
“We knew that the bite up north was really close to getting good. We knew going in that with the warmer temps and the weather that we should be able to grind it out and catch four or five fish.” They did, but it wasn’t enough.
“We were casting shiver minnows and trolled crawler harnesses with Offshore planer boards and ½- to 1-ounce Tadpole weights. We had that 29-1/2, two or maybe three 28s, and a 27 was our smallest,” he said. Yup, their smallest.
“We thought, if somebody beats us, especially down south they deserve it,” Navis said. “I’m really happy for Danny and Steve. I’ve known them for years and I’m happy they won it. It’s great to see a guy like that take it home.”
In third place with 35.59 pounds were Perry Nievinski, Mosinee, WI, and Dave Krueger, Hatley, WI, winning the pair $1,800. Fourth place and $1,500 went to Jesse Proffitt and Ronald Turner, Eau Claire, WI.
AIM’s next stop: Duluth/Superior and the St. Louis River and Wisconsin waters of Lake Superior, this Sunday. Yup, you read that right. A Minnesota Division tourney fishing Wisconsin waters. We’ll preview that event later this week.
Follow all the action coming up at AIM’s Facebook page and at ProChattrr.
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, Warrior Boat Center.