For Immediate Release, Aug. 19, 2015
Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp. USA and Warrior Boats:
It Was An All-Michigan Win-Place-Show At The
AWWS Starcraft Marine Championship On Saginaw Bay
Michigan teams topped the leader board, going 1-2-3, as the father-son team of Kal and Rick Ustishen pulled it out in a tough Saginaw Bay bite, finding 23-plus pounds of ‘eyes the first day, and 18-plus the second to take first place, and Great Lakes Division Team of The Year honors to boot, at the AIM Weekend Walleye SeriesStarcraft Marine Championship Aug 14-15.
Hosted by Eagle Bay Marina and Saganing Eagles Landing Casino near Standish, MI Team Ustishen, Kal from Chesaning, MI, and Rick from New Lothrop, MI, pushed their Yamaha-powered Ranger 35 miles one way each day to find fish in 30 feet of water off Au Gres. Then they went 40- to 55-feet off Alabaster with crawler harnesses to top the field on a roily day one with 23.78 pounds. They capped their win with 18.61 pounds on a nearly calm day two.
“We trolled harnesses about 1 to 1.4 mph, fishing rock piles. In the deep water, we trolled faster because we were fishing suspended fish,” Kal said. It was a tough, hit-and-miss bite, and a bouncy ride out.
“The first day we caught fish in deeper water and the second day, more in the shallower spots. You’d catch one fish here, another there. On day two, by 10 a.m. we didn’t have a fish, then we started getting a few. Between 10 and noon, we finally got five fish on the card, and that was a huge relief,” he said.
“The bite was extremely tough, almost like a fall turn-over. We were only catching two or three fish per day pre-fishing. We were marking fish, but were not getting anything to hit.”
Their $3,000 win also sealed up first-place in the Great Lakes Division AMSOIL Team of the Year standings, earning them free entry into the 2016 qualifier tourneys.
The second-place team of Carl Hatala and Bill Brado of Alpena, MI, fishing their first AIM season, went even farther north in their Yamaha-powered Warrior V193. With Warrior spoons tipped with crawlers behind half-ounce Guppy Weights and Offshore Tattle Flag planers, they concentrated on the weeds near Tawas Point, finding 20.04 pounds the first day and 15.97 on day two to take second and $1,850.
On day one, teams heading north all had a rough ride. “I’m going to guess the waves were running 3- to 4-feet. It was a really screwed up chop, and running that Warrior boat made all the difference. I also have Lenco trim tabs which also makes all the difference in rough water so you don’t get the slap and the bounce,” Hatala said.
Hatala said they concentrated on the weeds because of the weather. “With the bad weather, we figured we had some benefit fishing shallow over the weeds in a protected bay where the fish wouldn’t move.
We got back there on day two and the fish were still there. Saturday we didn’t have a fish in the boat until about noon. I knew there were fish there but we were having a tough time finding fish that were active. Then we actually pulled a 24-incher out of the weeds, so that definitely made our Saturday,” he said.
Hatala slowed his troll, running about 1.1 mph. “My rule of thumb is the tougher the bite, the slower you go. It doesn’t matter what time of year,” he said.
The team finished third in Team of the Year standings, and will be back next year.
“I love the AIM format. It attracts top-notch guys. I’m looking forward to it.”
Coming in at Third Place was David Kolb, Rockford, MI, and Robert Hoover, St. Clair Shores, MI, with 31.21 pounds, earning them $1,000.
Contact:Denny Fox, AIM National Tournament Director, 920-505-0122; [email protected]
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