Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 5, 2019
Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)
It’s Anything Goes In Sunday’s AIM Minnesota
Qualifier On Leech Lake For 99-Boat Field
Missed it by that much (100, that is), but the nearly full field on Minnesota’s Leech Lake Sunday will find a hot bite and lots of choices depending on where they go when they hit the water Sunday (July 7) for the AIM Weekend Walleye Series Warrior Boats/Musky House Open, third stop in the Minnesota AIM qualifier series.
“The monsters of Leech are ready for us, and we’re told there are some mighty toothy, mighty hungry critters in this huge, wind-driven bay-filled lake,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director. “Leech is ready to give’em up, and predictions are it could take 48 pounds to take home that first-place check, and those all-important Team Of The Year points.”
Among the 99 getting the “Go” Sunday in his Mercury 300 Verado-powered boat will be the team headed by Mitch Hackenmueller of Zimmerman, MN, who guides on the lake and has a place on the west side in Steamboat Bay. He says a 28-inch average may be needed on your scorecard to win. And he’s gunning for that top spot.
He’s been pre-fishing since Tuesday with his two-year-old daughter, an apparent future AIM angler who loves to be in the boat with her dad. “She’s been in the boat pre-fishing every day, but Friday and Saturday will start my 10-hour days in the boat” hunting for the spots that will win it.
“We’re on good fish right now,” Hackenmueller said, of course without saying where. That’ll be known perhaps on Sunday afternoon. But, he added, you want to fish the weeds? They’re there. How about shallow? Yup. Trolling flats? That too.
“You can pick your poison on this body of water with the different bays and styles of fishing. Fishing’s been good,” Hackenmueller said, with a tone of obvious confidence that he knows what presentations he and his teammate will be trying Sunday.
“Leech sets up like four lakes in one. Bug hatches keep happening in different parts. It’s been hot with very little wind and this lake really likes wind to make the fish bite. When the wind comes up it pushes the plankton up, which pushes the bait fish up, and the big predators (read: walleye) follow,” he added.
Leech’s current slot regs of four fish total, one over 20 inches ain’t no big thing to AIM because of the Catch-Record-Release™ format. With AIM, biggest bag takes it.
This is Hackenmueller’s fourth season with AIM, and that format is the reason he’s in it. “The format, 100 percent. C-R-R is definitely it. The best anglers win, because there’s not as much luck involved. I like to know we’re looking for big fish and don’t have to guess, ’should I hang onto this 19-inch or 19-1/2 inch?’”
You can bet from the way he’s speaking that B-I-G will be the rule of the day Sunday.
“I think you’re going to need between 45 and 48 pounds to win. There’s definitely big ones here, and you’ll have to be definitely close to a 28-inch average to win.”
Chris Biermaier of Merrifield agrees. He’s hoping to rig his way to what he feels will be the weight he needs. But he’s either got something working against him, or for him, on Leech. He can’t pre-fish it for even one cast in his Mercury 225 four-stroke-pushed Warrior 2090. Often, that’s a positive.
“I’ll be going in blind. I probably fish Leech five times a year and I’ve not been on it this year, but I think the bite’s going to be good and it will take at least 45 pounds to win it,” Biermaier said. Since the field takes off from Walker Bay, he’s looking for a lot to stay there, at least initially.
“A lot will be trying Walker Bay before they move into the main lake,” he said. And, he also agrees with Hackenmueller, that it’ll be a free-for-all out there for techniques this time of year.
“A lot will be pulling crawlers, and others will be Lindying big chubs. Pulling crawlers, the more ground you cover the more fish you will come across,” he said. What’ll he use? Big bait equals big fish, so he’ll be monstering up with minnows up to nine inches, tied into a Lindy rig.
“Hopefully the bites I get will be the five right ones,” Biermaier said.
This is his third season of fishing the AIM circuit, and he likes the challenge of a big tournament, and Catch-Record-Release™.
“I really do like the format. It’s the wave of the future for all these tournaments. The big thing I don’t like about others is you have to babysit your fish all day. You’re constantly checking that fish all day long. With AIM, you take a picture and throw it back and you don’t have to worry about it,” he said.
AIM’s third Minnesota qualifier of the season kicks off at 5 p.m. Saturday with team registration and rules meeting at Bluewater Lodge, right on Walker Bay, where many tournaments have been won. Sunday, both boat flights leave from Chase on the Lake, also on Walker Bay, starting with boat inspections at 5:30 a.m. The first flight takes off at 7 a.m., the second at 7:15. The first flight is due back at 3 p.m.
Follow Sunday’s action via Garmin Fish & Hunt with updates through the day at our Facebook page. The awards ceremony starts at 5 p.m. at Bluewater Lodge. Visit our website for information on all AIM tournaments and how to register for all AIM events.
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, Garmin, Navionics, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, AirWave Pedestals, Off Shore Tackle, Bismarck Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau, Marinette WI, Pro Chattrr, Missouri Secrets Tackle, Gemini Sport Marketing, Anglers Avenue pro shop, Moonshine Lures Shiver Minnow, JT Outdoors Products, Fox River Lures and Rods.