Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats Inc.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 30, 2023
Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)
It’s Game On At Green Bay As Full Field Assembles
For The AWWS 10th Anniversary And The Navionics Open
It may be rainy, it may be snowy and the river may be high, or maybe not, but YOU know what’s going to happen this coming Sunday, Fan Nation. The 2023 AIM Weekend Walleye Series season kicks off April 2 with the Navionics Open Wisconsin Division qualifier on the Fox River at Green Bay, leading off AIM’s 10th anniversary as the most conservation-minded walleye tournament series in history.
The 100-boat full field couldn’t be more stellar, and three of the teams that will be both in this event and joining 27 others at the June AIM National Championship Shootout are expecting that the annual April challenge this river holds will be full on, too.
“Are we ready? Roger that. Are the teams ready? You betcha. And are you out there in Fan Nation ready for the start of this historic 10th anniversary AIM season? I bet you are,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director. “This is truly a breakout year for AIM, for more than a couple of reasons.
“On top of AIM’s historic Catch-Record-ReleaseÔ rules that sparked a revolution in fish conservation that many tournaments have adopted, there’s that h-u-u-g-e jump in the AIM National Championship Shootout package, (read about that here).
“The Fox River event also marks the start of popping the previous lid on our payout structure, which you can read about in detail here. All this means that not only are we giving back to the communities we visit by not killing fish. We’re also giving more back to our teams,” Fox reminded.
“We’ll have a record purse at Green Bay, the first of many. Our entry fee went up $50 this year, but ALL of the added $50 goes right back to our team’s pockets. Every penny. So, $25 goes to the total event and $25 to the championship pot. That means $2,500 extra will be added to the previous $25,500 pot for a $28,000 total. We will now be paying down to 20th place,” Fox said.
“Add also to that pot the Yamaha Power Pay incentive of $750 bucks for the highest placing team powered by Yamaha, and Warrior Cash of $1,000 to the winner if they are in a Warrior boat, and $250 in captain’s cash from Power-Pole if their boat is so-equipped, and you’re talkin’ real money.”
“But right now, we’re talking Green Bay. For the 100 teams here now, right now is what matters. And right now, the weather may determine who strikes first at this first divisional qualifier of the year. The upstream limit here will be different than in past years. The DNR sets an upstream limit that allows a bit more access to the spawning grounds than our anglers liked, so we moved it downstream a couple hundred yards. Through a survey over the winter, it was very evident that our anglers overwhelmingly supported the move. And we agreed, because we’re a company run by anglers, for anglers.
“We’ve picked three teams who qualified for this June’s Shootout to preview our first event of the season, and as we go along, we’ll highlight even more Shootout qualifiers. They deserve it,” Fox said.
With the prospect of rapid snowmelt from all what fell—up to 20 inches of snow upstream– last weekend combined with predictions of midweek rain, some teams may just be heading to the lake side of the Green Bay Metro Launch when this rumble gets rolling, said Curt Stam. Stam, who along with Adam Halder of Winneconne will be on the water starting around Wednesday in their Mercury 400 Verado-powered and all Garmin-equipped boat. Will they find clear, or milky water?
“This year’ll be different than most just because of the runoff we’re going to get in the next few days,” he said on Sunday. “We just got hit with a bunch of snow and it’s melting, and we’re supposed to get rain this week and if that’s the case it might be a really tough bite.
“If there’s a lot of clean water that’s great. It might be a different deal if it gets really dirty. If it does there will be teams fishing in the bay,” he said. “The bay is pretty well open.
“AIM also moved the boundaries back, so that eliminates some of the casting areas where a third of the field would normally fish. I never fished that as it was just too busy,” he continued.
Starting pre-fishing, he said, he’ll have everything aboard. “We’ll be doing everything from jigging hair jigs to blade baits, flipping flies, live bait, we’ll have it all.”
Joining them will be another Shootout qualifying team from Wisconsin, Ryan Mereness and Justin Heider from Oshkosh, who’ll be in a Merc 300 Verado-powered boat, with Garmin electronics up front.
Mereness has been fishing AIM since it began, and the upcoming Shootout will be their first. But again, their focus is on the Fox Sunday.
‘I think Sunday will be really interesting with all this new snowfall,” Mereness said. “We’re anticipating the water will stay cold and it could get pretty dirty pretty fast. We’ll see what happens this week.”
Mereness has fished the river the last few weekends and water temperatures hovered around 38. Still, they caught fish.
“So we’re excited. This is an event that we do fairly well in. My guess is that 41 or 41-1/2 pounds will win. I think there’s a lot of fish in the river now,” he said.
Another Shootout qualifier, Mike Kasper, agrees, but feels that dirty water may not be an issue come Sunday. He lives about 25 minutes from the area in Shiocton, and he and partner AJ Schmidt of Fremont have seen a lot of fish in the system. They’ll be moving with Mercury 300 Pro XS power and yup, Garmin electronics.
“The bite seems to be pretty good. There are definitely a lot of fish in the system. We’ve caught them vertical jigging, live bait casting and with plastics. If you have a strong technique here, you can usually catch fish. But every day is different. Unless we get another big rain, I don’t know that the clarity will be a factor, but you never know,” Kasper said.
The snow put a damper on water temps. Ice is going out on the bay so that’s starting to take shape. With temperatures this week in the upper 30s and colder overnight it might come up a little, but I don’t think there will be any kind of fast rise,” he said. “This tournament usually has to break 40 pounds to win and I think that’ll hold true this year.”
Fan Nation, and all you teams sitting out the fun that the field will have on the Fox because you don’t think you’ve got “it:” There are still plenty of slots open as the Wisconsin season progresses. Don’t let this shot pass you by. As Eminem says, lose yourself to the moment. Let go of that fear. Enter. To learn more about how you can, go to the AIM website, aimfishing.com, for details on how you can register to get in on AIM’s four divisions. Watch for the latest at AIM’s Facebook site.
You know you want to. You know you can.
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 inc.
AIM Supporting Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Garmin, Navionics, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, Off Shore Tackle, Gemini Sport Marketing, Moonshine Lures Shiver Minnow, JT Outdoors Products, McQuoids Inn, Rosemore Outdoor Gear, Outdoor Authority MN, Island Bar and Grill, Bait Box on the Rock, Oconto County WI.