For Immediate Release, April 22, 2015
Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp. USA and Warrior Boats:
Jobes, Wilson, Win AIM Weekend Walleye Series First Great Lakes Division “Starcraft Marine Open”
A bit of sparkle, a splash of bling. It’s sometimes what it takes to get a female interested, and, it was exactly what it took for the team of Max Wilson and Zak Jobes to take home first place and $2,325 in the inaugural qualifier tournament of the AIM Great Lakes Division Weekend Walleye Series Starcraft Marine Open Sunday on the rain- and wind-whipped Detroit River.
Fishing the river’s Canadian side in Jobes’ Mercury-powered Starcraft STX2050—making Starcraft Marine, AIM’s newest sponsor, extremely pleased— the pair notched a five-fish mega-bag of pre-spawning female walleye totaling 52.02 pounds. They won by less than a pound from their closest competitors, David Kolb of Rockford, MI and Robert Hoover of St. Clair Shores, MI, in the 29-boat field. Kolb and Hoover, with a 51.46-pound total was taken with jigs with minnows and plastic worms in both the U.S and Canadian waters. The team went home with $1,500.
Jobes and Wilson’s tourney sounds more like a Cinderella story than illustrating the work that went into their win. Jobes, from Barberton, Ohio, and Wilson, from Wales, Wis., connected over Facebook and decided to fish in back-to-back Michigan tournaments that concluded with the AWWS “Starcraft Marine Open”. And they learned that having fun is often the best way to be successful.
Coming from that other tournament a few miles north, where they hadn’t done well, Wilson said that they were about as discouraged as two anglers could get.
“Coming down the day before, from that other tournament, I remember Zak saying that we couldn’t seem to win for losing; that whatever we did, it was never quite enough. So, we just decided to go out and have fun. And the next day, we go out and win one, our very first. We went from the lowest of low to the highest of high in 24 hours. It was so cool.”
“I’ve never fished this river before in my life, so Sunday was my first full day, and Zak spent two days pre-fishing, but neither of us had fished the river since the Wednesday before the tournament, and a lot can happen with changing conditions,” said Wilson.
They used ½- and 5/8-ounce chartreuse and firetiger Lance Valentine “Thump” jigs tipped with now-legendary Wyandotte Worms in sparkle black color, with a stinger hook attached. Jigging style was semi-aggressive, ripping them up, but allowing them to slowly settle back to the bottom, triggering those big females into attack mode as they held in eddy water, out of the river’s current.
Fishing the Canadian side exclusively, the duo ran five or six miles upriver, just downstream from the river landmark known as “hole in the wall,” Jobes said, concentrating on 14- to 22-feet of water.
“We’d heard good reports about fish caught by a yacht club,” Wilson said. “We started fishing just up from the club by a large pack of boats and saw a lot of fish caught. We also knew it was important to hit the morning bite. If you didn’t have fish by 10 a.m. you were in trouble.”
They worked their way downstream a bit, where they struck paydirt. “By 10:30 we had four fish over 28 inches, and we knew by then we needed one really good fish, and we popped one about 29,” Jobes related. “With one hour left, we had those five over 28, and we finally got one that was 29½.” “That last fish is what won it for us,” Wilson added.
The “Thump” jig, made for river use, they agreed, was one of the keys, along with that “snap, then slow” technique. “The jigs have a current-cutting shape, and when you jig up, they dart to the side, giving them a wounded baitfish look,” Wilson explained. The technique, they felt, got a fish’s attention, and they couldn’t resist that slow drop. The ‘eyes always hit on the drop, they said. “These fish were really big and plumped up with spawn. They don’t want to move a lot. This time of year you’ll find the females resting in slow current areas and eddies. Our jigging move got their attention, so they reacted and hit it when it fell,” he explained.
“I couldn’t believe how big these fish were. I had at least one other that was probably 30 inches that got off under the boat,” Jobes added.
Both anglers also praised AIM’s Catch-Record-Release™ format.
“I really like it because it really takes all the pressure off you,” Jobes said. “And, you get to catch these huge fish and get to watch 10-pound walleyes full of eggs swim away. It was very cool.”
The top five, their weights, and purses, rounded out this way:
Third Place: Rick Ustishen New, Lothrop, MI, and Kal Ustishen, Chesaning, MI. 49.29lbs, $1,000.
Fourth Place: Josh Gordon, Au Gres, MI, John O’Reilly, Wyandotte, MI, 48.71lbs, $800.
Fifth Place: Nicholas Werner, Bay Of Quinte, ON., Shane Turcotte, Sault Ste Marie, ON., 46.81lbs, $500.
Stay tuned Thursday, when the first Navionics BIG FISH THURSDAY winner is announced!
Contact: Denny Fox, AIM National Tournament Director, 920-505-0122; email@example.com
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