Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 12, 2020
Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)
Mille Lacs Redux: Will It Take 40-Plus To Win? A Full Field Finds out Sunday in AWWS First Season Qualifier
A full, 100-boat field will be after that $9,000 first place check in the first AIM Weekend Walleye Series/ Warrior Boats Open Minnesota qualifier of the season Sunday, June 14, and it may just be a repeat of the AIM National Championship Shootout, just two weeks ago, as predictions are the winner will need 40-plus pounds to do it.
“The two-day AIM Shootout and that beautiful Warrior Boat combo was won with a gill plate-weight over 80 pounds,” said Denny Fox, AIM National Tournament Director. “We’re hearing it will probably take a one-day weight of more than 40 to bring home that $9,000 check that’s now awaiting the winner, plus that Side Pot for any team who wants in. Fan Nation and teams, let’s get it on! We’ll again be at McQuoid’s Inn, and at Mac’s Twin Bay, in Isle.”
One of the entrants doing so is Brent Knutson of Bemidji, who’s been on the water since Thursday. He said there is a boatload of 21- to 22-inch fish, but of course the key is finding those long ones that will do the deed.
“That year-class is amazing. It’s like catching panfish off the dock. The key is finding those 27-inch fish that were plentiful a couple of years ago. It’s been a shallow bite and we’ll see if that continues,” Knutson said. “It’s a challenge to find those 27-inch fish you’ll need to be in the top three or five.”
“My guess is it will be in the shallow rocks with jigging minnows or plastics, but I’m going to try everything possible and maybe something a little bit different. Right now, there are a couple of key spots that are holding big fish that I guarantee everybody knows about,” and because of that he’s hoping for a low-number draw on the start.
And, he doesn’t mind his chances. Everyone has the same chance to get picked first. “With AIM, it’s great, because it’s the luck of the draw” rather than when you enter, or another, less fair way to determine who throttles up first.
“Everybody loves the AIM format (especially its Catch-Record-Release™ rules,” he added. Especially on Mille Lacs, which has extremely restrictive regs. “You fish for big fish. You’re not there to catch numbers, just big fish. And putting them back. There’s nothing worse than killing those fish.”
Justin Schneider of Forest Lake will be pointing his Yamaha 300-powered boat rigged with a 12-inch Garmin LiveScope™ at several spots, including those famous Mille Lacs mid-lake mud flats. He feels that midweek’s winds may also affect the lake, even though things should be calmer Friday and Saturday, then potentially kick up again Sunday. “What effect that is going to have I don’t know. This one will definitely be interesting.”
“From what I’ve seen the mud is primed and ready to fire, but with the wind boat control is pretty tough. It appears we’ll have wind Friday and Saturday it will lay down and Sunday she’s gonna blow again, and the wind we have now will be entirely different than what we’ll have Sunday. So I wouldn’t be surprised if this is won anywhere on the lake at this point, Schneider said.
He expects fish to be transitioning to crawlers, and if Mille Lacs will let you get into mid-lake and the mud, that might be the place to play. “I think if the guys can get out on the mud, I expect you’ll see some really big weights, and they’re just starting to go there. It’s not a matter if we can get out there,” he said.
“It’s no secret that the mud holds some of the biggest fish in the system. It’s a matter of finding the right mud and fishing it effectively. Some flats are better than others and it changes all the time. I think the mid- to low-40s will put you right there.”
Daniel Baker of Vergas plans to throw the tackle box at the fish during pre-fishing, and hopes he finds those 10-pound average fish that he feels will be what it will take to win. He won when AIM visited Ottertail Lake a few years ago. He’s hoping to do it again here.
“Last year here I averaged nine pounds and barely got in the money. I think there will be a bunch of boats that will find the fish and I’m hoping I’m one of them.” He’ll be looking at targeting fish moving from the shallows to the mud.
“I think they’ll be a little closer to the mud when they’re leaving the sand and rock. Last year it was leeches and slip bobbers, so pre-fishing I’ll try everything. Going by last year it will be tough to beat, he said.
The action starts Sunday with boat inspections at 5:30 a.m. Both waves will leave from Mac’s Twin Bay starting at 7 a.m. First boats return starting at 3 p.m., and the unofficial results will be posted to AIM PRO WALLEYE SERIES facebook page at 6pm.
Tune in Sunday as AIM will be on the water with all the action posted on our Facebook page, where the eventual winner also will be announced for both events happening, one in Minnesota, the other next door in North Dakota. As we are still doing, please follow government guidelines regarding COVID-19, and stay tuned to our website as well for upcoming events, including the inaugural Quest For The Best on the upper Mississippi River Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20.
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, Berkley, Abu-Garcia, Fenwick, Navionics, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, AirWave Pedestals, Off Shore Tackle, Pro Chattrr, Quality Flow Systems, Gemini Sport Marketing, Oshkosh Visitors Bureau, Moonshine Lures Shiver Minnow, JT Outdoors Products, McQuoids Inn.