The quest for the Championship will begin on Friday for anglers fishing the AIM Weekend Walleye Series (AWWS) Divisional State “Alumacraft Championship” on Minnesota’s famed Lake Winnibigoshish. Forty-four qualified teams will be searching Lake Winnie’s sprawling 64,000 acres for the right bites with the winning team to receive a new Alumacraft boat and Yamaha engine.

“The first year of the AIM Weekend Walleye Series has been such a success, with full Qualifier fields and happy anglers,” said Michelle Trudeau, Brand Manager of Alumacraft boats. “Alumacraft is very proud to be a part of it!” The prize boat for the State Championship is an Alumacraft Escape 165 Tiller powered by a 40hp Yamaha which is a perfect 16 foot fishing boat for nearly every application.  It features a livewell, rod storage and an excellent fishing layout. “Alumacraft is dedicated to doing our part to help grow the sport and truly believe in AIM’s Catch-Record-Release (CRR) process.”

Also at stake is the Amsoil AWWS Minnesota “Team of the Year” title. Currently leading the race is the father and son team of John and Drake Herd. With a first place finish at Ottertail Lake and consecutive third place finishes at back-to-back Leech Lake events, the team has accumulated a total of 561.61 points.

“We’ve put in a lot of hard work prefishing,” said John. “We were at Otter Tail for eight days and really had the fish dialed in. We also put in a lot of time at Leech. We just keep trying until we find something that works.”

Drake credited much of the team’s success to their equipment. “This is the second year that we have run a Warrior 2090 tiller, which has given us an advantage in boat control and allows us to precisely fish our spots.”

While it feels good to be in the lead and have a bit of a cushion in points, the team realizes that they have their work cut out for them. “We’re not going to sit back and relax,” said Drake. John added, “The guys we fish against are really good. Any one of them can catch up to us. Even though we work hard, you need a little luck too.”

Scott Perala and Steve Whiting are currently sitting in second place in the Amsoil Team of the Year race with 526.83 points. They captured second place finishes at Ottertail Lake and Leech Lake.

“It feels good to be in the running for the team of the year and we are looking forward to the Championship. It should be a good tournament,” said Perala. Versatility has been the key to their success, along with good decisions on tournament day. He believes that many presentations could be in play this week including trolling cranks on lead core and rigging and jigging with livebait.

Jarvis Keney and Tommy Skarlis are holding on to third place with 511.93 points propelled by a win at the Leech Lake Wild Card tournament, but are unable to attend the Championship due to other commitments.

Adam Andersen and Jason Evenson are in fourth place with 506.06 points. “While we hope we can make Team of the Year, it would be a long reach. We would love to see Team Herd get it,” said Andersen. “It has been a great year for us. Having a Warrior boat has played an important role in our tournament success this season.”

Rounding out the top five are the father and son team of Ross and Reid Grothe who have 499.24 points. Ross started out the season with his primary goals being introducing his seven year old son to tournament fishing, along with supporting AIM and gaining exposure for major sponsor Yamaha Outboards. “We happened to have a lot of success. We also had some unfortunate circumstances with netting and touchy bites,” he laughed. “But we’re here to have fun. If it works out we will embrace it. If not, it is a great time for the whole family to spend a week together fishing. My wife and younger son will be cheering us on.”

Take-off will be at 7:00am from Denny’s Resort and boats will return at 3:00pm each day. Teams will total the converted weight from the five largest fish on their scorecards.

The awards ceremony will take place at 5pm on Saturday August 9th at the Gosh Dam Place in Deer River, MN, where the winning team will be awarded the Alumacraft/Yamaha boat package. The Amsoil AWWS Minnesota Team of the Year winner will also be announced.

Teams finishing in the “Top 5” at the Championship as well as the “Top 5” finishers in the Amsoil “Team of the Year” race will qualify to fish in the Warrior Boats “Border Battle Shootout” in the spring of 2015. Qualifying teams will fish for a chance to win a brand new Warrior 1898 DC powered by a 150hp Yamaha outboard engine.

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


AIM Marketing Partners: Yamaha Marine, Warrior Boats, Alumacraft Boats, Nitro Boats, Mercury Marine, Navionics, Amsoil, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, Team Lodge, Gemini Sport Marketing, National Fleet Graphics, and The City of Oconto.

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