Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats Inc.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Aug. 18, 2022
Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)
One Down, Two To Go, Hey Minnesota, Are You Up For
A ‘Superior’ AIM Weekend Walleye Series Championship?
Well, Fan Nation, we’ve already told you a lot about what’s at stake this weekend, when the 2022 AIM Weekend Walleye Series Mercury Marine Minnesota Championship takes to the water Friday (Aug. 19) on Lake Superior in Duluth. Now it’s game on in water that can be kind, productive, or stingy and ornery. Our teams are ready and on the water, picking Superior apart. Are you ready for what may be a real nail-biter right down to the last fish recorded Saturday?
“You can use all the superlatives in the dictionary, and it doesn’t describe the excitement built up around this. The proof will be in Duluth starting Friday,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director. “Who will win? There’s a lot on the line, from Team Of The Year, to who actually bests those Superior waldos, to who qualifies for next year’s National Championship Shootout.”
And from the three teams we spoke to at midweek, sounds like a repeat of Winnebago. Some have found fish scattered, but at least one was happy.
The last time AIM docked in The Twin Ports city, Jason Betzler of Princeton, and partner Mike Christensen of Minneapolis, yes, Kansas, not the other one, won it all at the 2021 qualifier. That was in August also. So how they doin’ this August in their Mercury 400 Verado-powered platform? They’ve been on the water looking since Saturday. Yup, that long.
“It feels like forever,” Betzler laughed. “We’re catching fish but it’s tough to find big fish and land’em. We’re pulling cranks, a lot of lead core on the south shoreline. It just seems to be holding the majority of fish at this point in the season. It’s kind of a seasonal migration.”
“You find spots where you catch everything, but it’s just that the spots can be far and few between,” he added. What’s his forecast for this two-day on the big water?
I’d say in that 50 or 55 range for a two-day total. We’ll see if some others start to dial in other presentations, the weights could be higher.” And, they could run higher because of the “tech factor.” With Garmin Panoptix LiveScope on the scene, he said, fish can’t hide anymore from that game-changing equipment, which at least one muskie tournament series has banned.
There’s that view, and then there’s this view from Destry Foyte of Hastings, who’ll head out come Friday with partner Brad Jenkins of Owatonna. They’ll be on the water up to and including the day before push-off from Rices Point Landing. We caught up with him as he loaded up his Yamaha-powered boat to try another area closer to Duluth. Today will find him checking out more spots.
“Fishing’s been good,” Foyte said. “Lots of fish with lots of different techniques, so there are fish to be found.” He’s been dragging live bait on the south, or Wisconsin side of Superior since Sunday afternoon. Is he concerned about the forecast for wind to pick up Friday afternoon? Meh, he said. “I don’t believe so, but on tournament day it’s not been a friend. We’ve had fish for three or four days before and on tournament day it changes and we’re scrambling,” he said.
He’s predicting a 40-pound average both days. “As close as it’s been this year and what Superior can put out, it’s going to be in the 40s. A team with 70 should push into the top five. There’ll be some big weights,” Foyte said, and he’s hoping he and Jenkins are one.
Which brings us to Ken Walters from Walker, who’s fishing with Tim Milo of Montevideo in their 2090 Warrior with Garmin among the electronics aboard. Walters has hit the water since Tuesday, and reports that he’s finding scattered fish on the lake, but he’s liking the St. Louis River so far. They’re pulling cranks and spinners with bottom bouncers.
“We’ve pre-fished the river some and now in the main lake. The fish are kind of spread out so we’re pulling cranks and spinner rigs. You have to cover water. We’re finding a few decent fish but a lot of smaller fish,” Walters said. Day One should be good, weather-wise, but Saturday’s predicted winds gusting to 15 mph.
“That won’t be an issue for getting onto the lake, especially since we’re running a Warrior,” he chuckled. Walters also said to look for 40 pounds daily to be in the podium line.
Okay, Fan Nation, there’s the run up to the run for the Minnesota championship. Note that we never even mentioned who else is in the lineup. Including one team headed by “that guy” from Moorhead, and that “other guy” from Grand Rapids. They’ll be at the 7 a.m. start Friday and Saturday, too. Which makes this one all that more interesting. Stay tuned to this channel, Fan Nation. It’s time to play!
Teams meet for registration and rules tonight online. Boat inspections begin at 5:30 a.m. both days. The Day One standings will post to face book about 6pm. Day 2’s final awards will take place at Rice Point Landing in Duluth at 5pm Saturday. Good luck all teams!
Sign up next spring when events open up at AIM’s Facebook page, and keep following the page for all the action from Minnesota this weekend and North Dakota next week. Just go to the AIM website, aimfishing.com, for details on how you can get in on this in 2023.
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, Marinette, WI, Explore Alexandria, Rosemore Outdoor Gear, Outdoor Authority