Armed with a “yet-to-be-released” prototype lure from Berkley and a life-time of walleye fishing knowledge on his side, Hall of Fame angler and veteran walleye legend, TNB’s own Gary Parsons of Glidden, WI along with long-time friend and fellow Nitro Boats walleye pro Chris Hansen of Saint Michael, MN, pulled off a dramatic “come-from-behind” performance to win this year’s Angler Insight Marketing event on the Bay of Green Bay out of Oconto, WI.
Scoring their best 7-fish each day and accumulating a total weight for the 3 day event of 137.13 pounds, Gary explained, “I’ve had some good history on Green Bay over the years. It’s a body of water that really tests your walleye finding and catching ability as well as the durability of both your body and your equipment at times.” And according to Gary, equipment played a key role in the victory, “This Nitro ZV21 has really changed the game for me this season. I really feel like I’m back in a boat I am confident in to get me to the right fish, provide me the ultimate in boat control, and get me back to the ramp safely and without incident.”
Confidence in the winning presentation also was a major factor, as Parsons and company were trolling a new crankbait from Berkley that is still, as of now, in the “R&D” stages of development. “The cat is now out of the bag.” Gary stated, “there were several other anglers in the same area we were and they all saw the numbers of fish we were catching compared to every other presentation.” So what’s the new lure? Word is we will all know later this season when Berkley releases the lure to the public.
This was the second consecutive year the unique “Pro-Partner Draw” tournament was hosted by the city of Oconto, a popular angling destination on the bay. Anglers signed up for the event as two person Pro/Partner teams that were then “teamed up” with a different co-angler who was drawn for them each day of the 3-day event. This unique format allows the pro anglers the chance to fish with another pro partner of their own choosing. The co-anglers loved the format too because instead of drawing three different pros, they were lucky to gain the experience and knowledge from six different pros over a three day period. In AIM’s “CRR” format, anglers do not bring fish in for a “traditional” weigh-in, but rather Catch, Record, and Release their fish, meaning as each fish is caught it is measured, photographed and released. All the anglers bring to the weigh-in are their score cards showing their longest 7 fish for that day and the memory card from their camera with the verifying photos from their catches. Fish lengths are then entered by tournament officials into computers that convert the lengths to weight and then those weights are what determine the standings. Like all the AIM anglers involved, Gary’s partner for this event, Chris Hansen, had nothing but positive things to say regarding the AIM CRR format, “This was my first experience with the AIM CRR format and I must say I am so impressed! This is the only format where no matter where you fish; you can swing for the fences and go for the biggest fish every day regardless of any slot limits or restrictions because no fish are ever taken out of the system. This really allows for the best anglers to rise to the top at each event and is the future of competitive walleye fishing in my opinion.”
Gary was also quick to thank all three of the Co-Anglers he was paired with for this event, (Day 1 – George Zahorik, Day 2 – Bernard Blohm, and Day 3 – Wade Engebretson) proclaiming all three as great anglers and wonderful guys to share the boat with.
The rest of the TNB crew competing in this event also fared quite well with Gary’s son Chase Parson’s and partner Mike Vorderstrasse taking 5th with 123.57 pounds and Keith Kavajecz with his son Mike taking 8th Place honors with a 3-day tally of 117.31 pounds.
Gary’s sponsors include: Mary Parsons (his wife), Tracker/Nitro Boats, Bass Pro Shops, Mercury Outboards, MotorGuide Electric Motors, Berkley Soft Baits, Berkley Lines, Berkley Hard Baits, AMSOIL, Lowrance Electronics, Mustad Hooks, Off Shore Tackle, Smooth Moves Suspension Seat Mounts, EGO Nets, Clam Ice Fishing, Cisco Fishing Systems, Woodoo Customs, Strike King, AIM (Anglers Insight Marketing), and The Next Bite Media