Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats Inc.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 6, 2022
Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)
Peotter, Englebert Pop Second In A Row: 42.89 Pounds To Open AIM Wisconsin Season On Fox River At Green Bay
What can you say? The second time in a row on the Fox River, and in the same spot, using the same baits, Dylan Peotter and Anthony Englebert pulled a two-repeat at Green Bay for both the AIM Weekend Walleye Series 2022 season opener and the Wisconsin Division Navionics Open, crushing the field by more than four pounds and taking home $11,200.
“They didn’t only pull a repeat out of a cold river,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director. “They picked up $9,000 in a full 100-boat field, plus $2,200 in side pot money, and those coveted first place points to put them in the lead in the Wisconsin Division for Yamaha Team Of The Year. How’d they do it? By being observant, heading to that same spot, and being more than a bit lucky.”
Peotter, from Kaukauna, and Englbert, from Little Chute, checked out the lower Bay of Green Bay, where the ice had opened up during pre-fishing. Not much doing there. So when they drew ninth in the boat position draw, they knew what to do: head up river in their boat, and use their Garmin Livescope among the electronics to score that back-to-back win.
“It was pretty exciting. Sunday was probably by far our best day ever in the river. For the river it would be my personal best,” Peotter said. “We actually fished the same spot we did last year, up by the dam, on the rocks. We were casting pretty close to the boundary line, Rippin’ Raps, blade baits, and live bait. It was kind of a mix of everything.”
“We actually didn’t pre-fish that spot. We heard the lake opened up from our partner boats and we spent a decent amount of time Friday there and then came back into the river.
“Saturday the ice blew out of the bay so we were able to check more out. We spent almost the whole day trying to make a program out there. Typically the lake is much better this time of year but we just couldn’t get something dialed in,” Peotter said. They headed into the river to see what they could see. Sweet move, you two.
“Pre-fishing we caught somewhere around 20 or 30 walleyes but the biggest were 24-1/2 and 25. Other than that, everything was much smaller, 14 to 22,” he said.
“We happened to do some vertical jigging and basically hope for a good boat draw and go try by the dam. We did stop by there Friday but couldn’t get to where we wanted,” he said. Too many boats already in the spot they wanted.
“We did catch two but we were pretty far from where we wanted to be. Other tournament boats were fishing in that exact spot and we didn’t try. If it was open when we got there Sunday,” that’s where they’d be. Guess what? Yup.
“We were fortunate enough to get boat Number Nine for the start. We were Number One last year. As soon as we knew our draw, that was the plan. We were actually the first tournament boat to get up there. Right after, it started to fill in,” he said. They were right on target from the start.
“Our first fish Anthony caught on the third cast with a Rapala Rippin’ Rap. I didn’t even have my rod in my hand. I was still setting up the boat. It was a 28-1/2. It actually happened last year as well. We had a 27 then and this year a 28-1/2. It builds your confidence. From there, we actually saw a boat next to us not part of the tournament catching fish. They had three to our one. That was in about 15 to 20 minutes of catching fish,” Peotter explained.
So, when in Rome, or in this case, Green Bay, do as they do. Watch the other boat and mimic them. That did it.
“We ended up putting more in the boat by watching their jig cadence. Our next was a 26-incher. That came around 25 or 30 minutes into the tournament. Around 9:30 we got our fifth fish. So we had them pretty quickly. Our first five, we had two 28-inchers, a 26 and two 19-inchers. We were already pretty happy with that. As the day went on, we slowly upgraded. Our last was around 1:30, a 25-3/4, and we ended up leaving by 2 p.m.,” he said. Why?
“Denny (Denny Fox) was asked by local authorities to observe the normal summer time slow no wake area from the Mason Street Bridge to the launch. When you do that you don’t have all the boats at the dam at 7 a.m.,” he said. It also slows your return.
“On the way up, it took 35 minutes and on the way back 45 because we had to slow for local anglers. We got back with 16 minutes to spare.
“It’s a great feeling to start off the season like this. I feel like we did very well on the weight difference. The next (second place, below) team was four pounds less and points-wise that could play a key role in the season,” Peotter said.
Next tournament? Well, the next in Wisconsin, at least, is April 24 in Winneconne.
“This will be our third year of fishing AIM. The first year there we took third and last year we really did bad. We used the wrong bump board for our first three fish and basically had to start the tournament over around 10:30, so hopefully we can finish strong in this one as well,” he said.
Finishing in second were Ryan Mereness of Appleton and Justin Heider from Oshkosh. They nailed 38.81 pounds, good for a $3,500 check. They too fished the river in their 300 Mercury Verado and Garmin-equipped boat.
“We didn’t pre-fish super long because we were very familiar with the bite,” Mereness said. “One interesting thing is the water was a lot colder than normal. This year it was in the mid-30s. A couple of days before it was almost down to freezing so we knew it was going to be a different bite. We made it a point not to put too much stock into what happened earlier in the week.
“We hopped around to different spots pre-fishing that we knew held big fish. We found them Saturday and caught a couple of upper 20s fish and planned to stay on that pod all day Sunday. We were north of the 172 bridge (Wisconsin Highway 172) going towards the dam, fishing the channel,” Mereness continued.
“The big thing was staying on the pod. The fish weren’t everywhere. They were in an area a little bigger than a football field. We were vertical jigging a variety of baits, plastic, minnows. The first fish in the morning were like the low 20s. The first decent ones were about a 24-1/4 incher and upper 24s, then we got back on the big pod and ended with a 26-1/2, another one, a 26-3/4 and then a 28-3/4. We rounded out the card on our last pass with a 26-1/2 and a 25,” he said.
“It worked out that it was a great day, a lot of fun,” Mereness said, adding to look out for him and Heider at Winneconne coming up in late April. “We fish it a ton in spring. I live on Lake Butte des Morts. There’s fish everywhere here. You can literally catch fish from New London down, but you’ve really got to put the puzzle together there.”
Here’s how the rest of the top five came in:
In third were Marcel Cardinal and Russ Ory, both of Fremont. They recorded 35.57 pounds, for a $2,800 check and second place side pot money for $1,320. In fourth were BJ Prokopiak of Rhinelander and Brent Hellpap of Marshfield. They went home with $1,400 after landing 34.58 pounds. Fifth place and $1,300, plus third place side pot cash totaling $880 went to Terry Mayhall of Waukesha and Jarod Mayhall of Greenfield for 34.16 pounds on their Catch-Record-Release™ card.
Now, moving west to Minnesota, AIM’s next event is that state’s opener, the Warrior Boats/The Boat Center Open, on the Mississippi River at Hager City, Wisconsin, with the Bluffs Bar and Grill and Mr. Sippi’s on the water as the local sponsor. We’ll preview that event in a few days.
Meantime, welcome back, Minnesota, Fan Nation and all anglers. We’re glad you’re here. Time to rock again next Sunday, April 10. Who’s going to solve the puzzle there? A dedicated “river rat,” or someone else? We’ll see.
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.
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