Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 8, 2018
Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)
Plan On Lots Of Action, And A 25- To 35-Pound Bag To Win Sunday’s AIM Warrior Boats Open On Mille Lacs
Contrary to what you may have heard, there are LOTS of walleyes in Minnesota’s Mille Lacs, so many that it’s predicted by two entrants that it’ll take from 25 to 35 pounds to win Sunday’s AIM Weekend Walleye Series Warrior Boats /Warrior Boats Center Open on Sunday.
And because our sources say there are plenty of fish 25-inches or more to share, the awards ceremony could see some close battles for each place on this lake which, for the last three seasons, has seen a Minnesota DNR-imposed catch-release only rule to boost the ‘eye population, especially smaller fish. That, of course, doesn’t bother AIM anglers one bit, thanks to AIM’s Catch-Record-Release™ format.
“Whatever you fancy, you can do it here on this, the state’s second-largest inland lake,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director. “You can fish the reefs. There are mud flats on the north and there are rock and gravel shoreline breaks on the south. If you can catch walleye, and all these teams can, you’ll be good and in the running Sunday.”
Two anglers among the 200 competing in a full, 100-boat field on Sunday both expect good bags. One’s familiar with the lake, the other is about to be.
Dannie Burkholder, from Princeton, Minnesota (MN), operator of Outdoor Authority Guide Service, has fished AIM tourneys three years, and spent the last nine days or so on the lake with his Yamaha 250-powered boat. He’s predicting it will take a solid one-day weight to win.
I’m gonna guess it’s going to take over 35 pounds to win this,” Burkholder said. “The lake’s got a whole lot of 25-inch-plus age class fish going right now. You can go almost anywhere on the lake and get a 25-incher.
“You can throw a leech down, a crawler, a spottail, and you can catch walleyes,” he adds. Being in the right place at the right time may be a different story, however.
“I talked with another local on the lake and he landed over five 28s in the night, so it can be done. I’d realistically take five over 26 inches,” he says. And, he’s betting on live bait to get’em. “I know for a fact on last Sunday when it was windy, I put up 31 pounds, according to AIM’s rules.
“I’m pretty sure it’ll be live bait. Everything I’ve done is live bait so far. I’ve been dragging leeches, crawlers and pitching shiners for my guide trips,” he says.
Mille Lacs has got a very healthy ‘eye population, Burkholder says. “The age class of bigger fish is there but the problem is they’re missing a lot of the younger age class. You can go up on the shallows and get a bunch of cookie cutters, but once you hit 25, you’ll have a ton of them.”
“If we get a bit of a walleye chop, there’s going to be a lot of 20 or 25-pound bags. There’s no reason there should be any zeros in my opinion. My buddy went out there towards evening recently and he landed 84 walleye on bobbers. The fish are there, they’re hungry, and it’s just going to be are you there with the right presentation when they’re hungry,” Burkholder says.
On the other side of the coin come Sunday will be Adam Braatz, from South Haven, MN. He’s never been on the lake, but is ready to track down fish with his Mercury Optimax-powered boat.
I’m used to fishing lakes similar to this, but have never been on it. I’ll on the water Friday and Saturday,” Braatz says. And from what he’s heard, he agrees with Burkholder’s assessment: live, squiggly things will be the way to go.
“The fish should be fairly active. It looks like we may have some storms roll in on Friday, so depending on the severity it may or may not affect what the fish will do. But I’m expecting the bite to be really good,” he adds.
He’s also heard good things about that 25-inch year class and because of that, he’s expecting Sunday afternoon’s finish to be close.
“It should be really, really close, and big weights. It’s a big body of water. I feel like the water temperature has been trending very warm for the time of year. Ice-out was a week before the opener and since it went off, the temps have been warming faster so it’s helping to progress things to a normal pattern, or maybe even accelerating.”
That’ll be known on Sunday afternoon, when teams await the countdown to the winner of $8,000 for first, at Mac’s Twin Bay Resort on the lake in Isle, MN, beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday’s team registration and rules meeting takes place starting at 5 p.m. at McQuoid’s Inn, also in Isle.
Sunday, boat inspections are at Mac’s starting at 5:30 a.m., and teams can launch at the spot of their choice, with 50-boat flights out at 7 and 7:15 a.m., returning at 3 and 3:15 p.m.
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, LLC.
AIM Supporting Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Nitro Boats, Garmin, Navionics, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, AirWave Pedestals, Off Shore Tackle, Vibrations Tackle, Pro Chattrr, Gemini Sport Marketing, Treeland Resort, Anglers Avenue, Moonshine Lures Shiver Minnow, JT Outdoors Products, Fox River Lures and Rods, Bismarck Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau