Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats Inc.


Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)


The Devil You Say: Yes, We Do, As AWWS 2023 Season Pt. 2

Begins Sunday On North Dakota’s Devils Lake


Barely a month plus a few days after the AIM Weekend Walleye Series National Championship Shootout, AIM’s 2023 season Part Two kicks into overdrive with a double-header, one of which is the always intimidating visit to North Dakota’s Warrior Boats/Mild2Wild Open on Devils Lake for the state’s fourth and final qualifier of the season Sunday (July 9).

At stake? Those all-important qualifying points on the line that will get teams into next year’s Shootout.

“Fan Nation, after our annual Fourth of July break, we’re back in spades, as we’ve got two events Sunday, this one, and one on the Mississippi at Hager City,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director. “Let’s look at Devils first, and what teams fishing this weird pond in eastern North Dakota, that you all need to visit and marvel at, looks like at least some may be on some winning fish.”

Jarett Bauer of Garrison will be in a Mercury 400 Verado-powered boat with Garmin LiveScope plus two, other makes aboard, and he’s basically fishing some new water, having only fished Devils in his own boat once, and a few times in others with friends, but not this year. He’s liking slip bobbering. Or, maybe another way. We found him in his boat gearing up to hit the water Friday.

“I expect a lot to be slip-bobbering, and also trying to pull cranks through the trees, using them like jerk baits,” Bauer said. Okay, little explanation, please, Jarett.

“From my past experience, being able to rip those through the trees, they seem to work pretty well. My partner’s (that’s Shane Cardinal of Minot) been on the water starting Wednesday, and I’ll be on starting Friday. He did text me earlier that he’s finding fish from 20 inches on down and plenty of them, so the lake seems to be healthy with that size.

“It’s such a fun lake to fish, with many different ways you can do something. It’s unbelievable,” he said. However, 20-inchers won’t get it, so where’s the bigs? We’ll see, as the Zen master said. And that may mean switching up tactics.

“I’m open to doing a lot of different things, but judging by the past tournament here, slip bobbering will be one at the top leading weights. It will help me get to a top 10 finish. I’m chasing points here,” he said. That means he’s aiming for the 2024 Shootout, and he’s also liking what Catch-Record-ReleaseÔ is doing for the fishery here.

“I sound like kind of a broken record if you will, but it’s nice to get those fish back in the water available for someone else to catch,” he added. And he’s also betting on what he’s heard locally. That means heading to specific areas of this weird lake that swallows up roads, farm implements, trees and the like, and in other years, reveals them to confound teams, too.

“I’m going to be targeting the main bay and the east bay. If my partner can find something, we’ll obviously work on that. But I’m most familiar with those areas. The shallow water of the East Bay can really light things up if the water gets cloudy.

“It’ll be interesting to see what the cooler weather will do to the lake and the fish,” he said. The forecast calls for highs in the mid- to high-70s and overnights in the 50s.

Brent Wendel of Valley City will be out Sunday with his 16-year-old son Jayden under Merc 250 Pro XS power. He’s in the same boat, so to speak, having only fished Devils for about a week in his life. But…

“But we did get a 30-incher there this week,” he said, hinting that he and Jayden may have cracked the Devils code. “There are a lot of 16- to 20-inch fish. The 20s and up are a little harder to come by, but they’re definitely there,” he said. But the weather looks good, he said, and that will open the entire lake for AIM teams.

“We know what our go-to is, but I don’t think I want to tell anybody,” he laughed. “We’ve eliminated a few things and are on the fence about a few others. It’s definitely a fun lake, and challenging and dangerous. We actually tapped a tree with our trolling motor, so you’ve got to be careful basically anywhere.

“I think if I had to guess, 35 pounds will win. If you have a 25-pound bag you might be in the top 10. That 30-1/4-incher was an absolute tank. If I can get a couple of those, I can probably enjoy a couple of sandwiches in the boat for a while.”

Also on the water Sunday will be Rufus Hostetler, with Daniel Miller, both of Bismarck. They’ll also have Garmin as one of their electronic helpers aboard.

“This is our fifth tournament on Devils Lake so we’re kinda familiar with it,” Hostetler said. “We can get on fish, it’s just finding those big ones. We’ve got on them during pre-fishing but during tournaments they’ve been elusive.

“We’re going to throw everything we can. The last two tournaments on Devils in the last two weeks were won on bobbers and leeches. So we’re going out hunting to see what we can figure out.”

“Up to this point, we’ve fished a lot on the west side towards Pelican (Pelican Bay, or Lake, take your pick). They do hold a lot of fish, but to get on the bigger fish is a little bit of a challenge. If you want to catch a lot of 18- to 20-inch fish, that’s where to go,” he said. But, to get the winners? Garmin LiveScope will definitely come into play.

“LiveScope is going to be a key for what we’re going after,” he said. That, and live bait.

“We’ll have live bait onboard and we’re also going to be doing plastics. On our last tournament on Sakakawea, we got into some with a different type of plastic, so we’re going to try that and see if the results will be the same. If we can match the bait color-wise, it will probably be a key as well.”

We’ll see, as the Zen master said. We’ll see who figures out this lake. It’s fallen to bobbers and live bait before. It’s also fallen to casting into the weedy shallows. And come Sunday afternoon, we’ll all know what worked, and what almost worked, to take the last North Dakota qualifier before the state championship.

It all begins Sunday, when teams gather at Woodland Resort on the lake’s north side, starting at 5:30 a.m. for boat inspections. Teams will take off starting at 7 a.m., and will return starting at 3 p.m., but you can follow the action on the water at AIM’s Facebook page throughout the day, then see who wins the final state qualifier and how starting at 4 p.m. live from the resort. Good luck, all teams!

AIM’s season is just kicking into high gear. You can STILL enter AIM’s other qualifier events in Minnesota and Wisconsin, along with the new Rivers Division. That one goes on into October. So stay tuned to AIM’s Facebook site updates Learn how you can register for the next events at

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

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, Rosemore Outdoor Gear, Outdoor Authority fish house rentals, Island Bar and Grill, Bait Box on the Rock, Oconto County WI. Odyssey Battery.

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