Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.



Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)


 They Beat The Devil: Balvitsch, Sandvik Come Out Of The Weeds To Win AIM Weekend Walleye Series Sunday


It took some doing to win, but Forrest Balvitsch and Jeremy Sandvik abandoned the rock n’ roll of Devils Lake’s rockpiles to instead concentrate on weeds to win Sunday (May 21) by about five pounds in the AWWS North Dakota Division Warrior Boats/Woodland Marine Open.

Concentrating on the north side of Pelican Lake in the Devils Lake complex about 40 minutes from the launch site, the pair began pitching into the lake’s famous submerged rock piles, but due to the boat’s pitching, quickly gave up. It was a good move. They ended the day with 34.71 pounds, good for a $5,500 check.

“When we left Woodland Resort it was blowing hard and raining so it was a cold ride up, so we started the day nice and cold,” laughed Sandvik. “We had about four spots we narrowed down our day to. One of the first we tried to fish right away thinking the wind was going to get stronger. We had the trolling motor cranked and fishing shallow, pitching into the rocks, but it was unfishable because of the waves. We didn’t want to wreck a boat, so we just went into the weeds.”

Using Shad Raps, they began filling their card, starting off with their biggest fish, a 28-3/4-inch toother. “With it being windy, we were prepared to pitch jigs but there was a lot of bow in our lines so we just stuck with crank baits and it worked,” Sandvik said. The fish came at about one per hour, he said.

“We’ve fished enough tournaments on Devils Lake to basically know we’d get lucky to get two an hour, but for us you’ve got to have that patience to not get too excited and switch a spot too quickly,” he added.

All of their fish came out of the weeds, none on the rocks, and all on their winning card were over 20 inches.

“We’d move maybe 500 yards and try a different weed bed and pick up a fish or two, and when it seemed to get quiet, we’d move to another one and just kept going in a circle. We were also changing colors as we changed weed beds to give them something different to look at,” he added. Their smallest was about a 16-incher that came unbuttoned at the boat.

At last year’s AIM tourney here, they finished mid-field, and he said both love the AIM Catch-Record-Release™ format. “We absolutely love it. There’s no better feeling than catching a big fish, taking a picture and putting it back. We love the fact that the events are on Sundays, too,” he said.

That 28-plus also put them in the running for the Big Fish Thursday award, to be announced at AIM’s Facebook page.

Right behind them were Jason Ramberg, Landon, ND, and Travis Clemens, of Velva, ND. They finished with 29.22 pounds, good for $2,000.

Clemens said their strategy was to fish deeper water close to shore. “I lived there a number of years and realized that the fish slide out a little deeper to lay in 7- to 8 feet of water. Throwing 1/8-ounce jigs with Trigger X paddletail, and Walleye Assassin plastics, their first, and biggest, a 27-1/4-incher, came in about five minutes, also in Pelican Lake.

“We caught all of our fish in the rain, in the first 1 ½ hours and after that we never boated another walleye, only pike,” he said. They kept the bow of their boat into the wind, he said, so the back-of-the-boat angler could always feel the bottom.

This was the team’s first AIM event. “It was a learning experience, but I really like the format. I will definitely fish more of them. I’m a big advocate of catch and release. We’ve all seen tournaments where there’s a lot of mortality, and putting the fish right back, I think you have a lot less. And having a lot of spots on your card to record fish and then mark the best five puts everyone on a level playing field.”

In third place at Devils Lake were Jeff Enzminger, and Mike Peluso, both from Bismarck, earning $1,500 for 28.23 pounds. Fourth place went to Bryce Bethke of Bismarck, and Kasey Power, of Wilton, for a 27.36-pound bag. Jason Feldner of Minnewaukan, and Kyle Clifton, earned $1,100 for a fifth place total of 25.23 pounds.

Tune in June 2-3, as teams that qualified in 2016 face off for the 2017 AIM Warrior Boats/Yamaha Outboards National Championship on the Mississippi River, from Hager City, WI’s Everts Resort. We’ll have a preview of the event after the holiday. Follow all the action at AIM’s Facebook Page, and on ProChattrr.

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, LLC.

AIM Supporting Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Nitro Boats, Navionics, Garmin, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, AirWave Pedestals, Off Shore Tackle, Vibrations Tackle, Pro Chattrr, National Fleet Graphics, Gemini Sport Marketing, Warrior Boat Center.

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