Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 19, 2017
Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)
They’re Not Saying Where, But Bethke And Power
Get It Done On Western Lake Sak For Final AWWS Qualifier
Crankin’ and live baitin’. Somewhere 45 or so miles from the start. That’s about all that Bryce Bethke and partner Kasey Power would say to protect a spot that won them $4,000 in the Warrior Boats/Mondak Sports Open, the final qualifier for the North Dakota Championship.
They’re protecting the spot that produced 31.53 pounds Sunday because they may just be revisiting it for two more weekend tournaments as they ramp up for a chance to win at the AIM NoDak Championship on Devils Lake. And, they’ve also improved their bid for the Yamaha Motor Corp USA Team of the Year by winning in New Town, ND.
What lures did the pair use on their Mercury 350 Verado-powered boat? True to the form of Lake Sakakawea’s current reputation as the western production line of walleye, it didn’t matter, Bethke said.
“They were hungry. It didn’t matter what you threw at them. We got them on Salmos, Flicker Shads, you name it,” said Bethke, who’s from Bismarck. Power is from Wilton, ND.
Bethke said that picking their winning location was fairly easy, because they fish Lake Sak alot. This was their first AIM Weekend Walleye Series win.
“We looked at the water temperature and clarity and we both looked at each other and agreed, we’d head to our spot,” he said. That’s when trying to pry the location out of them got interesting.
“I’d rather not say exactly where we were,” he finally said, “because it’s not traditionally where a lot of people fish. We had to run about 40 or 45 miles. There is just so much more and better quality fish there,” he said. And it produced as expected, wherever it is.
“We started fishing and after maybe 10 minutes we had our first, a 19 or 19-1/2 incher. A few minutes after that was an 18-1/2, and five minutes after that a 22-1/2, and from there on it was steady,” he said. As if the first three weren’t.
“We figured we had about 30 pounds by noon or a little before,” Bethke said.
One or two upgrades came after noon. About half their fish came on crawlers and bottom bouncers. When the fish turned off those, they switched to cranks. “We actually caught one of our better fish, a 25-1/2 incher, in the last half-hour, which upgraded us,” Bethke added.
Any angler knows the old saw, “you shoulda been here yesterday.” It applied to one entrant who Bethke said lives right near the spot they targeted. “We actually talked to a guy who said he’s from right there, and he pre-fished it the weekend before and didn’t get anything,” he said. “So he was kicking himself in the butt for not going back there a couple of days before the tournament. The bite changes day by day, but up there it’s not too bad, but it does change. They move, so you’ve got to move deeper or shallower.” So it goes.
The team of Jason Carter, Hazen, ND, and Rory Hochsprung, Pick City, ND, earned second with 28.26 pounds, good for $2,000 in their first AIM event. They headed to Shell Creek Bay, in upper Van Hook Arm, and picked up all their tournament fish on No. 9 Berkley Flicker Minnows. Weather and wind played a factor in their choice.
“I fish the Arm quite a bit,” Jason said. “I went up and pre-fished Thursday and Friday and committed to some areas in the shallows.”
He found good numbers of fish in 5 to 7 feet of water and hit other areas on Friday. Together with another boat, they pulled in 75 fish that day alone.
“We had confidence in the area to produce quality fish. No real kicker fish but good quality 24-inchers and higher that we knew we could put on our card. Saturday we live-baited with bottom bouncers and crawlers and leeches in the Van Hook Arm near Shell Village and had another good practice, including three 24- to 27-inch fish.
Sunday’s winds, which he said kicked the lake up to six-footers at times, made them abandon their live bait spot and concentrate deep in Shell Bay, their Warrior 2090 handling the bumps flawlessly. Within 20 minutes they’d caught several smaller fish, but made the decision to go for broke and fish big. It paid off with 20- to-26-inchers that put them on the podium.
In third place, Craig and Chris Kolden, from Garrison, ND, carded 26.95 pounds, for $1,600. Earning fourth place and $1,300 were Terry Wilson, Parshall, ND, and Corey Baisch, Sidney, MT, with 26.46 pounds. Fifth and $1,000 went to Todd DeBoer and Leon Leier, both of Bismarck, who boated 24.82 pounds.
Now, it’s on to Devils Lake for the Aug. 4/5th North Dakota State Championship. But first, two states east, the always-hot Bay of Green Bay at Oconto hosts AIM Wisconsin teams this weekend. Stay tune for a preview of that event at www.aimfishing.com, and AIM’s Facebook page.
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, 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.