Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 5, 2020
Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)
Up Next: The ‘Bago Beast,’ As AIM Converges
On Wisconsin For A Great Weekend of Walleye
What’s setting up to be a great weekend of walleye is in store for the double-header “Beast on ‘Bago,” as the AIM Weekend Walleye Series/Garmin and Berkley Opens marks the start of AIM’s Wisconsin qualifying season, and indications are the entire system is hot, with fish from the upper rivers to Lake Winnebago in play.
“Sunday’s event is one boat shy of full, and Saturday is almost there, too, and from what we’re hearing, both the upper rivers, the lower Fox River and Lake Winnebago proper are on fire, and we’re looking forward to seeing some great bags for this dual duel, which will start the first day on the river, and the next, on the lake,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director.
“We know Wisconsin teams and Fan Nation are totally ready to go, and we are, too. Let’s get this party started!” Fox said. “The weather is forecast to be great, in the high 60s and low 70s. The water on the rivers and the lake is in great condition, and we’re ready for a great show both days,” he added.
“Combined, cash awards totaling almost $51,000 for the weekend, almost $25,500 each day, are in the mix,” Fox added. “Not to mention that new ‘side pot’ now available, and incentive cash offered by some of our sponsors.”
In case you’ve forgotten, AIM tournaments will now feature voluntary “side pots” to every event. Entry cost will be $100 per team, and teams will be asked if they want in at the time of registration. Entry into the side pots will only be open online and up to the Wednesday before an event. “Side pot” money collected will be paid back to the top three finishing teams entered, with 50 percent of the total going to first, 30 percent for second, and 20 percent for a third- place finish.
Where both will be won is definitely a toss-up. Looking back at other AIM qualifiers held here around this time, some were won on those mid-lake flats, while others were taken in the river, including upstream from Oshkosh around the U.S. 41 bridge.
One of four anglers who, starting Tuesday, were on the water pre-fishing, was Joseph Schneider of Van Dyne, WI, on the west side of Lake Winnebago. All four will be fishing both tournaments.
He was headed out “in about 15 minutes” with his 350 Verado when reached Tuesday morning. He’s expecting a great bite in the lake, especially in the mud, mid-Lake Winnebago.
“I think with the warmer temperatures some fish should push their way down and the mud bite will pick up tremendously,” Schneider said. Right now, the lake is really clear in the shallows—for ‘bago that is, which is notorious for turning green from annual algae bloom, so much it’s sometimes hard to see lures only a few feet below. But, the fish usually don’t seem to mind. Usually being the operative word.
“It’s so clear in the shallows it’ll make it difficult if there’s no wind. That’s why the weather is going to write the story, I think,” he said. “It seems like there are lot of fish out in the deep mud,” and he’s planning to check out the crawler bite there.
“I know the shorelines are producing a lot of fish, but a lot of smaller fish,” he said, with anglers there trolling smaller lures like fast action Salmos, but the sizes needed to win either, or both, AIM tournaments with its unique “Catch-Record-Release™” format aren’t there. They’re elsewhere. But, he said, he guarantees two great back-to-back events.
“Fishing is on fire right now. It’s a matter of finding the big ones. I’m sure it will be the case for ours. I’m starting by pre-fishing the lakes and we will also try the river. We’ll do whatever it takes to break down the water. There was a tournament here last Sunday, and the top two places came out of the river,” Schneider revealed.
Sean Freund of Fond Du Lac was also contacted on Tuesday, and says will be finding fish beginning Wednesday, (June 3), in his quicksilver-fast boat, powered by a 400-hp Verado, hitting both the river and the lake. He’s heard there are some big fish still in the upper lakes near Winneconne and on the Wolf and Fox rivers between there, and the lake.
“On day one, my strategy is I’ll be pre-fishing two areas,” Freund said. “Fishing’s been up and down,” he’s heard, and agrees that water on Winnebago is really clear.
“The season is so late, but when the wind picks up as it did over the weekend it dirtied quite a few areas up. You have to find that transition where it’s not too dirty but not too clean, and that’s where you get the fish.”
“It’s definitely game time. The fish are out there. I fished a catch-release tournament last Sunday and the top weight was almost 29 pounds for five fish. I’m going to be in Poygan (Lake Poygan (near Winneconne), and on the Fox River up towards Omro. It’s good in the early season but with higher water a lot of fish haven’t come out of the marshes yet. That could be a key. I’ll check water and try different baits, but it may be to be in the river system through Oshkosh, if there’s good current.
“There’s a lot of bait in the lake. Trout perch hatch every three years and the walleye are gorging themselves on these fish,” he added. “The bite has been really good in the morning but if you can find a key spot where fish are biting, it can be pretty steady.”
“There’s a lot of 12- to 15-inch fish in the lake and when it dirties up you find a jig with live bait or plastic really working well. And definitely a jig bite is in the river and on the lake and reefs. Trolling smaller lures will produce some nice mid-range fish.
On the second event, he said, same page. “Some guys will figure out in the Poygan area. There are still fish flushing down but there’s a good pod in Winnebago near Oshkosh.
“With the correct wind and water, the current really steps up in the Oshkosh area, and definitely that current will come into play this weekend,” he said.
Daniel Hobbs of Wisconsin Rapids will be in his Mercury 300 Pro XS-powered boat when the flag drops for both events Saturday and Sunday. He’s looking at mid-lake mud, for starters, but is being a bit cagey, too, which means he may have found fish.
“I’ve been on ‘bago, Poygan, the river already for three days. I guess my main concern is the weather is supposed to be a bit unstable, but I’m assuming this is going to be a ‘bago bite, and it might be in the mud,” Hobbs said
“I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a harness bite. The water is very, very clear. That again is wind-dependent. You want to find that medium-dirty water. You don’t want clear, but you don’t want pea soup, either. According to what I saw the wind is going to switch every day, including Saturday. You’ve got to switch up tactics depending on what you see,” he added.
But, since someone has to win, he’s sure a team will put a winner program together. Will it be him? “Somebody always gets on’em, so I would say 20 or 22 pounds for each day may win it. I could be way off. But somebody always finds‘em. I’ve found some, and that’s all I’ll say. But it’s cliché to say that because AIM has the best anglers in the state in it. It’s top-notch. You’re not killing fish. It makes you feel a lot better when you bring in a 20- or 30-pound bag and you know you haven’t killed any fish. It’s the wave of the future.”
You’ll also be seeing Kewauskum’s Tom Pocian flying low with his Mercury 400 Verado on both days, and in fact at all four Wisconsin qualifiers. He also feels it will be won in the lake, and in the mud, anywhere from Abraham Reef up to High Cliff State Park.
“The upper lakes I heard were doing okay but then I also heard fish are dumping out of the river really heavy,” Pocian said. “I also think you’ll be able to fill your card on the rocks on the lake. And you’ll have some river guys who will pull some fish. I’ve got friends who’ve been doing really well out in the mud with some bigger, quality fish. For the first day we’ll have to make a run to get to the lake. We’re going to try to stick with the ‘bago program and hope that pays off.”
Let’s do this. Here’s how this “double-double” tourney will set up: Team registrations and meeting will take place virtually, at 6:30 p.m. Friday, June 5. Sunday’s registration meeting will take place Saturday, June 6. Saturday’s tournament leaves from the Lake Winneconne Park launch, with inspections starting at 5:30 a.m. The first wave of boats leaves at 7 a.m., and all will return starting at 3 p.m.
For Sunday, the same virtual meetings will take place Saturday, starting at 6:30 p.m. Boat inspections start at 5:30 a.m. Sunday at Menominee Park in Oshkosh, and the first flight of boats again leaves at 7 a.m., with all boats checking back in starting at 3 p.m. The unofficial results will post daily at 6pm on our Facebook page. New for 2020, AIM will air “The Rap” a follow up show on Tuesday evenings of the events. We will be talking to the top finishers and finding out how and what they did to win.
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.
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AIM Supporting Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Garmin, Berkley, Abu-Garcia, Fenwick, Navionics, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, AirWave Pedestals, Off Shore Tackle, Pro Chattrr, Quality Flow Systems, Gemini Sport Marketing, Moonshine Lures Shiver Minnow, JT Outdoors Products, Fox River Lures and Rods, McQuoids Inn, Oshkosh CVB.