Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats LLC.


Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)


Who’ll Win At Winnebago? AWWS Wisconsin Title,

Team Of The Year, Are On The Line Starting Friday


Here we go. Five fish to rule them all. The first championship event in the 2018 AIM Weekend Walleye Series is on the table, the Nitro Boats Open, and from the sound of it, the entire lake system including the Fox River and the upper lakes, may still be in play when teams put the throttle down on Friday morning (Aug. 3).

“The early word at least is that they’ll be throwing everything from jigs to trolled harnesses and cranks at ‘bago’s walleye,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director. “The only variables in the forecast may be what the predicted midweek weather will do to the bite, and who will find the winning fish.”

That’s the word from two of those anglers who will be heading to spruce up their already knowledgeable base about the lake. Both say take your pick of the presentation. It’s a matter of who’s going to find the pods of bigger fish.

Ben Schmoldt, of Kewaskum WI, has fished seven tournaments on Winnebago so far this summer in his Mercury 350 Verado-powered boat and reports that surface water temps are from 78 to 82 degrees, and finding those tournament-winning fish has been slow.

“But the perch fishing has been phenomenal so we’ll be using a lot of natural crankbait colors. Walleye eat perch,” he reminded. “I’m a big troller so we’ll be trying to find pods of active fish. A lot will be in those deep pocket holes, but Winnebago’s only about 20 feet deep. Perch anglers have also been catching walleye in only nine feet, so there’s still going to be a jig bite.”

“We’re also supposed to have storms here possibly Wednesday (today), so if we do get a good pour and get some current, the river’s also going to be hot. Air temperatures seem like they will be pretty stable.

“As long as that stays stable, the mud bite will turn on but it’ll take more than one technique to win the thing,” he added. Having a two-day meet will take some different planning, from figuring for that weather to saving choice spots for Day Two and hoping the fish will also stay home and not vacate the premises.

“It’ll be tough to put two exact days together. One day you might catch fish with one technique and the next they’ll switch. You’ll have to key in on trolling or jigging, or pulling bouncers over the reefs,” Schmoldt said. He likes pulling Flicker Shads and small Reef Runners, especially imitating the ones perch anglers are now hooking, moving bigger as the season progresses since fish will be looking for that bigger forage. He isn’t too bothered about the lake’s algae growth, since the rain and wind might break that up a bit.

And like most walleye anglers, he doesn’t like super-clean water anyway. “That will also be a key, finding what water they’re holding in,” Schmoldt said.

Tom Pocian, also of Kewaskum, will be punching his 350 Verado-powered Nitro ZV21 to his spots Friday morning, and barring a quick heat wave, the weather’s great for a tournament.

“There’s going to be a lot of limits of 17- to 20-inchers. It’s going to come down to whoever gets lucky enough to pull some 22- to 24-inchers,” Pocian predicts. “That’s what it’s been all season so far. I do think it could be won in the (Fox) river. There are still a lot of fish in the upper lakes yet. I’ve heard reports of 24s and 25s, but you’ve probably got a one- to two-day window to get in there, and they could jump back out too.”

He’ll be focusing on the lake’s mud with harnesses and cranks, he said. It all depends on what the fish will like on which days. “Out in the mud. A week ago we were running harnesses all day hoping they’d turn on and in the last hour we changed to cranks and they were hitting, so you’ve got to be versatile. If something isn’t working, you’ve got to change things up.

Fill that card first, then go find the big’uns, he advises. “At least get your five fish on the card, and start looking for the bigger ones. And also hope that the spots in your back pocket for Day Two will also produce.

Here’s the pre-event info: team registration and rules meeting begins at 5 p.m. Thursday at Winneconne’s Woodeyes Bar and Grill, 700 W. Main. Teams meet for boat inspection starting at 5:30 a.m. at Menominee Park Millers Bay, in Oshkosh. First flight launch is at 7 a.m., with boats returning starting at 3 p.m. The awards ceremony starts at 5:30 p.m. Saturday August 4th in Menominee Park. We will crown the State Champion, The Yamaha Motor Corp USA Team of the Year and announce the 10 teams that will represent Wisconsin at the Warrior Boats National Championship Shoot Out in Bismarck/Mandan North Dakota on the Missouri River in 2019.  Good luck to all boats!

We’ll have on-water reports throughout the day, beginning with team interviews at the dock before launch, and at the awards at AIM’s Facebook site. For info on all AIM events, go to

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, 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

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