2012 Bay Mills and Casino Can Am Invitational
Jun 28th, 2011 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Jun 28th, 2011 at 8:42 AM
The AIM Professional Walleye Circuit has chosen four awesome tournament sites for the 2012 season. Each site has been chosen with great consideration. Choosing prime locations for prime time fishing should produce really exciting results.
Using AIM’s format of CRR (Catch, Record, Release) the sky is the limit for hige weights at each and every event! Like all AIM Professional Walleye tournaments, the CRR format uses digital photo technology to verify each fish as it is caught and then recorded on an official scorecard. There are no longer the hassles of keeping fish alive in live wells or worrying about no-cull or slot restricted tournaments. AIM tournaments bring back the fun of simply fishing for the biggest fish! Pro Anglers are able to ‘weigh’ their seven largest fish each day. They simply snap a photo, record it and then release those walleye back into the water. It’s a proven and effective method to help preserve our resources for generations to come.
The first stop on the AIM Professional Walleye Circuit will be Brimley, MI from May 31-June 2, 2012. This will be AIM’s first Bay Mills Resort and Casino’s CAN/AM (Canadian/American) Invitational; a great opportunity to showcase the area fishery which literally forms the border between the United States and Canada. 31 Canadian anglers will be competing against 31 American anglers, with each angler hoping for the chance to bring home the first place prize of $40,000.00!
Each angler on the winning team will also receive a bonus payout from the Bay Mills Resort and Casino. The competition will be tough, as both teams will have the extra incentive of holding the Title for the year and wiill work very hard to bring home the win!
(Interview with 2011 Bay Mills Champ, Brett King)
Each and every angler has the potential of catching huge limits of walleye. Fishing the CAN/AM event this year will be the 2011 first place winner at Brimley, MI—American Pro Angler Brett King! Brett took first place cranking up big limits on Lake George. Brett also won the overall title of Angler of the Year and with last years win, this made him an awesome choice to captain the USA Team at Brimley, MI. Can Brett bring home another first place title? Here is what the “King” has to say:
1. Brett, you are one of the two American Captains for AIM’s first ever International Bay Mills CAN/AM (Canadian/American) Invitational —how did you and Mark Martin go about gathering the top professional American anglers to compete against the teams that Canadian Captains Joe Giuliani and John Butts have gathered for this very first CAN/AM event?
Brett: There is not a lot to build on this question, I guess we gave priority entry to the Bay Mills participants from last years event as we thought that was only fair. From there we have an “in order of entry” waiting list that we are going by which we have had a few selections from already. No matter how you do this you will never please everyone that’s for certain, but this was kind of discussed in the early planning meetings that this would be how we chose our team and believe me we have plenty of talent on the roster!
2. You took home the first place title while fishing up at the AIM Bay Mills and Casino tournament in 2011 last year. Are you nervous for this upcoming 2012 event, knowing all “eyes” are on you to see if you can earn back to back titles at Brimley, MI?
Brett: I think a better choice of words for me would be “very determined to repeat”, but I also realize that is very hard to do. So many factors play into winning one of these events and this body of water that time of year makes it even more challenging. I will be ready though and I would love to be the first angler to have 3 AIM wins, not to mention back to back huge cash paydays!
3. Youtook the win cranking Lake George. What are your thoughts about AIMS special format ‘artificial bait only’ tournament?
Brett: I am very comfortable with the artificial only twist on this event. I fish open water river walleyes all year long out of a boat and for at least half of the year I do not fish with bait at all so that is a comfort zone for me. As for Lake George, I don’t remember fishing Lake George last year…
4. What did you spend your winnings on and do you think you can bring home back-to-back wins?
Brett: Oh the winnings! Well considering the year I had fishing and then selling the School Bus Company my wife and I owned in August, let’s just say that Uncle Sam loves me this year. As for the cash, it was so cool to have, yet I was very nervous to have it and felt relieved to get it to the bank. In all seriousness we paid some bills, did a lot of work to our home and had a very big bash at our house to celebrate the Bay Mills win and the angler of the year title. We look back and kick ourselves for not taking that trip we have always wanted to go on, but I guess that will be motivation for the next one. Let’s face it $40,000.00 is a lot of money, but it just does not go as far as you think it would.
5.) AIM is a very unique tournament organization which is owned by stockholders, the majority of which are Professional walleye anglers. What is the best way for a new angler to get involved in the sport of competitive walleye fishing?
Brett: AIM is a very unique organization and I am proud to be part of it. Young anglers coming in? Well I guess I can say I had a direct influence on two potential future stars coming into the mix for 2012 and in my opinion they did it the right way. Justin Schneider wanted to make the move into professional angling so he did what I would advise others to do. He took the chance, dove in, called up Joe Okada during the off season in 2011, and asked Joe about the idea of traveling with our group for the 2011 season. Not only did he do that to get a first hand look at how we operate, but he also fished as a co-angler with many different pros throughout the year so he could really see how the game was played and what he was up against. I think if you asked him today he would agree if you inspire to get into competitive fishing, at the very minimal fish as a co-angler first. I think if you asked Robert Cardenas, who will also fish AIM in 2012, he would confirm as well that by fishing both AIM and the FLW as a co, it was money well spent. If I could do it all over again, I know I would not even think twice about fishing as a co versus the costly school of hard knocks that I went through.
(Interview with Joe Giuliani)
Canadian Captains Joe Giuliani and John Butts have a strong contingency of anglers to compete against the American teams that Captains Brett King and Mark Martin have gathered together for this event. (Interviews with USA Captain Mark Martin and Canadian Captain John Butts will be in Part Two of this article, along with an interview with 2010 winner Jim Carroll.) Let’s see what Joe Giuliani has to say about the new experiences he’s encountered getting ready for such an exciting AIM Can/Am event:
1. Joe, you and your brother John, both of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario have fished many major tournaments and this will be your first AIM event. What has been the most exciting tournament you have fished in recent years and why?
Joe: Two come to mind, first would be the MWC that my brother and I won here on the St. Mary’s River last summer because we don’t get to fish together that often with our busy lives. Second would be the 2008 PWT St. Mary’s River that showcased some of the top Pro’s in the industry. It was the first time I fished individually as a Pro.
2. How was it working with the AIM staff and the community leaders of Brimley, MI in organizing and bringing such a major walleye tournament together for both the American anglers and the Canadian anglers?
Joe: First I’d like to thank Joe Baron, Mark Martin, Rod Mills, John Butts, and the Bay Mills Resort and Casino staff (Mark and Connie) for making it all very easy. Everyone is on the same page and has passion for our sport. I know the CAN/AM will be successful because of it and I am very proud to be part of this team.
3. What drew your interest in being a captain for the first ever AIM CAN/AM event?
Joe: I was very honored to be asked to be Team Captain of Team Canada. It was very humbling. Taking on this role has allowed me to have input into recruiting Team Canada, which was no small task due to the talent of many great anglers from across Canada. We will be competing against the best in the industry and for me to have a say in selecting the Team was a big responsibility. We wanted anglers with a combination of great skills and great character to represent our country.
4. Joe, you are known to be one of the top anglers on the Saint Mary’s river system. What techniques do you feel will produce some of the top weights?
Joe: The last couple of years the AIM tournaments in Brimley have been won in the same location running boards with cranks. Jigging in key spring areas will bring you some big fish also.
5. Who would you consider to be some of the anglers to watch on the Canadian team?
Joe: I think any member of Team Canada is capable of doing really well. I think the locals have the river experience and some of the guys who fished the NOWT (North Ontario Walleye Trail) here last year should do well such as Denis Martin, Luc Audette and Matt Guacci. John Butts and Terry Bernath also fished the first Bay Mills Invitation and have experience on the river.
Bay Mills Resort & Casino is located in Brimley, Michigan on the shores of Lake Superior. Anglers have access to Lake Superior, the Saint Mary’s River system, plus downstream from the international locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. With Bay Mills Resort & Casinos’ sponsorship, awesome cash prizes and bonus payouts, this will make the AIM Professional Walleye Circuit, Bay Mills Can-Am Invitational the most lucrative walleye tournament in 2012.
Fishing on an International level will add additional excitement to the sport of walleye fishing for both the anglers and the fans. Who will bring home the top prize at Brimley, MI this year? For some anglers the real question just might be which Country will grab the very first AIM Can/Am title!