A Slam ‘Dunc’
Jun 21st, 2012 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Jun 21st, 2012 at 2:52 PM
Coming into the first event of the 2012 AIM Professional Walleye Series in Brimley, MI; the overriding chatter was about the competition between Team Canada (31 Canadian Pros) competing against Team USA (31 American Pros) in this CAN/AM event hosted by the Bay Mills Resort and Casinos. Although the camaraderie between the two countries had that competitive edge, it still boiled down to which individual angler would also take home the impressive $40,000 first place cash award.
As in the previous two years, it was Lake George that produced the “winning weight” and American pro Scott Duncan from Spring Grove, IL used his knowledge and skills to figure out the area to claim the win. It doesn’t mean it will always be the winning area though, as every year, fishing certain areas or patterns can change. As we know spring fishing is often way different than summer or fall fishing, some people try to use “science type” knowledge to begin their pre-fishing experience. They may study the different areas where water temperatures change, where currents change, some study the moon patterns and many try to figure out how they’ll adapt to a morning or an afternoon bite.
Scott uses what he’s learned over the years, but for the most part, he says, “I try to take all of that “science” out of fishing and just fish. I do consider these changes, but the bottom line is that you just have to get out on the water, find the fish and then just fish them. If I go over an area and catch a fish, I’ll go back over that area again and see what happens.” The area Scott was fishing is known locally as the Horseshoe. It is the last deep water on the South end of Lake George, before it flows into the buoy marked channel.
“I didn’t even realize it was called the Horseshoe until I heard someone call it that after I was off the water. When you look at a map of the area, it looks like a funnel, so that’s what I called it.” For Scott Duncan, and likely for as long as he fishes that area, it’s pretty clear that he’ll always fondly refer to it as The Funnel.
Early June in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is like early spring fishing for many other areas of the country. Water temperatures were raising from the low 50’s to the mid to upper 50’s through the pre-fishing tournament days. Emergent weeds, that were known to grow in the 7-9 foot range and hold walleye during this time of year, were found by many anglers during the pre-fishing days. Yet for Scott Duncan it was the new weeds that popped up just days before the tournament in the 9-12 foot range that held the nicer size of walleye that brought Duncan his Slam “Dunc” win!
Duncan used his Humminbird down imaging to locate the fish holding areas. Since it was a bit too shallow to see directly through the weeds, the side-imaging allowed him to view the edges of the weeds he wanted to fish. He trolled exclusively with his Minn Kota Terrova with i-Pilot.
One of the keys to Scott’s success was to find a crankbait that would run just deep enough to tick the top of the weeds, but still have an action that would entice the walleye bites. Running #10 Rapala Down Deep Husky Jerks in various colors fit the bill. Trolling at the slow speeds between .8 to 1.4 miles an hour behind Off Shore’s In-Line Planer boards and using 16# pound Stren Magna Thin line, kept his lures right in the precise strike zone.
When asked about the three different co-anglers Duncan had for the CAN/AN event, Scott had to chuckle. “Actually all three of my co-anglers ended up being Canadians. None of them had worked with In-Line Planer Boards before, but they were all great fishermen and listened well as I explained how I would be using them and fishing each day. At the end of each day, it wasn’t so much about the competition against “us and them” while they were fishing in my boat, but more about us working together as a team. Still I had to smile at the end of the whole event, knowing that they helped not only me, but also Team USA take home the win.”
“During pre-fishing we located these fish and decided we wouldn’t go back in there until the tournament days. We felt the fish would hold and we didn’t want other anglers to see where we were catching them. On day one I made my first pass through which took only about 20 minutes and I already caught and recorded three nice walleye with a combined weight of over 10 pounds. Even though it may have seemed like a morning bite at that time, in reality the fish did bite throughout the day, though it was spotty at times. The tournament started out perfectly, I had a limit of 7 walleyes that gave me a commanding lead with 26.38 pounds!”
“Day two only produced four fish for a little over 13 pounds, which allowed Marianne Huskey to sneak ahead of me and take the lead. Yet on day three, I was able to sneak back ahead of Marianne with a little over 15 more pounds and seal the deal with a total three day weight of 54.97! What an awesome feeling to be presented with a custom built 1st place trophy from Bay Mills Resort and Casinos and a silver platter holding a huge pay out of $40,000 in cash! Lund boats also presented me with a $6,000 contingency bonus for running my Lund 2075 Pro-V IFS powered by a 300 Mercury Verado. It was great to see three of my best friends and fellow Lund Pro-Staffers Marianne Huskey, Mark Brumbaugh and Mike Gofron darn near sweep the top spots.”
What made this win even sweeter for Scott is the fact that he’s always had the support of his wonderful family. Scott doesn’t take this support for granted and each and every time he’s on stage he takes a moment to thank them. It takes time and money to be away from his family and that’s not always an easy thing to do. He’s been married to his beautiful wife Tammy for 20 years and he always glows with pride when he mentions his two daughters, Jessie (age 14) and Sammy (age 10).
One of Scott’s greatest fans was his Mom, but sadly she passed away in April of this year. “One thing that will stick in my head for years to come is that I was telling my co-angler Chuck about losing my mom on April 11th. I had talked about her for a good 5 minutes, with maybe 10 or 15 minutes left in the day. No sooner then when we got done talking about her, with maybe 5 minutes left in the tourney, we caught a 6 lb. walleye that gave me (us) the win.”
Scott has been fortunate to work in a family business. Often it’s hard to leave his family and get away from his job, but Scott knows his hard work allows him the ability to fish the Professional AIM Walleye Series.
“My job at Lenco Electronics, Inc. is our family custom transformer business that I have been working for 30 years now. Fishing the Pro Walleye series is like going to Disney Land for me, it kinda takes me away from the reality of my full time work. If you can go and win a tourney against Goofy, Pluto, Sneezy, Doc, Snow White, Dumbo, and Marvin you’ve accomplished something.”
When ever you see Scott Duncan he’s got a smile to share. His sense of humor keeps the day’s fun and the harder days easier. Thankfully with support from his loving family and the great sponsors Scott has worked with throughout his career, everything is falling into place. What an incredible way to start off the 2012 season for Pro Angler Scott Duncan.
Let’s not forget……Remember, coming into the 1st 2012 AIM Professional Walleye Series tournament, the chatter was which country would take home the bragging rights. Would the Canadians defend their title from the 2008 PWT CAN/AM event in Dryden, Ontario, or would the American’s “even the score”? With more than the top ten places going to Team USA, it looks like a tie breaking rematch is in order. For the team win, each member of Team USA pocketed an additional $250.00 from Bay Mills Resort and Casinos. Though it was a tough bite for many of the anglers this year, the Brimley area is simply beautiful. The people are so friendly and they worked extremely hard to make this truly a wonderful CAN/AM event.
Both teams seem to relish in the competitiveness and camaraderie that this Bay Mills event brings to anglers from both sides. As an added highlight, many stayed to celebrate their new found friendships and rekindle the old ones as well. Duncan celebrated his win at a post tournament gathering at the Bay Resort Casino. Once again the camaraderie of Team USA and Team Canada joined in on the fun. It was quite a victory for Team USA, but even more impressive it became quite a pay day for Scott Duncan. Years of hard work and dedication made Scott’s dream become a reality. It gave Duncan his first major professional Pro/Am Walleye title — A “Slam Dunc” win!
Scott Duncan’s Sponsors:
Lund Boats, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Abu Garcia, Fenwick, Berkley, Lakemaster, Optima Batteries, Fox Lake Harbor, Shorland’r, Fin-Tech, Mercury Marine and Walleyeworkshop.com.