A Walleye Casino by Steve Fellegy

 May 27th, 2010 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified May 27th, 2010 at 12:00 AM

I was a pioneer of walleye tournament fishing, both in Minnesota and around the country.  29 years later, I still have the urge and passion to compete, no doubt. But times have changed, as usual, at many of the venues we started the sport  at.

Steve Fellegy

In the early years, fishing instincts won at the scale. Luck, after a 2-3 day battle, rarely beat pure skill. The competitor that caught the biggest limits took home the money and the trophy.  Nowadays, not unlike going to a Casino, many lakes that have slot limits on walleyes add a huge luck factor to walleye tournament competition. It comes down to who gets a bite by a fish that is a 1/8 inch longer than the next guy (or maybe shorter), that can and most likely will determine the outcome of the game. All the skill and instincts in the walleye world can’t control that scenario.  That’s why I won’t go to a Casino. And I shouldn’t fish in or at a walleye Casino either.

Anglers Insight Marketing (AIM) has it right when it comes to how walleye tournament fishing should work in these modern day times, that include slot limits. This organization, developed, owned and operated by veteran walleye tournament anglers from around the country, created the “CRR” format. “Catch, record and release” eliminates the luck factor and brings back the pure skill and instinct aspect the winner needs to take the money and trophy home. And all the while, CRR puts ALL the walleyes back into the lake as healthy as can be. CRR brings the competition back to a level that is anything but playing the game in a walleye Casino. It’s the way the game should be played. The best of the best wins in a CRR format. AIMFISHING.COM will explain how it works.

Why do I write about  this today?  Last weekend I got into a walleye Casino game. It was fun, no doubt. The MTT runs a very smooth event. The anglers are a great bunch. And I congratulate the winners!!  In the end, I was 2nd place. “Good job”,  most say. Well, I never did like 2nd place but in a Casino setting, it hurts more. We weighed the biggest small fish out of 78 boats. But my big fish didn’t count. An 1/8 inch more and ALL our fish would have been the best of all. My know how and home field advantage played no role in the outcome–between first and second. And, unfortunately, the rest of the field could say the same of where they placed in the end. The “slot”  determined the outcome.

Please don’t get me wrong here. I am not complaining. (maybe a little… lol) And I also think slot limits on walleye lakes are a good thing in most cases. I’m pointing out how ALL the tournament organizations should run future events. Follow the AIM of a group of veteran walleye anglers. Make CRR part of your future seasons. Take the walleye Casino out of the game!  It’s a win win  scenario for every aspect of the sport.

For guide trips on Lake Mille Lacs, contact Steve at 651-270-3383 or email [email protected]

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