All In The Family: Husband/Wife, Father/Son, Uncle/Nephew, Finish 1-2-3 in Final AIM Minnesota Qualifier
Aug 10th, 2020 by Keith Worrall
Modified Aug 10th, 2020 at 9:56 AM
All In The Family: Husband/Wife, Father/Son, Uncle/Nephew, Finish 1-2-3 in Final Minnesota Qualifier
The second win in an AIM Weekend Walleye Series tournament by a husband/wife team this season capped the Warrior Boats/Kovash Marine Open Sunday, Aug. 2, as Al and Beverly Standly of Lakeville, MN pocketed $7,000 and secured those all-important Yamaha Team Of The Year (TOY) points just in time for the championships in all three states loom later this month.
“You can’t make odds on this happening,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director. “A husband-wife team gets first, followed by a father-son team, and a nephew-uncle in third. It was a great wrap to our qualifier series, and now it’s on to beautiful Lake of the Woods in Baudette Aug. 28 and 29 to see who gets it done there, who earns that coveted TOY bragging rights, and what team goes home with that 9.9 Yamaha kicker.”
The Standlys not only won that seven grand. Since they did it in a Warrior 208 powered by a 300 Yamaha, they’re looking at another check from Warrior (they didn’t sign up for the lucrative Yamaha Power Pay).
“Thursday, we got up there and had pretty much flat water,” Al Standly said. That would change come tournament day, when three-footers at least were galloping across the horizon. It also changed how they would fish.
“Pre-fishing we were pulling spinners in 12 to 14 feet of water and went on a spot on a spot on a big flat. On our first pull we had a 26-1/2, a 22-1/2 and a 22-3/4, and I told Bev, we know fish are here, we’re outta here, and won’t come back until Sunday. We drove by a couple times to check but didn’t fish.”
Fortunately, they had three other spots, plus a fourth fallback in case they “got into trouble” on Plan A. Those wind-driven three-footers took care of that, along with competition they found when they arrived at that first spot.
“Come tournament time we went to our A spot and there were probably eight to 10 boats on it already, and I couldn’t do my troll pattern. We made two passes and we said there’s not any bait fish there now, let’s go to Plan B.” It was a similar but less-crowded area, and they also began trolling in 12 to 14 feet of water.
It took about 90 anxious minutes before the first fish came, a 24-1/2-incher. “We put seven on the card here, stayed there and ground it out,” he said. There were five or six boats in the same area, but they were basically by themselves, bobbing in three-footers at least. After that we got a 24-1/2, a 24, a 23-3/4 and a 22-1/2. The 24-3/4 came around 1, and probably moved up from deeper water, he said.
“At that point after we put that last 24 in, we were hoping to be close,” he said. “At least in the top five,” Beverly Standly added. Since they’re extremely familiar with Lake of the Woods, watch out for this team.
In second place, the team of father Brian and son Chris Messerschmidt weren’t expecting to land 25.09 pounds and a $2,500 check after their pre-fishing, or rather, non-pre-catching, on Winnibigoshish prior to Sunday. But they did it with Yamaha 250 SHO-power and Garmin electronics, with more cash potentially coming from both those in incentive rewards.
“Pre-fishing was rather difficult. We only had one good fish a day and I think we caught three or four total,” Chris Messerschmidt, from Lino Lakes (father Brian is from Forest Lake) said. “We started off figuring, let’s just go fill our card and we’d troll the rest of the day. But by 8:30 we had three fish on the card, so we went to a couple of backup spots, including where I caught the decent fish the day prior. The fish were still there,” he said. The first pass definitely told the tale. They stayed the rest of the day.
“The first pass within 30 seconds we doubled up with a 22 and a 23-incher. And it was on after that. We probably caught 20 to 25 walleyes on that one spot and threw back numerous 20-inch fish. That was totally not expected, but it’s one of those things, sometimes you just fall into something, and we got super lucky,” he said.
“Our biggest was about a 24-1/2, and that fish came with two minutes before we needed to head in. We were ecstatic for that last fish. Before that we still had 23 pounds and change for weight but that last kicker put us up there. It’s something that’s never happened to us,” Chris said.
In about three weeks, they’ll also be among the teams headed to Baudette and Lake of the Woods. “It’s one of our favorite places to fish. We had 40 pounds there each day for the state championship in 2018 (91-plus won it), and we’ll definitely be up there,” he added.
Hunter Nitti of Rosemount and Tony Nitti of Blaine are the nephew-uncle team, winning $2,000 in AIM money, plus $1,400 in first-place side pot money. They boated 25.05 pounds.
In fourth were Tom Huynh of Moorhead, and Nate Wolske of Boy River, who landed 25 pounds, good for $1,700, plus another $840 in second-place side pot money.
Fifth went to Jeff Holz, of Dodge Center, and Andy Hage from Mankato, with 23.62 pounds. That earned them $1,500, plus a cool $560 in third-place side pot money.
One last comment from the Standlys is telling about the upcoming Minnesota championship at the end of August.
“I’ve fished it (Lake of the Woods) my whole life,” Al Standly said. “But on that lake like any you can do good pre-fishing and turn around and stink it up on tournament day, but if they’re there and if everything works out for us…”
And right now, that’s exactly what all other teams who will be in Baudette in a few weeks, who will be at North Dakota’s Beulah Bay, and those getting geeked about fishing Lake Winnebago are thinking. If everything works out… and for one team, who plan wisely, have multiple fallbacks, and establish that all-important pattern, or find it all by sheer fishing luck, it will, in each of the three states.
Stay with us as the AWWS moves into its state championship season, starting with North Dakota Aug. 14-15 on Lake Sakakawea. Wisconsin is next, Aug. 21-22, on Lake Winnebago from Oshkosh, followed by Minnesota and Lake of the Woods Aug. 28-29. See who will come out on top, both for those events, and Yamaha Motor Corp USA Team Of The Year. Follow all the standings and on-water action on tournament day at AIM’s Facebook page.
For all the information on joining in on the fun, go to AIM’s website.
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