Blosser Wins Tight Race For AIM Angler Of The Year Award
Sep 9th, 2010 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Sep 9th, 2010 at 12:00 AM
Walleye pros go from structure to open water and back again over the course of a season. The distance from bobbers to boards is several light years, so nobody can be strong at every aspect of the game and every tournament is like a college course. Learn fast or disappear. All of which makes Angler of The Year stories hard to beat.
The Angler’s Insight Marketing (AIM) JJ keller Fishing Team Angler of The Year for 2010 is Robert Blosser NPAA#255 of Poynette, Wisconsin. The honor includes a $10,000 cash prize. A full-time walleye pro since 2007, Blosser put it all together in only his fourth year, following up a big hard-bait victory on Green Bay with a strong second-place finish at the AIM International Walleye Championship on Lake Winnibigoshish in Minnesota, where he used nothing but live bait on specific structural elements. It was Blosser’s first Angler of The Year award. AIM uses a point system that guarantees consistent anglers place highest. Fishing all five AIM tournaments this year, Blosser invaded the top 10 four times, including a $30,000 win at Green Bay in early July. Even so, he couldn’t pull away from this pack. Blosser went into the Championship leading Jarrad Fluekiger of Wisconsin by less than two points for the annual honors. Keith Kavajecz (WI) and Jim Carroll (ND) were close on their heels. It was a wild ride, but placing second at the Championship put Blosser over the top.
“It was a tough bite for everybody except the top 10 or 12 pros,” Blosser said of the early September Championship. “The rest of the field struggled. Winds were terrible all week and gusting over 50 mph when they cancelled day three, but I think people were stuck on the fact that last-year’s winner, Todd Riley, blew away the field by trolling spinners in open water. By the time most of them figured out that this year’s dynamic was dramatically different, it was a little late.” Mike Gofron won the Championship with a two-day bag totaling 53.95 pounds for 14 fish (seven are recorded each day). Blosser, who admits his strengths are leadcore trolling and open-water patterns, fought off the rest of the pack with a total of 48.76 pounds. And he did it rigging with crawlers, leeches, and redtail chubs. “I rigged crawlers each morning, looking for numbers,” Blosser revealed. “I switched to leeches by late morning and when I felt I had a decent bag I went to redtails, looking for monsters. Redtails produced four of my biggest fish-all 23 to 24 inches.”
Blosser had to rein in his Yamaha-powered Ranger to place. “Speed was critical,” he said. “With crawlers and leeches, I crept along at .6 to .8 mph. Once I got to the redtails I had to park the boat on top of them, waiting an average of 3 to 5 minutes to set the hook after feeling a take.” Active fish were anywhere from 14- to 25-feet down. “The key was finding the steepest break between those depths on mid-lake structures,” Blosser said. He used 10-pound Berkley FireLine with an 8-foot Berkley XT mono leader and a one half ounce egg sinker to make his presentations. “The bait had to be up off bottom,” he added. “I injected air into the crawlers and used floating beads with the leeches. Redtails were keeping themselves off bottom. Mid-lake walleyes were all cisco fish, and they were fat. Shoreline fish were smaller.”
The Angler of The Year race was close all the way, but in the back of Blosser’s mind. “There were basically four guys in the running for Angler of The Year going into the championship, including Fluekiger, Kavajecz, and Carroll,” Blosser said. “Gofron had a chance to win it, too, had he blown the field away. The blow day was bittersweet for me. It gave me Angler of the Year but I think I had a real shot at winning the tournament.” AIM pros can ignore slot restrictions-a big factor in Minnesota venues. Every walleye caught in an AIM tournament is measured, recorded, and released on the spot. State bag and slot limits don’t matter, and AIM allows anglers to “weigh in” their top seven fish each day. This revolutionary CCR (Catch, Record, and Release) format is catching on-especially with biologists and fisheries managers, who appreciate the fact that AIM tournaments never experience post-weigh-in die-offs.
Blosser used his strengths to place 5th at the AIM South Dakota Walleye Classic on Oahe in August this year-trolling Rapala Jointed Shad Raps over the tree tops with leadcore. He finished 8th on Saginaw Bay fishing cranks on isolated rock piles. Successfully presenting a variety of live baits to nit-picky walleyes on Winnie brought him full circle, rounding every base. In the walleye tournament business, venues and patterns move in and out of your wheelhouse. The high hard one, that pitch you can generally hit out of the park, shows up once or twice a year. The rest of the time, you’re scratching out hits. Up against names like Parsons, Skarlis, Martin, Takasaki, Glorvigen, Gofron and Brumbaugh, Blosser recorded the best on-base average of all in 2010. When his pitch finally came around, he was ready. And he parked it.
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