Can Kemos Repeat at Bay Mills?
Jun 3rd, 2011 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Jun 3rd, 2011 at 10:42 AM
It’s the same question in any sport. Does a recent win necessarily give the winner an advantage going into the next competition?
Coming off a win from the first AIM Pro Walleye Series in April on the Winnebago System out of Winneconne the 37-year-old Oconomowoc, Wisconsin resident and walleye professional Tommy Kemos will try an answer that question when he gets set to fish the waters near Brimley in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
The second event of the 2011 AIM Pro Walleye Series™ schedule will be the Bay Mills Invitational Walleye Tournament™, June 2-4. AIM® has teamed up with the Bay Mills Resort & Casino to conduct a special, “artificial bait only” invitational tournament that will be held June 2 to 4, 2011. The Resort, located on the prime fishery near Brimley, Michigan, has pledged additional cash to the event purse.
“I’m going into this (the Bay Mills Invitational) like I did at Winneconne, with my head on straight and to fish against the fish,” Kemos said. “I’m looking to redeem myself after last year’s tournament at Brimley,” he said. In that tournament, Kemos placed in the top ten after the first two days but then faded for a distant 19th place finish.
“I have my hat in my hand coming into the Brimley tournament,” Kemos said. He added, “It certainly helps to start the season with a win and get the momentum going your way. That being said, this is one of the toughest groups of competitors in a walleye tournament. And a lot of others are hungry to get a victory. These are the best anglers in the business.”
In his ninth year fishing professionally, Kemos thinks the Bay Mills Invitational tournament has some special challenges, especially this year. The area is very different than the Wolf River chain of lakes. “This is a high quality fishery that is unique and extremely challenging with very clear water making the fish hard to trick.”
“Another thing with this being a late spring this year, the water temperature is still cold. I always try to watch the local weather going into a tournament and keep a constant eye on satellite imagery. Dealing with cold water and lower water levels presents an interesting challenge. Last year I had to travel over very shallow water to catch fish. Those areas may not be accessible this year,” he said. “I’ve got my waders packed,” he joked.
While some boats may make long runs down through the Soo Locks, fishing close in Brimley Bay shouldn’t be passed up. “It’s the most consistent bite. Last year, many finishing in the top 10 fished within sight of Bay Mills Casino,” Kemos said.
Fresh off a win is one reason Kemos is optimistic about his chances. Having fished this water before may be another advantage, but other professionals have had experience here as well. What may be new is the type of bait Kemos is planning to use. “I have a huge advantage over the rest of the field through working with Uncle Josh Bait Company,” he said.
He’s been experimenting with new bait called MEAT that has been in development for over a year. “We tested it last year and have refined it. I have the finished product which will be released at the ICAST show this summer and I am excited to put it to use,” he said.
The new bait is actually made with the fat from a pig. Kemos says the bait is the most life-like he’s seen. It floats, imitates a crawler, leech or minnow and when lying in the palm of your hand, and crumples like it’s alive.
“In the walleye world there have been great advances in the last few years in the area of artificial baits. This bait corrects a lot of shortfalls of the existing products out there. You can replace any live bait technique with this product. It can be used to tip crankbaits or spinners, for vertical jigging or for pitching the MEAT minnow into weeds for walleyes – which is the way we used it last year.
How fish will be caught and where won’t be known until the final weigh-in. “I would say the bite is up in the air but will boil down to some shallow technique like trolling spinners or cranks or swimming jigs shallow across weeds,” he said. “What always comes into play is the amount of water we have available. Someone could go out and catch 7 or 8 or 9 pounders in Lake Superior. In the years we have been there I don’t think we have discovered the full potential of the system.”
Thirty-one boats will compete in the Bay Mills Invitational. The Pros are paired with a different Co-angler partner each day of the event. The filed is cut to the top half of the field after the Day Two weigh-in and only those Pros fish on Day Three.
The tournament headquarters launch and daily weigh-ins are at the Bay Mills Resort and Casino. The boats must check in at 3:30 p.m. each afternoon, with the weigh-ins beginning at 4:30 p.m. For fans unable to make it to Bay Mills, they can view live daily weigh-in at www.aimfishing.com. For more information or rooms call Bay Mills at 1-888-422-9645.