Next Stop: Brimley, MI Part Two:

Category: article

 Apr 11th, 2012 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Apr 11th, 2012 at 11:58 AM

(This is Part Two of the two part article for AIM’s first Bay Mills Resort and Casino’s CAN/AM (Canadian/American) Invitational.  Interviews with past winners fishing the Brimley event and interviews with the team captains from Canada and the USA.)

As mentioned in Part One, Brimley, MI is the first event in the 2012 AIM Professional Walleye Series. Hosted by Bay Mills Resort and Casino, this CAN/AM (Canadian/American) Invitational will be held from May 31-June 2, 2012.  Using AIM’s format of CRR (Catch, Record, Release) the sky is the limit for HUGE weights at each and every event.  AIM tournaments bring back the fun of simply fishing for the biggest fish.  Thirty-one Canadian anglers competing against thirty-one American anglers, with each angler hoping for the chance to bring home the $40,000.00 first place prize. Each angler on the winning team will also receive a bonus payout from the Bay Mills Resort and Casino.  The competition will be tough. Each country is hoping to bring home the win.

Interviewed in Part One was American team captain and 2012 Angler of the Year, Brett King.  Canadian team captain Joe Giuliani was also interviewed.  Let’s see what the other two team captains for the American and Canadian teams have to say—American Mark Martin and Canadian John Butts.  First though, let’s see what another awesome fisherman on this system, American Pro Jim Carroll has to say.  Jim was able to bag 10+ pound walleyes while fishing on Lake Superior in 2010.  Here are a few thoughts from Jim regarding fishing up at Brimley, MI again:

(Interview Jim Carroll)
1.    Jim, Bay Mills Resort and Casino up in Brimley, MI has decided to host another international tournament. The PWT (Professional Walleye Tournament) had one up in Dryden in 2008.  This will be the first Professional AIM international event.  Are you excited to be competing against both American and Canadian anglers and how competitive do you think both countries will be? 
Jim:  I’m very excited and I think the Canadians will be tough again this time too.  I feel like the guys that fished on the losing U.S. side in 2008 at Dryden will be looking to even the score.  The Canucks have bragging rights now, we want them back.

2.    In 2010 you fished the AIM event up at Brimley and you were able to bring huge weights to the stage.  Were you fishing the same time of year in 2010 and do you believe the anglers will be able to bring these kind of weights to the stage again?
Jim:  Any time we fish in a Great Lakes event there is a possibility of giant fish.  Either Lake Superior or Lake Huron can produce some big bags this time of the year.

3.    What technique or techniques were you using and will you use those same strategies again, fishing the same areas that you fished in 2010?
Jim:  I’ve fished primarily crank baits there the past couple of years.  One of the things you learn very quickly in the tournament game is to take a fresh look at every event.  Fishing the current conditions with too many preconceived notions will usually get you in trouble.  Walleyes can be notoriously finicky—here today and gone tomorrow—type of fish. The minute you think you have them wired you are setting yourself up for disappointment.  The angler that wins this tournament will definitely earn it.  It’s one of the most challenging places that we fish.

4.    An International Walleye tournament is such an awesome way to bring together the top anglers from each country.  In 2010 you had the ability to catch huge walleye that can easily weigh over ten pounds each!  How do you like the AIM format of CRR (Catch, Record, Release) and how do you think this format will affect the day to day weights? 
Jim:  Fishing an AIM event is all about walleye tournament excitement. Because of our format and the potential size of the fish in the system, an angler is never really out of contention and a big comeback on Day 3 to win is always a possibility.  Every time we have fished that system somebody has found something new and I’m sure our Canadian friends will have some fresh tricks up their sleeves. 

5.    If you were a betting man, which country would you bet on and what do you believe the total daily weights will be to bring home the AIM CAN/AM win?
Jim:  I’m betting on Team USA again this time, but I thought we’d win at Dryden too.  I think it’s going to be close between the teams and the winner of the tournament will have somewhere between 45 and 55 pounds.  GO USA!

Professional angler Mark Martin has been fishing in the major tournament circuits for well over 20 years and was chosen as one of the American team captains for this event, certainly is a great honor for Mark.  Here is what he has to say about the new experiences  encountered getting ready for such an exciting event:

(Interview with Mark Martin)
1.    Mark how were the captains chosen for this very first AIM CAN/AM premiere event up at Bay Mills Resort and Casino in Brimley, MI?
Mark:  I was chosen for my relationship with Bay Mills Resort & Casino and getting them for a site sponsor early on.  Brett King was chosen for winning last years Angler of the Year.

2.    How was it decided how many anglers from the United States and Canada would be competing against one another?
Mark:  Bay Mills Resort & Casino decided the Anglers from the USA would be chosen from the list that had fished and supported the Brimley event the prior year (31) & match (31) for Canadian anglers as their facility parking lot could only handle that many anglers and tow vehicles (along with having the tent and their regular patrons there.)

3.    Competing and fishing against Canadian teams certainly brings out some pretty competitive energy.  How do you feel the Americans will fare against some of the top Canadian fishermen?
Mark:  I feel it will be a pretty evenly matched event although the Canadian team will share more information between themselves than Team USA (that is where they get the advantage).  But all said, it will be a very close finish with the advantage going to Team USA for our years of experience on that system and the use of artificial bait only. 

4.    Do you enjoy AIM’s format of CRR and how has that affected your love of the sport of walleye fishing?
Mark:  AIMS’ CRR format will soon be the standard in the Fishing Tournament Industry. As more people experience, use and hear about CRR, the more fans we make with the local communities and people watching the web site.  After fishing Professional Tournament fishing for almost 30 years, the Green Aspect of AIM’s format (the fish having minimal time out of their actual environment) is what makes me happy. Being able to put the fish right back into the water, their comfort zone, to possibly get caught by me again during the tournament.  Instead of a 10-20 mile ride in a live-well back to the weigh-in and put back into a foreign area where they have to quickly relocate a home, food to survive and even a new spawning area at times. As far as I am concerned, this is the only way to conduct a tournament. Focus on preserving the fisheries and protecting the future of our sport.

5.    Are you excited about the awesome prime time locations and the prime calendar times that were chosen for all of the AIM tournaments this year?
Mark:  This is the best line up of Tournaments and Times I have seen in years.  I am very excited to get the 2012 season started!

As mentioned, Joe Giuliani representing as a team captain for the Canadian team was interviewed in Part One of this article.  Also chosen as a team captain for the Canadian team is Angler John Butts.  Here is what John has to say about the new experiences he’s encountered getting ready for such an exciting event:

(Interview with John Butts) 
1.    John you have fished many AIM events.  How much emphasis do you feel anglers will put on the individual competition as compared to winning an overall CAN/AM title?
John:  I have fished several AIM events and just love the CRR format.  Our team will put more emphasis on winning the over all Can-Am title but make no mistake, we all want to win both titles.

2.    Are most of the Canadian anglers local to the Saint Mary’s river system or are the anglers from across Canada?
John:  About half the Anglers have fished the St Mary’s before but half are from Thunder Bay west to Alberta and this will be a new challenge for them which they are looking forward to.

3.    With AIMS’ format of CRR (Catch, Record, Release) do you feel this is the future of tournament fishing and have there been any other CRR tournaments in Canada?
John:  I believe this is the future for some events. But it’s hard to use CRR in a total team event for obvious reasons. There have been a few events in Canada to use the CRR most notably the Angler Young Angler Championship with awesome results.

4.    How do you like the Pro-Am concept and being one of the first captains to bring competitive fishing together for both the American and Canadian teams? 
John:  Personally I prefer the Pro-Am concept as it brings more people to the sport and for me I enjoy meeting new people from all across North America. I am honored to be one of the captains and consider it be a major accomplishment in my fishing career. Introducing so many great Canadians to fishing at this level has been very exciting for me.

5.    John you own a full-service guiding business that operates from Dryden, Ontario.  Your generosity and dedication to the sport of fishing and hunting has led to a partnership with AIM where you have provided 5-day whitetail hunts to the participants and fans of the AIM Pro Walleye Series.  How good is the whitetail hunting by you and will you be doing that again this year?
John:  The Whitetail hunting in the Dryden area is fabulous and it is hard to find a better place to hunt–Just ask Rob Blosser and Dan Plautz. Not sure what direction I will take this year with donated hunts as I am solidly booked, thanks to AIM and their marketing reach.

Bay Mills Resort & Casinos is located in Brimley, Michigan on the shores of Lake Superior. Anglers have access to Lake Superior, the Saint Mary’s River system, plus downstream from the international locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.  With Bay Mills Resort & Casinos’ sponsorship, awesome cash prizes and bonus payouts, this will make the AIM Professional Walleye Circuit, Bay Mills Can-Am Invitational the most lucrative walleye tournament in 2012!

Fishing on an International level will certainly add excitement to the sport of walleye fishing for both the anglers and sponsors of the event.  Who will bring home the top prize at Brimley, MI this year?  For some anglers the real title just might be which Country will grab that very first AIM CAN/AM title!  

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