NPAA Member Jarrad Fluekiger Takes Bay City AIM Pro Walleye Series Event
May 24th, 2010 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified May 24th, 2010 at 12:00 AM
The bite at the AIM Pro Walleye Series tournament on the Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay out of Bay City was anything but easy during the prefish; rain and huge winds had the River muddied up badly, and the lake was inconsistent offering the shallow bite and some action far to the North.
Almost every possible presentation was in play. Walleyes were caught in prefish pulling leadcore, pitching cranks, pitching jigs, vertical jigging, pulling spinners, and trolling crankbaits high in the water column. All of the Pros expressed how great it was fishing a body of water where this sort of versatility was available, but none had bet that the bite Jarrad Fluekiger NPAA Pro #860 was on would win the event.
As the river cleared up the last couple days of practice, Fluekiger’s team mates told him he needed to check the river mouth area, and check really shallow. He took a look at the area, and caught an 18″ and a 21″ despite the fact he was less than impressed with the structural elements. The fish were there, and up in less than two feet of water. It seems a dredging barge was working the area all week, and had pushed the fish in the channel up into the shallows. Fluekiger said he had to be very careful with the use of his electric motor, as the fish were so shallow running the motor a lot seemed to spook them.
Day one’s weight of 31.95 for Fluekiger was enough to give him a solid shot at a top five finish, but day two was HUGE for him. The big fish showed up in his spot, and he CRR’d a new AIM record at 48.47 pounds, rocketing him into first by a margin of almost 21 pounds over second place seasoned Pro John Kolinski, NPAA Pro #14.
Kolinski said in a morning day three interview he wouldn’t give up. He spoke of seeing many Pro’s stumble the final day, and a big weight was certainly possible where he was fishing. Kolinski was on the something there; he came in with 37.93 pounds to take the lead and force Fluekiger to weigh in over 17 pounds for the win.
One wouldn’t think that would be a problem judging from the 80.42 pound two day total Fluekiger was working with from days one and two, but Fluekiger wasn’t thinking about the third day being a Saturday. The big dredge boat’s crew must, as Fluekiger said on stage, “Not have worked on Saturday. The Dredge was gone!”
The bite was off in that shallow area and Fluekiger scrounged all day to come in with what looked like a near tie when the math was done. “My Co did the math, but I don’t know if I can believe it”, Jarrad said on stage.
MC Gary Parsons gather Jarrad Fluekiger and John Kolinski together near the weigh master monitor, and announced that Jarrad would need over 17 to win. When the weight flashed upon the screen, Gary read, “Jarrad, your weight today is…18.11!”
This was Jarrad Fluekiger’s first Pro win, and it was an emotional one. He still was absorbing the win the next morning when he talked with AIM reporters at the gas station fueling for the ride home. Fluekiger won $30,000.00 with the win, and more importantly, he beat some of the very best walleye anglers in the world; a goal he had set for himself when he went Pro.
NPAA Pros finishing in the top 15 included: John Kolinski #14 Second Place, Keith Kavajecz #42 Third, Chad Schilling #283 Fourth, Brandon Carpenter #393 Fifth, Jim Carroll #13 Seventh, Joe Okada #660 Eighth, Robert Blosser #225 Ninth, and Tom Gatzke #868 Tenth, David A. Anderson #509 Eleventh, Danny Plautz #315 Thirteenth, Tom Kemos #913 Fourteenth, Chase Parsons #806 Fifteenth.
The NPAA is a non-profit organization focused on growing the sport of fishing and increasing the professionalism of its members. Its supporting partners include Northland Fishing Tackle, Navionics, Mercury Marine, Evinrude Outboards, Lund Boats, Ranger Boats, Off-Shore Tackle, Fin-Tech Tackle, Berkley, AIM Walleye Series, Masters Walleye Circuit, FLW Outdoors, Frabill, U.S. Forest Service, Liddle Marketing, FPS Financial Planning Services, Do-it Corp., Optima Batteries, John Butts Outdoors, Pasha Lake Cabins, Oahe Wings and Walleyes Guide Service, Outdoor First Media, Advanced Tex Screen Printing, Pro Staff Gear, and Worldwide Marine Underwriters. More NPAA member and association news can be viewed at www.npaa.net.