NPAA Members Dominate Inaugural AIM Event
May 30th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified May 30th, 2009 at 12:00 AM
NPAA Members Dominate Inaugural AIM Event
Skarlis Wins Battle of the Legends
Tommy Skarlis, Gary Parsons and more than 40 other legends of walleye fishing battled for top honors in the first-ever Anglers Insight Marketing (AIM) Pro Walleye Series tournament May 22-24 at Bay City, Michigan.
The new Catch-Record-Release format allowed anglers to compete without ever weighing a fish. Their catches were measured, photographed and released; the length of each angler’s seven largest fish for each day was converted into pounds and ounces using a standardized formula. In the end, Skarlis tallied 479.25 inches during the three-day event, good for 100.93 pounds and a $27,000 payday, just 1.21 pounds ahead of Parsons, who collected $5,940 for second place. Both Skarlis and Parsons won an additional $5,000 each for entering AIM’s Super Cash Pool prior to the event.
Skarlis and Parsons are longtime NPAA members, and in fact association members dominated the tournament claiming the top 24 places in the field. Tom Kemos placed third with 91.11 pounds worth $4,320, followed by John Kolinski with 89.12 pounds for $3,780 and Mike Gofron with 80.24 for $3,510.
I’m very proud of our members showing, said NPAA Executive Director Cody Roswick. It’s a testament to their abilities that so many anglers did so well with such a variety of different techniques. Indeed, the walleye-rich fishery of Saginaw Bay offered competitors a number of fishing options, from big-water trolling on the bay to picking apart small slices of structure with jigs in the river and around the river mouth.
After exploring several patterns prefishing, Skarlis fished Lindy X-Change jigs tipped with Berkley Gulp! Alive! Minnows on 8- to 12-foot shelves along the main channel. He also trolled Lindy Old Guides Secret spinners with 3-hook nightcrawler harnesses along 6-foot contours just outside the river mouth. There, emerging weed growth and light-biting walleyes made Tattle Flags on his OR12 Off-Shore Planer Boards a big factor, he noted. Skarlis also noted that his engine-mount Minn Kota electric trolling motor played a key role but also allowed hims to run relatively short lines without spooking the fish.
After discovering walleye “Shangri-La” in the river during prefishing, Parsons remained faithful to it throughout the event. “The fishing was phenomenal,” he said. “I handled an average of 30 walleyes a day (up to 28 inches in length) plus 60 to 70 other fish including catfish, smallmouth bass and freshwater drum. And I had it all to myself a long cast from the launch. I didn’t burn five gallons of gas the whole tournament.”
Parsons’ go-to pattern was targeting current breaks above bridge pilings with Â¼- to 3/8-ounce Fin-tech Nuckle Ball and Bass Pro Shops XPS jigheads tipped with 3-inch Berkley Gulp! Alive! Minnows. The jig designs produced different actions,he said, noting that Nuckle Balls cause the Gulp tail to flip violently on contact with bottom, while XPS heads swim on the drop, giving the Minnow an erratic action. It was exciting,Parsons said after the dust settled. The C-R-R format was far superior to that of any tournament he’d ever fished. It allowed us to focus on fishing not on keeping fish alive in the livewell and the weigh-in was extremely fair.
Next stop on the AIM trail is the Bay of Green Bay July 2-4. For more information, visit www.aimfishing.com The NPAA is dedicated to improving and bringing professionalism to the sport of walleye fishing. Membership is open to all anglers wishing to become affiliated and learn more about tactics, sponsorships, the industry, youth events, and to help grow fishing participation. NPAA supporting partners who share the same goals include Northland Fishing Tackle, Navionics, Mercury Marine, Evinrude Outboards, Lund Boats, Ranger Boats, Off-Shore Tackle, Fin-tech Tackle, Berkley, Walleye’s Inc., Greater Insurance Services, Masters Walleye Circuit, FLW Outdoors, and Anglers Insight Marketing. To learn more about the NPAA and its members go to www.npaa.net.
Top 24 AIM finishers with their NPAA number:
1. Tommy Skarlis #11
2. Gary Parsons #24
3. Tom Kemos #913
4. John Kolinski #14
5. Mike Gofron #93
6. Dennis Gulau #504 (New)
7. Jason Przekurat #169
8. Chase Parsons #806
9. Chad Schilling #283
10. Keith Kavajecz #81
11. Todd Riley #19
12. Gil Mollett #309
13. Mark Brumbaugh #70
14. Pat Neu #77
15. Rich Mealey #55
16. Brandon Carpenter #393
17. Dave Vanoss #45
18. Rick Olson #4
19. Jim Carroll #13
20. Tom Backer #33
21. Scott Glorvigen #34
22. Rich Boggs #495
23. Marty Glorvigen #21
24. Bruce Mirabella #135