NPAA Pro Anglers Claim Top Spots at AIM Championship
Sep 8th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Sep 8th, 2009 at 12:00 AM
National Professional Anglers Association members competed in the AIM
International Walleye Championship Sept. 2-4. They claimed all the “money” spots on northern Minnesota’s Lake Winnibigoshish.
Pro Todd Riley, Amery, Wisconsin, accomplished a number of personal goals. He led the AIM tournament all three days, recording daily weights that averaged about 34 pounds for seven walleyes, breaking previous AIM tournament “weight” records with his 102.51 pound total, winning his first walleye Championship and the Angler of the Year title.
Under the AIM format, after an angler catches a walleye it is measured. A photo is taken and the fish is released within seconds. Pros bring cameras to the score-keeper, and photos are displayed on big screens while the anglers describe the action. “This format lets a person who can find and catch fish really excel. It’s why I won Angler of the Year,” Riley said. He also had 2009 AIM finishes of second, 12th and 18th. As the Championship winner, Riley won a Lund 2075 walleye boat powered by a Mercury Verado 300-hp outboard, valued at $65,000.
NPAA Member, Marty Glorvigen, Grand Rapids, Minnesota, learned to fish on “Winnie,” as the big lake is affectionately known. He said, “These anglers cracked the code on a lake that was not producing big fish for the locals.” Todd Riley averaged 4.88 pounds per walleye. Second place pro Jim Carroll averaged 5.57 pounds on the final day.
A big crowd of local anglers, guides, Lake Winnibigoshish resort owners and fans cheered the pros as they described their tactics. Riley’s detailed presentation could be duplicated on numerous other walleye waters and shows how “pros” adapt. After searching the big lake for days and not seeing the fish he knew lived there, Riley broke out the Offshore planer boards, attached spinners and crawler harnesses and set-off across a flat with his lures running six feet below the surface in 12 to 15 feet of water. “Massive schools of perch and shiners were all over. The aggressive walleyes would rise up with the bait and grab my spinners and crawlers,” he said.
The exact presentation was a 3-hook crawler harness with a #2 hook followed by two #4 hooks. The best combinations were silver blade with red beads and a gold blade with green beads. Adding a one-fourth ounce in-line sinker, he trolled the harnesses on Offshore planer boards 30-feet to the side on 12-pound Berkley Sensation line. He used about 150 night crawlers daily and handled as many as 75 walleyes each day. “On the final two days I photographed 22 fish,” Riley said.
Second place Carroll from Minot, North Dakota, went to the extreme, catching his fish as deep as 45 feet. He fished in structure-laden Cut Foot Sioux Lake, concentrating on the 27 to 45-foot depths. Piloting the Scheel’s boat to the tips of deep points with shale and rocks, he dropped six to nine-inch creek chubs and redtail minnows down to his walleye haunts. To get the big minnows to the fish, Carroll employed 9-foot Berkley Trilene 100-percent fluorocarbon leaders in 8-pound test, adding a 1 1/4th ounce Today’s Tackle Foam Walker slip sinker. The foam remained upright and line fed easily when a walleye picked it up. “I lost several big fish and maybe the Championship, but that’s chubbin’,” said Carroll. He won $6,996.
Third and fourth place pros, Jason Przekurat, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and David A. Andersen, Amery, Wisconsin ran similar presentations to Riley. They won $5,088, and $4,452 respectively. Fifth place pro Marty Glorvigen added a few rigging twists to his presentation to win $4,134. He fished the main bar in Cut Foot Sioux Lake, working the 23 to 33 foot depths adjacent to the deepest water.
The walleyes he caught had black bellies and leeches on their fins from living “belly-to-the-bottom” in the rocks. “To trigger these fish, I used 8 to 10-inch chubs. Ahead of the number two hook, I added a red Northland rattle bead. Without the rattle bead, I got no bites,” Glorvigen said. Adding a number 12 stinger hook and a 1/4th ounce slip sinker, he would hover his Lund boat directly over the fish that showed on the Lowrance electronics. “I shook the rattle bead, let the minnow swim, pulled it back to the rocks, shook it again, and ‘wham,’ they hit,” he explained.
He gave them one to two minutes prior to setting the hook. The main line was 10-pound Berkley Crystal FireLine, with a 6-foot leader of either four or six pound green Spider Wire Super Mono to let the chubs swim naturally. Glorvigen won $4,134.
NPAA members scoring sixth to 10th were Bruce Samson, Minnetrista, Minnesota, John Schneider, Shawano, Wisconsin, Mark Martin, Twin Lake, Michigan, Pat Neu, Forestville, Wisconsin, and David Anderson, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. They each won $3,816. NPAA members Tom Kemos, Marianne Huskey and Dennis Gulau conducted a well-attended youth clinic/seminar prior to the final days stage ceremonies.
The NPAA is a non-profit organization focused on growing the sport of fishing and increasing the professionalism of its members. NPAA supporting partners are also dedicated to helping grow the sport of fishing. They include Northland Fishing Tackle, Navionics, Mercury Marine, Evinrude Outboards, Lund Boats, Ranger Boats, Off-Shore Tackle, Fin-Tech Tackle, Bartness Fishing Products, Berkley, Walleye’s Inc., Greater Insurance Services, Masters Walleye Circuit, AIM Walleye Series, and FLW Outdoors. More NPAA member and association news (and to join) can be viewed at www.npaa.net