Pro or Co, Either way it’s a Go!!!
Mar 14th, 2012 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Mar 14th, 2012 at 10:04 AM
What do you think it takes to become a tournament angler? Of course it takes someone who has a passion – the passion to simply fish! But it also takes that competitiveness that drives them to be the best that they can be. To compete, make friends, be part of a tournament trail. Given that, do you dream that you could be out on the water fishing a tournament? Perhaps even a tournament in the big leagues like an AIM Professional Walleye Series event? Well get going! If you want the experience of fishing with some of the top pro’s in the nation, now’s your chance to do it. Being a co-angler allows you to soak in everything that’s going on at each particular event. You get to fish each day with a different pro. Over the course of the event, that’s three top professional walleye fishermen that you get to spend time with, learn techniques you might not have known and experience the thrill of the chase. It’s a crash course of walleye fishing and you will walk away with so much knowledge and memories that will last a lifetime. Friendships are formed and perhaps it will even give you “the bug” to sign up and become a pro. Join AIM today, instead of dreaming about it, Live it!
In Part One let’s hear from three different professional anglers who have already fished in the AIM circuit. In Part Two we will hear from three different co-anglers and see how they feel about the Pro-Co experience!
Pro Info: Brought to you today by Professional Anglers: Chad Schilling of Akaska, SD; Marty Glorvigen of Grand Rapids, MN and Chase Parsons of Brillion, WI.
1.) Chad you fish the AIM Professional Walleye Circuit as a Professional Angler. Before each tournament there is a meeting to go over the rules and to get introduced to your co-anglers. Can you explain the process of the rules meeting and how your co-anglers are chosen?
Chad: The rules meetings are fast and easy with the AIM format as long as you have fished an event before. The tournament director and staff realize that we have a ton of preparation to get ready for the event and don’t have to spend a bunch of time going over the same information at every event. We are randomly paired with our co-anglers in a quick and efficient manner that allows us to get in and out in a timely fashion.
2.) When you meet the co-angler that will be fishing with you each day, can you tell us what they need to bring along?
Chad: I ask them to bring a lunch and drinks for themselves. I also suggest that they have a set of rain gear and we set a time that we will meet in the morning.
3.) It doesn’t matter who catches the fish during the day since the pro and co’s work together and their combined weight determines the Pro’s weight of the day. However being the pro you must feel some pressure to shine. Have you ever had a co-angler out fish you?
Chad: I have had situations where one of us caught all the fish, but it didn’t mean anything about the quality of the fishermen my partner was. Some cases favor one end of the boat or someone’s strong points. I don’t reel in any fish when I am trolling. I prefer to net. This means that my co-angler caught every fish on most of those days.
4.) Have you ever lost fish due to a co-angler’s error and if so, how do you handle it?
Chad: Things happen. Move on and learn. I have had a couple interesting days that seemed that nothing could go right. It is never just one person’s fault, and it is always the responsibility of the pro to adjust and try to make things work. Not always possible, but still our responsibility to try in a professional manner. No excuse for complete loss of temper or patience.
5.) As a pro, has there ever been another professional angler that you have always wished you could learn from and fish with? If so, who would you like to spend a day on the water with and why?
Chad: Mike Gofron. No matter where you draw Mike, he is always a threat to win. Mike seems to never have a bad tournament and I have had many of the same co-anglers that he has had and have never had one of those co-anglers say that they didn’t have a great day. That says a lot about not only how great of fishermen he is, but also what kind of person he is.
1.) What did it take for you to decide to fish in the AIM Professional Walleye Circuit as a Pro?
Marty: The fact that it was true catch and release at the boat. The luck factor was removed from slot tournaments. It is impossible for someone to manipulate cull, no cull. He who catches the most weight wins. Most of all no one could complain about abusing the fisheries.
2.) How do you like the format of being able to fish with a Co each day?
Marty: Always enjoy teaching new anglers.
3.) During an AIM event, boat weight is used to determine the professional angler’s weight. Taking time to teach your co-angler what you expect from them throughout the day is important because you are working together as a team. What is the one most important thing you try to teach them while fishing in your boat?
Marty: It is the little things that make all the difference.
4.) It doesn’t matter who catches the fish during the day since the pro and co’s work together and their combined weight determines the Pro’s weight of the day. However being the pro you must feel some pressure to “shine”. Have you ever had a co-angler out-fish you?
Marty: Depends, if we are trolling and it is rough seas the co will get to reel in the fish and I will net. It is all about boat control. Sometimes you get them and sometimes the co gets to catch them.
5.) As a pro, is there another pro that you have always wished you could learn from and fish with? If so, who would you like to spend a day on the water with and why?
Marty: Yes, a rookie pro just to see a new perspective on how they think and react to fishing situations. The old disheveled guys get stuck in their ways.
(Chase has fished the walleye tournaments as first a co-angler and now as a professional angler.)
1.) How did you first decide whether you wanted to fish walleye tournaments as a co-angler or a professional angler?
Chase: Actually deciding to fish Co-Angler wasn’t a choice on my end…at the time (2005) the major circuit around was the PWT. Back in those days, there were waiting lists to enter as a Professional and the organization told me I needed to fish a full season as a Co-Angler before they’d let me enter as a pro. Looking back at the experience of fishing that season, it was one of the best things I could have done, and something that I would recommend to anyone interested in entering the pro ranks. There isn’t a quicker way to learn how to become a successful tournament angler, than being in the boat with some of the best anglers in the country, when every bite counts!
2.) What are your favorite memories of the co-pro experience?
Chase: I can’t put my finger on one specific memory but I gained a ton of knowledge on how different anglers fish the same presentations. Growing up learning from Dad and Keith (Uncle Keith Kavajecz), I already knew how they jigged, trolled or rigged, but being in the boat with other guys, I picked up on little changes others use in those techniques. There are times when what I was taught my whole life, works best and other times the differences I learned from other pros, seem to produce more as well. Knowledge like that is priceless…
3.) You gained a ton of knowledge fishing with so many different anglers. Who were some of your favorite pro’s to fish with and why?
Chase: All the pros I fished with were great guys, in which I took something new out of the day from all of them. I was able to fish with Tommy Skarlis, who has a proven track record of being extremely successful in tournaments, so it was nice to see how he handles himself in the boat. Scott Fairbairn was another guy, who at the time, was very successful and had a different way of doing things than what I was used to. Gerrick McComsey was one of my favorites as well, he’s a great guy and of course, I’m one of the few that know what the secret “McComsey” plastic tail is, for the western reservoirs.
4.) After a year of fishing as a co, you turned pro. How was that transition from co-angler to professional angler?
Chase: The transition was awesome! I felt like during my Co-Angler year I could have competed with some of the guys in the pro ranks, but what I learned was extremely important. One of the things I noticed was that all the anglers who are successful, seemed to be positive no matter what. They each acted like they’ve “been there before” in terms of being near the top of the leader board. The biggest key to being successful is keeping a cool head and my co-angler year definitely helped me transition into having a great rookie year as a pro.
5.) With the experiences of fishing both as a co and a pro, does this help you now when you’re teaching the co’s that work with you?
Chase: I would say yes, I realized that at one time I was in their position and in turn have a ton of respect for each co-angler I have. I always say, a great co-angler is one who is willing to learn, and almost everyone I’ve had as a co the last 7 years have been exactly that. I was nervous as a co-angler, even after fishing my whole life with two of the best, so some of the first things I like to do with my co-anglers is talk about anything other than fishing…football, hunting, family, just to break the ice and make them relax. A relaxed co-angler looking for a learning experience and a fun day on the water, is always the best!!
6.) What’s the main experience you try to give co-anglers and what advice would you give them if they were considering turning pro?
Chase: Co-Anglers are a huge part of the tournament scenario and my goal is to teach them as much as I can, in one day, about catching more walleyes. The better teacher I can be, the better weight we’ll have come stage time. For Co-Anglers looking to turn pro, I’d keep a close eye on guys who fish full circuits or do this for a living. Watch how they fish techniques, how they handle themselves in public, how their boats are set up, basically everything you can figure out about them. When you turn pro, be confident, but also be ready to learn every day. There isn’t a quicker way to learn, than taking a beating from the likes of Gofron, P and K, Skarlis, King, Kemos, Martin, and the list goes on and on with the talent of pros from the AIM tour.
Those were some great answers for anyone who loves to fish walleye and are interested in the life of tournament fishing. In Part Two of this article, we will hear from the co-anglers. Log on to read the interviews with co-anglers Dave Eddy and Bob Luellen, gain their knowledge and perspective of fishing with the Pro’s in a AIM event. AIM currently has co-angler openings in 3 of the events for 2012 – Lake Erie out of Loraine, OH in June, Green Bay out of Oconto, WI in July and Lake of the Woods out of Baudette, MN. Come join us and start living that dream! For more information on how to join the AIM Professional Walleye Circuit please go to www.aimfishing.com and click on “EVENTS” and read about the tournament you are interested in. If you decide to fish AIM you will be fishing with the best. Either way, as a Pro or a Co—It’s a GO!
Part one of a two part article.