The Future IS AIM’s Catch-Record-Release™ Format, And It’s Here Now
Sep 16th, 2010 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Sep 16th, 2010 at 12:00 AM
The list of those praising the AIM Pro Walleye Series™ unique Catch-Record-Release™ format has just gone international.
Not only are angling industry leaders in the United States recognizing the simplicity and logic of CRR, but wildlife officials, scientists and writers from across North America continent can’t say enough about it as well.
That list includes Texas bass tournament officials who have adopted the format, boating manufacturers who call CRR the future of tournaments, to Canadian fishing experts who witnessed it first-hand at a recent tournament.
They all agree that the wave of the future in tournament fishing is here now, and the AIM Pro Walleye Series is at the forefront of that wave in promoting this fish-saving tournament technique that AIM pros also agree has put the fun back in tournaments.
Here is some of what they saying:
Two respected Canadian fishing experts agree that AIM’s approach to tournament fishing will be seen as heralding a new era in not only promoting a fishing resource, but maintaining that resource for other anglers once the pros have packed up.
From Gordon Pyzer, considered one of the deans of Canadian outdoor writing, an inductee into the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame, fishing editor of Outdoor Canada Magazine, field editor of In-Fisherman Magazine and Television Show, co-host of In-Fisherman Ice Fishing Guide Television, and co-host of the Real Fishing radio show, recently described his introduction to CRR this way:
• “This past weekend I had the opportunity once again to participate in the LUND Angler Young Angler (AYA) International Walleye Championships on Lake of the Woods and it was an eye-opener to say the least.
“For the first time ever, the AYA Championship was run on a Catch, Record and Release (CRR) format and it proved to be amazing in terms of fish care, fish survivability, angler interest, spectator appeal and tournament organization.
“The CRR format was designed by the AIM Pro Walleye Series in the United States, which is comparable to the Bassmaster and FLW series on the bass side of things.
“As soon as a fish is caught, it is measured using an exact, tournament provided, metal bumper board scale. A digital photo is taken of the fish onthe tape so the length is clearly visible and a second photo is taken of the angler holding the fish before it is immediately released.
“The measurements are then recorded on a scorecard not unlike a golf pro recording the number of strokes on a hole. The entire process takes less than 60 seconds to complete.
“I cannot say enough about the benefits of this format and how well the system works. It is simply amazing. Like comparing the 21st Century to the Stone Age.
“On Lake of the Woods, the best ‘big walleye’ section of the lake from a tournament perspective is 15 to 30 miles away from Kenora. Last year, between 100 and 300 or so large walleye (from 4 to 10 pounds) were caught in this section of the lake, placed in livewells, culled over other sections of the lake over the course of the day and then transported all the way back to Kenora where they were then bagged, weighed in and released.
“As LUND’s Ryan Sproule, who was in charge of organizing the event will tell you, because of the time of year, water temperatures, depth of water in which the fish were caught and distance travelled over very rough weather, many, likely most, of the fish died after being released. Even many of the pro guides and tournament anglers were concerned that so many big fish were being moved so many miles away from the prime lake areas and not surviving.
“This year, however, teams were able to weigh in their best 6 big fish, and because all of the fish are immediately released, there is no worry about the “one over 18-inch rule”. This means, as the AIM professional tournament circuit in the United States has shown repeatedly, and remember these are the top pros in the business , that events can be held on almost any water across North America despite the lake specific regulations.
“Indeed, I have spoken with many of the top professional walleye anglers… people like Gary Parsons (the winningest professional angler in walleye tournament history) and John Butts, the only Canadian walleye angler ever to win a Professional Walleye Trail tournament, and to a person they will tell you they love the CRR format. Having seen it in action, I can understand why.
He goes on, describing the “virtual” weigh-in:
“The hype and excitement is identical to an actual weigh in. “BUT …. the fish are all alive, all swimming in the lake on the same points, bars and shoals where they were originally caught. There are no dead fish penalties to be assessed, no teams of anglers upset with a weigh master…and no natural resource agencies worrying about the fact that bass or walleye were caught in 20, 30, or 40 feet of water, brought to the surface, placed in oxygen-deprived water that is 20 degrees warmer and then moved an inordinate number of miles away from their critical spawning and/or summer habitat.
“Quite frankly, this is one of the very few opportunities I have ever seen where, from the tournament organizers’ perspective, anglers’ viewpoint, spectators’ perspective and natural resource agency’s point of view, that everyone wins.
“Thanks to the AIM tournament folks who first developed the CRR format and the LUND folks who have demonstrated both at LUNDMANIA and the AYA International Championship, comparing the old style live fish weigh-in system to the innovative CRR format… there simply IS no comparison.”
From Dr. Steven J. Cooke, Canada Research Chair in Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology, and Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Biology at Ottawa’s Carleton University:
• “As a passionate angler and fisheries scientist I am becoming increasingly worried about the stress that fish experience during ‘live’ release tournaments and what this means to populations.
“CRR IS the way forward to demonstrate to the non-angling public that anglers are responsible and concerned with both fisheries sustainability and fish welfare.
“Tournament mortality will become a non-issue if CRR becomes commonplace, which will benefit fish, fisheries and the angling community. Hopefully this idea gets embraced by tournament organizers elsewhere.”
From Dave Terre, Chief of Management and Research, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Inland Fisheries Division:
• “I’m very pleased to see these types of fish-friendly tournaments surfacing in professional walleye tournament fishing too. They are the future in tournament angling, in my opinion.”
Terre added that the Toyota Texas Bass Classic has been practicing catch- record-release as well with great results.
“I worked with the Professional Anglers Association (PAA) to help develop the format we currently use in this tournament. In a nutshell, bass are caught, weighed, and immediately released by an on-board judge that rides along with the professional angler during the tournament day. We call this format ‘catch-weigh-IMMEDIATE release.’ We know that survival of bass is near 100%; same as any other angler who enjoys catch-and-release fishing. It is the future of the sport, in my opinion.”
The comments of Robert Blosser, the 2010 AIM JJ Keller Fishing Team Angler of The Year, echo the feelings of all the pros participating in the AIM Pro Walleye Series™, just before the start of the AIM International Walleye Championship on Minnesota’s Lake Winnibigoshish, which took place Sept. 1-3:
• “The fun is back in tournament fishing with CRR. You’re no longer worried about fish mortality and you don’t have to worry about things like slot limits, which take all the luck out of a tournament. Rather than worrying about catching the right size fish, AIM is back to whomever catches the biggest fish wins, and that’s what it should be.
“I sure hope CRR becomes the way of the future,” Blosser added. “It’s funny: for the thousands of walleyes as I catch, I may keep somewhere in the neighborhood of five a year. CRR helps preserve the resource for future generations, and if we can turn what’s an okay walleye lake into a trophy fishery for my kids and their kids, all the better.”
From Tony Kolker, Marketing Manager, Lund Boat Company, and a sponsor of the AIM Pro Walleye Series™:
• “Thank you for allowing Lund and AYA to utilize the CRR process, in both the Lund Mania Tournament and the AYA Championship. The acceptance to the process has been an overwhelming success. Your foresight and innovation has helped revive tournament fishing for both the anglers and the fisheries.”
Anglers Insight Marketing, LLC™ (AIM) is a unique tournament organization which is owned by stockholders, the majority of which are Professional walleye anglers. AIM Professionals are among the “All Stars” of professional fishing, with cumulative HUNDREDS of years of tournament experience, including countless tournament victories, series championships, and Angler of the Year titles. This insight and knowledge is now being employed to provide the finest tournament experience for the participants, and the maximum exposure for the host tournament sites and corporate partners.
Additional AIM Marketing Partners:
South Dakota Office of Tourism, Bay Mills Resort & Casino, Lund Boat Company, Mercury Marine, Crestliner Boats, JJ Keller Fishing Team, Navionics, Fin-Tech Tackle, John Butts Outdoors, Rutting Ridge Outfitters, Oahe Wings & Walleyes, Optima Batteries, Worldwide Marine Insurance,Pier of d’Nort piers, Me and My Catch photo replicas, Reef Runner Lures, The Judge Tournament Ruler, Rite in the Rain Paper, G2 Angling, E-Z Lube Systems, Transducer Armor, Gemini Sports Marketing, True North