Three Plates of Cash for One Team
Jun 13th, 2011 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Nov 20th, 2018 at 6:50 AM
Brett King dominated the recent AIM Bay Mills Invitational Walleye Tournament. But there is another story that is as equally as impressive as King’s three-day weight. King handily took the event Champion title top weight with 60.21 pounds over the three day tournament. His teammates Joe Okada and Robert Blosser took second place and third place with 49.33 pounds and 43.9 pounds, respectively. There has not been a tournament in AIM history where there has been such a clean sweep by a single team.
Teams are often created along the tournament trail. The “team” sometimes consists of traveling roommates, prefishing partners, or just friendships that have developed through the off-the-water interactions. There can certainly be a positive impact when working together with other anglers, but there is no loss of competition.
“Joe and I met in 2005 while competing in a MWC event,” Robert Blosser says. “We later realized that we only live 30 miles apart, both of us were relatively new to the sport, and shared the same vision and goals. It was a no brainer to work together. While we were fishing the FLW Championship in 2008, we met Brett King and instantly built a productive yet enjoyable friendship.”
“These guys are my family on the road, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to beat them every time we hit the water,” says Joe Okada who managed a 2nd place finish at Bay Mills. “I just want to beat them knowing we all went out there armed with the same knowledge and tools that we worked hard to figure out as a team. You can share all the information you want, but you still have to get out there and make the fish bite under tournament conditions.”
While there is a strong interest in the winning techniques and locations these three guys employed to record their finishes, there is also the obvious impact that they as the younger generation among dozens of legendary veterans. Their accomplishments stand as solid evidence that the “old guard” is promoting the involvement of the next generation, but it also keeps them from getting complacent in their walleye tournament game.
“King, Okada, and Blosser are blazing in the AIM Pro Walleye Series tournaments and they make me nervous,” says veteran and legendary walleye pro, Tommy Skarlis. “It makes me work harder and improve my game. It helps me see where I am falling short by over relying on my memories. Good is the enemy of awesome, good enough won’t cut it and these ‘young guns’ know what awesome is by having swept this event.”
Skarlis managed a seventh place finish which, as any competitive angler will tell you, is not good enough. Everyone shots for first. What these younger anglers are bringing to the AIM circuit is a fresh perspective, new tactics, and more energy to a sport that has a rich history in traditional tactics and approaches to the competitive scene.
“These three ‘flat-bellies’ are three of the hardest working guys on the trail,” Skarlis says. “With ages ranging in the 20 something to late thirties, all are still some of the youngest pros on the tour. They are making a name for themselves by producing the kind of results that impress guys like me. They are making me want to ‘hit the gym’ and improve my game.”
What makes this 1-2-3 sweep at Bay Mills even more impressive is that the event was an artificial-only event forcing all the live bait anglers to come out of their comfort zones. King, Okada, and Blosser did just that and managed to put together the most impressive three bags of the event.
“Brett found those fish in practice, and had a better chance to win than we did,” says Okada. “So the main goal was to give King the opportunity to win, while trying to work our way up the leader-board. To everyone’s surprise, King’s spot shut down on the last day. From that point on, it was really every man for himself to scrounge up whatever weight we could manage.”
Working together as a group of anglers is vital to the future of our outdoor heritage. Taking that same mentality and applying it to tournament strategy can and does have its value, but again, sharing prefishing information does not guarantee fish.
“Teams are an important aspect in staying a top of the game in this day and age,” says the 2011 Bay Mills Champion, Brett King. “Our overall situation is better off by splitting up the waters we fish and multiplying our knowledge. The truth of the matter is during tournament days we each make our own decisions and have to catch our own fish.”
“Bay Mills was amazing,” King continues. “Joe and Rob gave me plenty of room to get my fish because they knew I had a true shot at the win. That says a lot about how we respect each other and work together for the betterment of the team. Bay Mills is a victory we can celebrate together.”
Robert Blosser took home a third place finish, which included a $5,768.89 payout. Blosser is sponsored by Yamaha Outboards, Skeeter Boats, Off Shore Tackle, Bushnell Ford, Yamaha Generators, Don’s Marine, Mack’s Lure, Navionics, Pro Mariner, and Optima Batteries
Joe Okada took home a second place prize of $7,080 and is sponsored by ProMariner, EGO Nets, Luck ‘E’ Strike, Walleye Fever, EZEE Step Inc, and Yamaha Outboards with special thanks to Navionics, Optima Batteries, JT Custom Tackle, Hutch Tackle and Guide Service.
Brett King took home the first place prize of $40,000 in cash and is sponsored by National Fleet Graphics, Mercury Marine, Uncle Josh, JT Custom Tackle, Lakemaster, and Smooth Moves Seat Mounts.
The next event on the 2011 AIM Pro Walleye Series tournament schedule is scheduled for Dubuque, Iowa on June 22 to 24. The tournament will be a rare event on this stretch of the Mississippi River, and is only permitted due to the exclusive AIM Catch-Record-Release™ format. “CRR” immediately releases each fish where it was caught after a digital photo on the official AIM The Judge ruler. No fish will be brought to virtual weigh-in (hosted by The Mystique Casino each day) and therefore no fish are subject to delayed mortality in the warm summer waters.
For more information about AIM and the AIM Pro Walleye Series, go to www.aimfishing.com. Walleye tournament fans can also view the daily weigh-ins LIVE via streaming video on the AIM site.