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More information about AIM and updates on all the AIM Pro Walleye Series tournaments can be found at www.aimfishing.com.
The first tournament of the 2011 AIM Pro Walleye Series was shortened due to inclement weather. The scheduled first day of the tournament was cancelled due to 8 to 10 inches of snow that fell on the area. It was deemed too treacherous to be trailering the big walleye rigs so the tournament was reduced to a two day “shoot out”. The full field of Pro Anglers and Co-anglers would fish both days, instead of the normal cut to the top 50% of the field on Day Three.
The first day of the tournament (Day “Two”) dawned with clearing skies, but falling water temperatures and rising water levels. All this conspired to completely undo the days of preparation the AIM Pro Anglers had invested to unravel the vast Wolf River fishery.
The Day Two weigh-in found Mark Martin in the lead. Mark chose to stay near the Winneconne Bridge and scratched out a weight of 12.27 pounds while weighing only six walleyes. Lurking within a fraction of a pound were Nate Currell, Dan Plautz, Ross Grothe, and Jim Hughes. Flying below the radar was AIM Pro Angler Tommy Kemos back in 8th place with a weight of only 7.6 pounds.
Staring out on Day Three, the entire field of 44 boats was faced with another change in the weather. Cold, windy and misty conditions were predicted. It was obvious that adjustments to “game plans” were going to be necessary. The previous day had resulted in only three Pros weighing a seven fish limit. At the same time, six Pros were saddled with a “zero” in the weight column.
All of the AIM Pro Anglers enter each tournament and start each day with the attitude that they are capable of winning. The AIM Pro Walleye Series format is unique because it utilizes the exclusive AIM Catch-Record-Release™ format. The CRR format allows a seven fish limit, instead of the normal five walleye limit in Wisconsin. This means a skillful angler can pull away from anyone who weighs less than a full limit. And, because no fish are put in the livewell and all walleyes are immediately released, the Pros can continue to fish all day and continually “upgrade” their limit on the AIM CRR Scorecard.
Going into the final day, AIM Pro Angler Tommy Kemos said he wanted this win, and wanted it really badly. His history here is steeped in success. Tommy cut some of his early tournament angling teeth on the Wolf and Winnebago System with successes in both the Mercury Marine National Walleye Tournament and the Professional Walleye Trail events.
Kemos started up in the Wolf River the previous day but moved with the fish and spent most of Day Three within sight of the Winneconne Bridge. After catching a small limit, he hopped around to smaller shoreline structures where he changed over to pitching and casting jigs and live bait. He gave credit to his new St Croix spinning rod, claiming the sensitivity was so good he could feel the fish when it “breathed on the jig!”
The strategy paid off, and Kemos tallied a seven walleye weight of 18.38 pounds on the final day, blowing the rest of the field away with the heaviest weight of the event. In fact, this weight was enough to have taken sixth place in the two-day event!
Kemos accepted the first place check of $30,000.00. The entire Kemos family was present at Critters Sports in Winneconne at the final day weigh in to celebrate the win.
Mark Martin was able to scratch out a seven fish limit, but the total weight fell short at only 10.35 pounds. His total weight was 22.62 pounds and he had to settle for second place in the event. Mark caught all of his fish within a few hundred feet of the take-off in downtown Winneconne. He took home $6400.00 for the second place finish.
Third and $5066.00 went to Ross Grothe. Placing fourth was Mike Gofron, with Chase Parsons finishing in fifth. Sixth went to Dan Plautz, seventh to Gary Parsons, eighth to Brandon Carpenter, ninth to Jim Hughes, and rounding out the top ten was Tommy Skarlis. The full results are available at www.aimfishing.com.
The next tournament in the 2011 AIM season is the Bay Mills Invitational. This special tournament is hosted by the Bay Mills Resort and Casino and promises the highest percentage payout of the entire season.
For more about the AIM Pro Walleye Series, visit their site.