It was Navionics Cartography that led Tommy Skarlis and Jarvis Keney to victory at the AIM Weekend Walleye Series “Alumacraft Open” Wild Card Event on Leech Lake Saturday in Walker, MN.
The duo started out fishing in 28-46 feet of water in Walker Bay, putting five fish on their scorecard between 18 and 26.5 inches by 9:30am. When the bite died, they packed up and started hopping between spots looking for upgrades without success.
“We eventually came back to the first spot, but the fish were not on the same waypoints. We began to look for spots on the map that were similar to what we were fishing earlier,” said Skarlis.
By shading out all of the areas on the Humminbird chartplotter that were less than 28 feet deep, it was easy to find what they were looking for. “This allowed us to eliminate a tremendous amount of water with a lot of intricate detail, making it far less intimidating and easier to fish,” Skarlis added. “Navionics sealed the deal for us. The importance of sonar logging is that it makes the lake better for fishing with better mapping, all because I have the Freshest Data. I always log in and download Navionics updates before I head out.”
Once they pinpointed where the fish had relocated, it was a flurry of activity. With a 20 inch fish still on the scorecard, they lost a 28 inch fish right at the boat. Fishing through their disappointment with the clock ticking, the team remained focused and caught two upgrades in the last 45 minutes of fishing. A 26.75 and 28 inch fish sealed the win, with their best five fish totaling 41.83 lbs earning the team a check for $5000 and free entry into the AIM’s Oconto Pro Team Challenge ($1200 value).
Their primary presentation was rigging with 8lb Berkley XL mono with 1oz Do-It Molds egg sinkers. They were using 6lb Berkley leaders with Daichi hooks. The 6lb line was important to allow only the hook to break off if they became hung up on rocks.
Scott Perala and Steve Whiting struggled early on tournament morning before starting to put fish on the scorecard. The duo’s fifth fish came just before noon, a whopping 29.5 incher that topped their 36.24 lb scorecard giving the team second place honors and a $2000 payday. They rigged leeches in Walker Bay, working a breakline in 18-25 feet of water.
The father and son team of John and Drake Herd captured third place rigging redtail chubs in 28-30 feet of water. “We got to our spot in Walker Bay and there were 20 boats there, but we stayed persistent. Once we got away from the crowd we really started getting them,” said Drake.
They caught a total of eight fish ranging from 24.5 to 27.75 inches in length. “Boat control with our Warrior was key,” added Drake. “When we saw one on the locator screen we would hover over it until we caught it.” Their efforts totaled 35.23 lbs earning them a check for $1650.
Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™) is a unique tournament organization created and owned by many of the most accomplished and recognizable professional walleye anglers, along with others who share the mission of advancing competitive walleye fishing and making it sustainable into the future. AIM is committed to marketing excellence on behalf of its tournament competitors, the tournament host communities, and the brands that partner with it. AIM is also committed to maintaining healthy fisheries across the nation by the development of the exclusive AIM Catch-Record-Release™ format which is integral to its dynamic events and unparalleled consumer engagement. For more information about AIM™, AIM Pro Walleye Series™, AIM Weekend Walleye Series, AIM sponsors and AIM anglers, visit www.aimfishing.com.
AIM Marketing Partners: Yamaha Marine, Warrior Boats, Alumacraft Boats, Nitro Boats, Mercury Marine, Navionics, Amsoil, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, Team Lodge, Gemini Sport Marketing, National Fleet Graphics, and The City of Oconto.
Image courtesy National Professional Anglers Association