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Pros return to Oconto for 2nd AIM tourney

Event runs Thursday through Saturday

Jul. 17, 2013
 

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Tournament Details

• Boat parade is Friday before weigh-in
• The schedule for the tournament is the same each day, except for Friday, when the parade of boats starts at 4:45 p.m. Youth volunteers will ride with the pros The parade will begins at Riverview Motel at Brazeau Avenue and Chicago Street, runs down Chicago to Main Street, then on Main Street out to Breakwater Park. The weigh-in occurs after the parade, followed by a youth clinic with several pros.
Daily schedule

• 5:45 - 7 a.m. — Launch boats and receive boat bags
• 7:15 a.m. — Invocation and national anthem sung by Emily Rosenfeldt.
• 7:30 a.m. — Take-off
• 4 p.m. — Check-in/return boat bags (all boats must check in)
• 5:15 p.m. — Weigh-in

More

Scores of professional fishermen have returned to Oconto for the second AIM tournament, set for this weekend.

The three-day catch-and-release tourney will run the same as last year’s event, with one notable exception – it will run Thursday through Saturday.

Last year’s AIM tourney ended on Sunday, but the band and activity that night was poorly attended because most pros had to return home and area residents had to go to work the next day.

Blogger John McArdle previews the AIM tournament in Oconto.

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“I think we’ll get a lot more attendance,” said Jean Pleshek, an Oconto City Council member serving as site director for the tournament. “It’s nice that its backed up.”

This year, the Party with the Pros will begin about 7 p.m. after the awards presentation. Rapid Transit will perform.

A total of 62 boats are registered for the tournament, with each boat carrying a pro, a partner and an amateur co-angler.

Back-up co-anglers are needed, in case someone is not able to make it. Anyone interested in getting on the list may call Pleshek at 920-604-3809.

“They do need to be able to withstand a day on the water, and possible rough water,” Pleshek said.

Fishing each day runs from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. From Thursday through Saturday night, there will be food and beverage vendors on site at Breakwater Park. Two boat companies will be giving rides and equipment demonstrations will also be available.

David Ittner, tournament and pro staff manager for Yamaha Marine Group, said they are looking forward to another fantastic walleye tournament in Oconto

“The support from the City of Oconto and their people make this one of the best locations, and the community’s enthusiasm and hospitality are second to none,” Ittner said.

On Wednesday, there’s an orientation for first time pros and co-anglers from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Bond Community Center, followed by a dinner for all the anglers at 5 p.m.

A rules meeting for all tournament anglers is at 6 p.m. The rules meeting is open to the public, if they wish to learn more about the format.

“They’ll be explaining how they do the catch-and-release,” Pleshek said.

Make that “Catch Record and Release,” a format the Wisconsin Department of Tourism last year awarded a Travel Green Wisconsin Award, the only one to a fishing event.

The format provides minimal fish mortality. Teams photograph and mark down the length of each of their largest seven walleyes -- with a 12-inch minimum -- at the end of the day. Those are converted to a final weight, based on a scale set by AIM. The fish are then released.

Boats can use up to six lines, which allows teams to experiment more than other events and land as many fish as possible, according to AIM. There is a 12-inch minimum.

Mike and Kevin Blanck, who were new to AIM and the CRR format last year are anxious for another chance at an AIM title. They were impressed with last year’s event.

“The CRR system of taking pictures of fish seemed a little intimidating at first, but actually it was very easy to do,” Mike Blanck said. “ It was unbelievable how smoothly the tournament was run and the other anglers were very helpful with any questions new teams had.”

With the Pro/Partner format, pros can fishing alongside someone they are familiar with, while co-anglers are randomly paired each day with a new team. Tournament entry fees remain the same as last year: $1,200 for each Pro/Partner and $300 for each co-angler. Pro teams are competing for 100 percent of all Pro/Partner entries. First place is expected to 25 percent of the purse.

This style is something that the 2012 Pro Team Challenge Champion and Yarcraft/Yamaha Pro Joe Okada of Madison looks back fondly on, as he prepares to try to repeat in 2013.

"AIM's Pro Team format was born last year, and I was lucky enough to win that event with my favorite tournament partner -- my Dad!,” he said. “Oconto welcomed us into their town, and after last summer, I can't wait to give it another run.”

The teams can travel to any waters that can be reached by boat in Wisconsin and Michigan. In the event of inclement weather, the advisory committee will meet with the tournament director to determine if restricted boundaries will be used or if the day will be canceled.

However, as of Monday, humid conditions forecast for this week are expected to break by Friday night after a chance of storms, with temperatures over the weekend in the upper 70s to low 80s.

AIM -- Anglers Insight Marketing, LLC is which is owned by stockholders, the majority of whom are professional walleye anglers.

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