Up The River With...A Win, For Team Schmidt, Kasper On A Roily Wolf River At AWWS Winneconne Nitro Boats Open
Published By OutdoorsFIRST Media Published May 2, 2018
That famous slow-no-wake run up the Wolf River was the way to go for Andrew
Schmidt and Mike Kasper, who topped the 100-boat field in the AIM Weekend Walleye
Series Nitro Boats Open in Winneconne, Wisconsin, earning the pair $8,000 for a day's
fun, and upping their chances for Division Team Of The Year honors.
Schmidt, from Fremont, Wisconsin, and Kasper, from nearby Neenah, fished sand bars
just upstream and at Schmidt's hometown to net 24.23 pounds of 'eyes for the day on
homemade orange and green jigs tipped with crawlers and minnows.
It looked early in the run-up to the event that water temperatures would play a factor,
especially when cold rain Saturday cooled the water, but Sunday, the Wolf warmed up
enough to make the fish interested what the two were pitching to notch the win.
They also thought about heading to Winnebago downstream of Winneconne instead
prior to launch, but ignored their pre-game jitters and stuck with their original plan of
attacking the water they knew. That trip took about 90 minutes, nearly all of it at idle
due to a no-wake restriction, which took effect for much of the rain and snowmelt-
swollen system just prior to Sunday.
"It was a very tough bite for the last 10 days," Schmidt said. "We struggled pre-fishing
and caught a couple of the right ones but couldn't put together any numbers. We knew
we wanted to go up to home water but we also knew we had better fish in Oshkosh,
and, we knew there were still a lot of fish up north and hoped they'd slide down the
river and be in the right spot on tournament day. They were.
The water was back up to about 50 Sunday, so they first ran up to north of Fremont,
and had their five fish after working the water for about three hours. But, they were all
19 to 20-1/2 inches, Schmidt said. Not enough oomph to win."We made three or four more passes and didn't see any fish caught, so we decided to
go a couple of bends down from Fremont and dragged 1/8-ounce jigs with crawlers," he
continued. The first pass was fishless. The second wasn't.
"On that pass, Michael caught our biggest one, a 26-1/2, and on our third pass he
caught a 20-1/2 for an upgrade, and I got a 25-1/2, and that was another upgrade, and
after we caught those we felt we may have had it won," he said.
They fished with the current on every pass, not pulling the fly rigs popular with locals.
"There was so much current and debris, that if you weren't fishing with it, you're going
to be dirty all the time," he said. That crud embedding itself onto the barb of a hook
quickly makes the difference between a hookup and shooting blanks.
The pair idled their Yamaha four-stroke-powered platform back downstream, stopping
once to snoop around another spot. That ride back took about 70 minutes, going with
the swift current.
"We knew we had a good weight, but we were really worried about what others were
doing at Oshkosh," where the system empties into Lake Winnebago. "Friday, we had
some decent fish there but that's not our water. I know how to fish down there but I
live on the Wolf so we decided we had to go where we had the most confidence. I think
that southwest wind blowing about 10 to 15 probably really hurt things down there,"
They only saw three or four other boats in the stretch they fished, he said, with another
8 to 10 passing them on their way north between Fremont and New London, where the
second-place team of Chad Wiskow, Neenah, Wisconsin, and Matt Siefert, Menasha,
Wisconsin, scored 18.47 pounds of walleyes, good for $2,400. More on them later.
The win by Schmidt and Kasper has them currently in a good spot for Wisconsin
Division Team Of The Year (TOY) honors, combined with their third place at Green Bay.
"It definitely could be ours to lose," Schmidt said. This will be his first full year of AIM
competition, and the second for Kasper, who also earned a slot in the AIM National
Championship on Chippewa Flowage, about a month away.
Second-place team Wiskow and Siefert meanwhile, earned their honors by bumping
upriver about a half-mile beyond Fremont, throwing ¼- to ½-ounce jigs along sand
shelves, looking for and hooking pre-spawn fish.
"It's also a local spot so we had to wait our turn to get in there. There just happened to
be a boat that limited out, and we slipped in where most of the fish were laying in the
current seam. I'm the owner of Viper Custom Tackle, so we were rolling our jigs off the
bottom with emerald shiners. We were hoping for five bites, and got a few more than
that," Wiskow said. He's also no stranger to the Wolf, taking sixth in the AIM
tournament in the same spot last year.
They left a bit early after filling their card and rolled into Winneconne, trying just in
front of the bridge where a previous AIM tourney was almost won, and running the
same program, turned a 23-¾-incher to upgrade their card and finish the day
Wiskow also praised the Fox River Lures and Rods stick he used for its combination of
sensitivity and backbone. "This puts a whole new feeling into a jigging rod. The blanks
are a little stiffer than other makes, but strength and sensitivity is second to none.
River fishing, all you feel is a gentle tap and if you're not there to set the hook, you're
missing that bite."
Wiskow added that their second place put them back in the hunt for TOY honors. "We
all get a 'throw-out' tournament so this will bump us back up. We're coming back to
Winnebago in July so that puts me back on my home waters again."
Finishing in third and going home with $1,800 were Rob Korth, Pulaski, Wisconsin, and
Jacob Kaprelian, New Berlin, Wisconsin, for a 17.38-pound bag. In fourth was the team
of Jeremy Bock, Jackson, Wisconsin, and Mark Bartels, Lake Mills, Wisconsin, who won
$1,500 for 16.32 pounds. Fifth place and $1,300 went to Josh Wiesner, Fond Du Lac,
Wisconsin, and Brad Schrauth, Campbellsport, Wisconsin, for a card with 16.08 pounds.
For a look at how the rest of the field fared, including others who left with a check, go
to AIM's Facebook page or aimfishing.com. The next Wisconsin event, besides AIM's
National Championship June 1-2, is that date with Lake Winnebago July 1 that Wiskow
mentioned. Follow previews and updates for all AIM events at the Facebook page and
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