For the last few years, our partners at The Aviary Group have been organizing a buddies trip at the lodge. Looking forward to some well-deserved R&R, our guests thoroughly enjoy the simply beautiful life here at Aikens. Upon arrival, it was evident that Big Molly's would be hopping. Turbo, our former guide turned real estate agent, came in with the boys from Arizona. Just like old times, he and Julien jammed out with the guitars putting quite the show! Their set list went all the way from "I Fish Walleye" to a country-flavored "Gin & Juice" (we'd like to thank Jon Hesse for the great harmonies).
The walleyes had a surprise in store for them. Chris Jensen, one of our partners, stopped at International Falls and picked up some special bait. The purchase of 8" Ciscoes (the same bait fish we have here) tweaked the interest of all the guides. Rigged on a long-shanked jig with a stinger hook, these larger baits ween-out the smaller walleyes and target the bigger boys. Although the wait between bites was sometimes longer than regular minnows, the pay-off made it worth while. We are currently investigating ways to harvest some of Aikens' own ciscoes for our clientèle's use.
Day three was set as tournament day. This yearly tradition pits one fisherman against the other and has the guides jockeying for position as well. Each angler's top three fish before & after lunch would determine the champion. At shorelunch, the leaders were Dale Jensen and Jeff Hahn (1.5" separating the two!). The afternoon bite started off slowly. Many boats said that they were sitting on top of big marks that just wouldn't go... 4:00pm rolled around and many competitors were scrambling to fill up their scoring fish quota. Dale and Chris Jensen talked strategy with their guide. They gambled and burned back to the dock. Not to park, but to fish. With the clock ticking, Dale cast towards the guide dock. At this point every bite counts! His first fish, a 23.5" Walleye brought him one fish away from securing a shot at first place. 4:50pm... Fish on! The larger Walleye went for a minnow placed directly under Ashton's parked Lund. With the fish landed, measured and released, the horn blasted the end of tournament play. Once the scores were tallied up, Dale won first place and Hahn held on to second place. Tyler upset the reigning three year champ (Patrick) to claim the guide title. Congratulations Dale and Tyler!
Well boys, we wish you all much success over the winter and we'll see you again next summer!