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SARLEY: Walleye tournaments return

When the World Walleye Association was established in 1999, there were high hopes. Its popularity quickly grew, but soon began to fade. Last year it was on its death bed.

Now, Joe Baron and Theresa Meade from northern Illinois have purchased the assets of the WWA and are restarting the tournament series with two circuits, one on Illinois’ Fox Chain O’ Lakes and another on Wisconsin’s Lake Winneconne system.

Baron is the former president of the AIM walleye circuit, and Meade is a respected and successful walleye tournament angler who had fished the WWA since its inception.

Baron told me, “We think that the WWA can be a success and grow in the future. Our entry fee is an affordable $180 per two-angler team. The events are one-day contests, Sundays only. You don’t have to take a week off of your job to fish the WWA tournaments. Best of all, these contests are perfect for local fishermen to compete close to home on waters that they are familiar with. We will stage a championship event in early 2014, too.”

Scott Duncan of Antioch, a touring pro and past AIM winner, is planning on fishing in the WWA. So is walleye legend Mike Gofron. He told me, “I learned how to fish for walleyes on the Chain. I’ve traveled so much over the past many years that I haven’t fished the Chain in a long time. That waterway has changed so much, this will be like I am the new guy on the Chain in these tournaments. I’ll have to get out there and try to figure it out again.”

The Fox Chain qualifying event dates are April 7, April 21, June 9, Sept. 15 and Oct. 6. Aug. 11 will feature a special Youth Day event.

The Winneconne system qualifying event dates are April 14, May 19, Aug. 4, Sept. 29 and Oct. 20. Sept. 8 will be Youth Day.

Winneconne also will be the site for a special “Woman’s Weekend” featuring a tournament and seminars.

In addition to prize money at each individual qualifying event, the team anglers in both divisions will compete for Cabela’s NTC spots, team of the year awards and 30 spots available for the World Walleye Association Championship in early 2014.

Follow the WWA on Facebook or visit the website at worldwalleye.com for additional information as it becomes available.

AIM event returns

Last summer, I was fortunate enough to fish as a co-angler at the Angler’s Insight Marketing Green Bay tournament out of Oconto. I wrote a couple of columns about the great learning experience I had. AIM has cut down to one event this year, but the one event is at Oconto again July 18 to 20.

Tournament entry fees are $1,200 for each Pro/Partner and $300 for each co-angler. Visit AIM at www.aimfishing.com for more information.

Petros in Crystal Lake

Hall of Fame angler Spence Petros will be at Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday as part of the store’s 24th anniversary sale Friday through Sunday.

• Northwest Herald outdoors columnist Steve Sarley’s radio show, “The Outdoors Experience,” airs live at 5 a.m. Sundays on AM-560. Sarley also runs a website for outdoors enthusiasts, OExperience.com. He can be reached by email at sarfishing@yahoo.com.

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