Jesse Buechel won the AIM Pro Walleye Series-South Dakota Walleye Classic tournament on Lake Oahe this past weekend by more than 15 pounds. Starting on day one, he brought in the largest seven-fish limit for 39.23 pounds, giving him a little more than an 8-pound lead on second place finisher, Chase Parsons. On day two he brought in another 27.66 pounds, moving his lead to more than 11 pounds.
On the final day, he topped it off with another huge limit of 28.67 pounds. This was Buechel’s first major tournament win.
“The first win is obviously going to be the one that I remember most,” Buechel said. “To think of all of the people that have done it for so many years and have had the opportunities – it’s unbelievable! I just figured, if I could get in the top ten with the competition that I was against, it would be phenomenal. But to get a win, and this size of one, it hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Jesse explained how he was catching his fish, and what he felt was the key to his program. Pulling any crankbait in a white color was more important than a single crankbait profile, in Jesse’s opinion, and didn’t mention one particular crankbait as working better or best.
“I fished about a 3- to 4-mile stretch that had good fish on it, and there was one point that was about 200 yards long, that held the most ‘good’ fish,” Buechel said. “It didn’t hold the biggest fish, but it held a bunch of 21-inchers and 22-inchers. Most of my 21s and 22s came off of that one stretch. I decided I would go right to that stretch, and I would just pull it, and pull it and pull it until I had all 21- and 22-inchers. Then I would go searching.
“On the final day, I knew it was going to be slower. I went through probably 150 fish the first day, about 75 the second day, and I went through about 35 fish the final day. My first pass, I hit a 20 3/4-incher. My second pass was a 21 3/4-incher. I said, ‘You know what? If I just got one fish a pass, and a good one, then I wouldn’t care.’ It probably wasn’t 9 a.m. before I got my limit in the boat. At Noon, I still needed to upgrade a 19 1/2-incher, and at 12:18 p.m., I popped a 25 1/2-inch fish. That’s the big hog I had the final day. I popped it and I was doing the “Happy Dance” up on the front of the boat.
“That was when I knew for somebody to beat me, they were going to have to have 40 some pounds. After seeing the weights the first two days, I knew that it was done. I was wondering what to do, so I came back and Jason Przekurat was running my secondary spot.
“I respected him and I left there and gave him that spot. I went out with my GPS Tracker and wrote, “Hi Mom!” It took me about two miles to write it. I wrote, ‘Hi Mom!’ with a heart. I figured if anyone was watching online they would have been able to see that, and if I got the win, I didn’t have to call.
“The turning point for me was on day one, about two hours into it. We were letting a board out, and on the way out, it slammed down with a 25 3/4-inch walleye. It told me instantly that I needed to slow my presentation down. I was going 2 MPH during pre-fishing and up until I caught that fish. That first fish told me I had to slow down, so slowed to 1.5 MPH and 20 minutes later I had a second kicker walleye. Less than an hour later, I had a third kicker. So, within an hour, I put three kickers in the boat all because I slowed down.”
The NPAA sponsored youth event was a big success even though the kids didn’t get to fish in the farm pond due to the less than favorable weather conditions. Pro angler, Marianne Huskey, did a tremendous job of organizing the event, and other pros including; Scott Duncan, Lynn Jurrens, Dennis Gulau, all helped out with the “Kid’s Fishing Clinic”. There were a large number of children that turned out for the event, and after receiving brand new rods and reels, tackle boxes, and other goodies, the kids received their “NPAA Future Pro” T-Shirts that they were able to get signed by all the pros as they weighed in.
Here is the top 10 from the event. To see the full standings, visit aimfishing.com.
NAME INCHES FISH WEIGHT
1 BUECHEL, JESSE 469.50 21 95.56
2 PARSONS, CHASE 445.50 21 79.83
3 FLUEKIGER, JARRAD 443.50 21 79.61
4 SAMSON, BRUCE 443.75 21 78.81
5 BLOSSER, ROBERT 442.25 21 78.79
6 OKADA, JOE 441.25 21 78.43
7 PRZEKURAT, JASON 442.75 21 78.31
8 MCMAKEN, MICHAEL 423.75 20 76.85
9 OLSON, RICK 434.25 21 74.57
10 SCHILLING, CHAD 434.00 21 73.17