Fishing & Boating News
Humminbird®/Minn Kota Pros Dominate Competitive Walleye World
Scott Larson Wins NWT Championship, Mark Courts Earns NWT AOY
Placing 12th overall at the NWT Championship on Devils Lake, Mark Courts secured his claim to the title of Lucas Oil Angler of the Year on the National Walleye Tour for the 2015 season.
Humminbird/Minn Kota walleye pro Scott Larson and co-angler Clint Glass weighed 74.89 lbs. to win the 2015 NWT Championship by over four pounds—and fellow Humminbird/Minn Kota pro Mark Courts emerged 2015 NWT Lucas Oil Angler of the Year (AOY) by placing 12th at the event.
“Felt pretty good to part of that winning Johnson Outdoors team across a much larger cross section of all professional fishing,” says 2015 NWT Champion Scott Larson of Mayville, North Dakota. “In fact, it still feels good. Like a lot of other pro walleye anglers, I’ve worked a long time for a win like this! I’m very grateful!”
2015 NWT Lucas Oil Angler of the Year Mark Courts of Cambridge, MN: “I’ve spent 16 years chasing AOY and this was finally the year I was able to fish aggressively, consistently and clean. I’m very thankful for the relationships I have with all the quality sponsors. They are a huge part in helping make this happen. How Humminbird, Minn Kota and LakeMaster seamlessly work together has given me an edge,” says Mark Courts.
Courts explains his three ONIX system networked with Minn Kota’s Ulterra iPilot.
Larson, who’s been running Humminbird units since 2007, says technology was a big part of his win. “Between the LakeMaster mapping, the awesome clarity of my Humminbird units and superior boat control via the Minn Kota Terrova iPilot Link, I just felt really comfortable and caught the fish I needed.”
Larson’s system centers around a Humminbird 1199ci HD SI at the console, which he sets to split-screen view of Side Imaging and LakeMaster mapping. He runs a Humminbird 1159ci HD Combo at the bow, which he toggles between full-screen 2D Sonar or split-screen 2D Sonar and LakeMaster mapping.
“The 1159’s sonar really came into play when fishing the Jigging Raps from the bow. I could actually mark big fish in the rocks; great bottom separation. In one spot, I caught an 8 or 9 pounder and marked three other fish. I knew when I positioned over that big fish she was hot. The mark was arched and all yellow and red. It looked like the graph was in simulator mode in a sporting goods store! Devils Lake is notoriously hard for marking fish, but the 1159 really picked them up,” says Larson. But Larson says he had to find the jigging spots first, which he located in double-duty fashion while making trolling passes.
Humminbird/Minn Kota pro Scott Larson put on a charge during the final day of the NWT Championship on Devils Lake. After the final weight was recorded, Scott Larson was crowned the champion and celebrated with his biggest fans.
“I was dropping waypoints on rock piles while I was trolling, looking 75 feet to each side of the boat with Side Imaging. Then, when the trolling pass was done, I’d go over and drop Jigging Raps on ‘em. They didn’t have to be huge rock piles, either. It was more about the inside cups. Without Side Imaging, it would have been really difficult with a lot of searching. This was a huge part of my system.”
Besides his Humminbird 1199 “showing contours really well,” Larson’s Side Imaging also revealed walleyes that were moving either deeper or shallower off said rock piles given the tournament’s increased boat traffic, which helped him position right over fish.
More Than Just Mapping
Larson also relied on his Version 5 Dakotas + Nebraska Humminbird LakeMaster mapping, and speaks to the patented features Water Level Offset, which allows for instant adjustments given high or low water, and Depth Highlight. The Version 5 card contains over 345 total lakes with contours, of which more than 100 are now in High Definition with 1-foot contours. That includes Devils, Oahe, Sakakawea, as well as many of the Glacial Lakes in NE South Dakota.
“There’s a lot more to LakeMaster than just maps. Features like Depth Highlight cut down on searching. Now we can just buzz around and hit the right depth zones and contours,” says Larson.
In the case of the NWT Championship, that meant Depth Highlight set to the 25-foot contour. “A lot of the old Devils Lake shoreline is at that 25 foot mark, precisely the rocks where we wanted to fish Jiggin’ Raps.”
To stay on these spots, Larson used the SpotLock feature on his Minn Kota Terrova iPilot Link for precise boat control, even in the wind. “SpotLock is indispensible for vertical jigging,” says Larson.
Contour Trolling Was Key
Not only did Larson rely on his Minn Kota for the Jigging Rap bite, he says the Terrova iPilot Link was a huge part of how he caught his fish trolling.
“Basically, I would highlight 13 – 15 foot contours on my 1199, which is networked with my Minn Kota Terrova iPilot Link. This allowed me to stay right on that rock ridge without spending too much time on boat control. I ran my rods way more effectively than if I had to focus on steering. The ticket was a slow 1.5-1.6 mph troll for the bigger fish, which is kind of unusual. And we really had to be on the rods because it was so snaggy. Then, when we got a fish, I’d hit AutoPilot and the Minn Kota would take us into deeper water to fight the fish. Then I’d hit the ‘rabbit’ button and get right back on the contour and hit Link to keep trolling,” says Larson.
He sums it up: “Thanks to Humminbird and Minn Kota, boat control is way easier. And you catch more fish by running rods effectively. Now I’m excited about the Minn Kota Ulterra, which I used in Mark Courts’ boat one day. Couldn’t believe how well it auto-deploys and auto-stows. Plus, there’s a safety factor there, too, for big-water tournaments. I will definitely be running it at our first event on Erie next year.”
2015 NWT Lucas Oil AOY Mark Courts re-caps his season and thanks his sponsors.
For more information visit humminbird.com, contact Humminbird, 678 Humminbird Lane, Eufaula, AL 36027, or call 800-633-1468.
About Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics, Inc.
Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson Outdoors and consists of the Humminbird®, Minn Kota® and Cannon® brands. Humminbird® is a leading global innovator and manufacturer of marine electronics products including fishfinders, multifunction displays, autopilots, ice flashers, and premium cartography products. Minn Kota® is the world’s leading manufacturer of electric trolling motors, as well as offers a complete line of shallow water anchors, battery chargers and marine accessories. Cannon® is the leader in controlled-depth fishing and includes a full line of downrigger products and accessories.
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