Antioch angler wins walleye championship

September 10, 2010 at 01:18 PM

Mike Gofron of Antioch won the 2010 Anglers Insight Marketing walleye championship, his second AIM victory in as many years, and his second walleye Championship (also winning the PWT Championship in 2001). 

His first prize was a $65,000 Lund Pro-V 2075 rigged with a Mercury Verado 300-hp outboard and a 9.9-hp outboard.

The Sept. 1-3 Championship was Illinois hunting and fishingheld on Lake Winnibigoshish in northern Minnesota.  Competing against the best walleye anglers in the world, he caught seven walleyes for 36 pounds on the first day, creating an unbeatable margin.  Gofron said, “This victory was special, mainly because I learned about this spot last year from fishing friend Dave Anderson.  He died last December, and I thought how nice it would be to win on his spot.”  The winds cranked higher than 25 mph every day and Gofron couldn’t fish this area until the first day of the Championship.

He fished a pattern of nightcrawlers behind small spinners over the tops of weeds known as “cabbage.”  He trolled slowly with his MotorGuide bow mount motor, quietly easing over the shallow walleyes.  The water was 8 to12 feet deep.  During the pre-fishing time, he experimented with deep-water spots, steep breaklines, water as shallow as 4-feet, flats in the 13 to 15 foot depths, and searched for areas that might prove better than Dave’s weeds.  None did. 

Gofron talked about his search pattern, saying, “I trolled jointed number five Shad Raps (perch color) over and through the weeds, and on the flats adjacent to the weeds with 10-pound Trilene XT.  I let out 65 to 100 feet of line depending on depth.”  Catching a couple of walleyes in an area caused him to fish it slower with spinners. 

The other tool that really helped him dial in his presentation was his Lowrance HD10 with “down scan.”  He described it like this, “With down scan, I can differentiate between bait and bottom clutter.  I can also read if the bait is perch or shiners.”  On the first day of the Championship, he noticed lots of shiners balled up on the 13-foot flats as he approached Dave’s weeds.  He saw few minnows in the weeds, but caught all his big fish there.  “Did those big fish drive the minnows out?” he asked.  On the second day, the minnows were back, and the fishing was much tougher.

Gofron has racked up some incredible statistics over the years.  He has five AIM finishes from first to fifth place in nine tournaments.  On the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail from 1992 through 2008, his list of record accomplishments includes most top 10 place finishes, 37; most times in the top 20, 50 percent of the time; most money finishes, 71; qualified for 16 Championships in as many years; won a prestigious Championship, and claimed Top Gun, Sportsman of the Year and two Angler of the Year titles.  He also has a MWC victory, won a gold medal at the ESPN Great outdoor Games, and won many other state and regional events.  He is a book author, “My Story, A Walleye Expert Speaks,” and in demand as a seminar presenter.