Americana Outdoors E-Magazine - August 2022

point, Hjelm still had four hours to ease back to Marinette. The end result for his best five was 41.72 pounds. Combined with his 31.68 from day one, Hjelm finished the tournament with a cumu lative total of 73.40 pounds. “The key to this one was putting in a lot of hard work and long hours. At first, it was figuring out water temperatures, current, baitfish and all that stuff. I was just trying to figure out what the heck was happening with the lake. Then, it was trying to figure the fish out and duplicate it in spots A, B and C. Lastly, it was about relying on and trusting my equipment, especially my graph.” For his second NWT win, Hjelm earned a Rang er 620FS Pro with a 250-horsepower Mercury Pro XS, plus $15,000 cash and another $2,327 of Anglers Advantage cash for a total purse of $101,322. Hjelm also tightened the Lucas Oil Angler of the Year race. Kevin McQuoid leads with 717 points. Eleven points behind McQuoid is Max Wilson, and Hjelm sits one point behind Wilson. “Winning any of these tournaments is a huge ac complishment. I don’t take any of this for granted. I’m super blessed and super grateful. I know what it takes to win one of these, and to walk away with another one is crazy. Two weeks ago I married my longtime girlfriend Valerie, and my parents have been traveling with us for the last few events. It’s overwhelming the amount of support I’ve received lately. They all plan on coming to Dunkirk too.”

“It was basically little shoals or little knobs that had current deflections. Walleyes could get in front of it or behind it, depending if they were resting or feeding. Rocks were a good thing, but if it didn’t have rock, we didn’t rule it out.” In gin clear water, Hjelm’s fish were suspended 2 to 10 feet off the bottom in water 18 to 24 feet deep. At times, he would slide up as shallow as 14 feet. Hjelm threw a variety of glide baits in natural colors to catch his fish. He had trolling gear with him, but never caught one trolling in the tourna ment. “We had our trolling rods ready in case the wind and weather wouldn’t let us execute. But the conditions were almost perfect for glide baits. We would let it hit bottom, then rip it up. You get most of your bites right before it hits bottom or near the top of the stroke. Sometimes when you go to lift up again they already have it. The action at the top of the stroke, it just makes them super mad.” When Hjelm, the Dakota Lithium pro, sat on his primary area this morning, he instantly started seeing fish. However, the first five or six schools weren’t interested at all. Then, they’d experience a 45-minute bite window where they’d catch three or four. Then a lull. Then another bite win dow. Hjelm’s co-angler, Michael Yarema, caught a 30-incher as their sixth and final fish. At that


Made with FlippingBook. PDF to flipbook with ease