All-Stars and walleyes

After a very rough event at Toyota Trucks All-Star Week, I headed south to Springfield, Mo., to participate in Tracker Marine’s Media Days at Big Cedar Lodge on Table Rock Lake.

All-Star Week was hard on just about everyone but you have to hand it to Edwin Evers and Aaron Martens for doing a great job under tough fishing conditions. Those two made it to the finals under the unique All-Star format and Aaron edged him out in an exciting finish.

When it was over, I had to put my disappointing performance behind me and head to Missouri. Tracker Media Days provides me the chance to work with the boating and fishing press, test the new boats and hang out with other Tracker/Nitro pro anglers.

Nitro’s newest fishing boat that has me excited is a ZV21 Walleye Boat that would certainly suit multi-species anglers, as well. While it’s not a bass boat per say, it will be ideal for people fishing the Great Lakes or other big bodies of water.

I have an inherent interest in the new boat because I know how well a rig like that will fit in the Great Lakes region where I live. I’ve done my share of walleye and salmon fishing, and given my experience as a boat salesman in my brother’s store (D&R Sports Center) in Kalamazoo, I know what anglers want in a big water boat.

The ZV21 has it all and reminds me a little of my Z9 bass rig. Although you could bass fish out of the deep hull boat, it’s set up for a different style of fishing.

Nitro engineers collaborated with Tracker walleye pros Gary and Chase Parsons, both of whom had heavy input into the design and needs of walleye anglers.

The ZV21 has an open layout with a large dual console arrangement, giant storage compartments, an oversized livewell and a bait well for keeping livebaits fresh. It is extremely versatile, as it can handle downriggers and planer boards, has a setup for a kicker outboard (used for slow trolling) and separate fuel tanks for the outboard and kicker engine.

Gary and Chase, who have been testing these boats in all kinds of water and weather for Nitro, were visibly excited about their new boats. Both boats were powered with 300-hp Merc Verado 4 strokes; and on a day when we had 25-mph winds whipping up the middle of Table Rock, the boat drove like it was slick calm. I was very impressed with how it handled, how easy it was to drive at high speeds and how well it cornered.

I’ve been with Tracker Marine my entire career and watched the company grow from the most popular aluminum bass boat manufacturer ever into what it is today.

In fact, in 1989 longtime Kalamazoo friend Don Stevens and I received the first Nitro bass rigs ever delivered and I’ve been fishing out of one ever since!

Remember…it’s all about the attitude!