Target Walleye/Ice email

Al Lindner’s top walleye jigs, Tom Boley goes rod holder crazy, Poly blades in weeds

Today’s Top 5

How many rod holders does Tom Boley have on his rig?

Might have to check the Guinness Book of World Records for the actual answer, but after a quick screenshot from his newest YouTube video (of just the back half of his boat) I count 10!!!


Can only assume his front deck looks something like this too? #SpiderRigging

Al Lindner’s 3 must-have walleye jigs.

Each has its own time and place. Al does a great job breaking down the “why” — not just the “what” — in this full Rapala blog post, few excerpts below to get you started:

> Al prefers pairing his VMC jigs with soft-plastic boot-tail or split-tail minnows, but will use live bait if the fish get too finicky to tempt with artificials. Live-bait or plastic, Al says the best combos for walleyes will measure about 4″, including the jig head.

> Al: “Stick with that size and you’ll catch all the walleyes you need, all year long, anywhere you go, including some really, really big ones….”

1. VMC Neon Moon Eye Jig

Al’s go-to in clear to lightly-stained water, when walleyes aren’t being too finicky:

> “Day in, day out, for neutral to active fish, the Moon Eye Jig is all you need. Anybody that jig fishes, once they start throwing this, it’s going to be one of those ‘Wow!’ moments, like it was for me.

> “When you snap-jig it, it rolls baits off to the side to trigger fish to bite….

> “I am 100% convinced that the [3D holographic] eye [on the jig] makes a difference….

> “From my experience, the boot-tail and the split-tail are going to produce all the fish you’re going to need….”

> Early in the season, target points, new weed growth and inside turns. Each creates ambush spots for walleyes to feed on baitfish.

> “No question about it, Sufix Advance Mono helps you catch and land more fish…. I’ve seen more and more of our guides here in MN using mono.”

2. VMC Bucktail Jig

When walleyes get finicky and won’t bite a Neon Moon Eye Jig paired with a soft-plastic, Al recommends slowing down and rigging a VMC Bucktail Jig with live bait:

> “When you’ve got to fish really slow and need to use live bait, you go with the Bucktail Jig…. You can tip it with a minnow, put a leech on the back of it or put a piece of nightcrawler on it.

> “It’s the best, most-versatile jig that’s on the market today. It has a place in every walleye fisherman’s tackle box.”

> Bucktail hair maintains its shape in water, presenting gamefish a larger target to attack. Tinsel fibers complement the Bucktail Jigs’ skirts to enhance visual appeal.

> A pear-shaped head gives the Bucktail Jig added control and balance for a variety of jigging techniques.

> When fishing a Bucktail Jig dressed with live bait, Al recommends targeting deeper structure. He’s caught fish on 3/8-oz Bucktail Jigs in as deep as 32′ but in shallower water, he typically ties on 1/8- to 1/4-oz….

3. VMC Sleek Jig

Al ties on a VMC Sleek Jig when he’s fishing “incredibly snaggy” rocks and needs to swim his bait over the bottom to prevent getting hung up. Likes to pair it with a boot-tail soft-plastic:

> “I prefer to stick with artificials, but lot of guys are using it for live bait. A lot of good fishermen that I know that fish a lot of minnows are using the Sleek Jig, because of the hook.

> It’s got that magic hook design…the bend, the design and the quality of the hook are all top notch. It grabs and sticks everything….”

> Has that ‘Techset’ technical locking curve, which maximizes hooksets and pins fish in place. Thanks to that design…an aggressive hookset is not required to hook and land big walleyes — all you need to do is reel down and pull.

> A weight-forward teardrop design gives the Sleek Jig stability and balance. 3D holographic eyes add realism. …UV Bright finishes that reflect light energy, boosting the lure’s visibility.

Don’t see that every day!

Never know what I’m gonna run into when checking the Target Walleye Instagram DMs — here’s some cool randomness that was recently sent in:

Todd Furo (@furo1348) and his cousin managed to hook the same walleye…from different boats…at the same time. Can’t make this stuff up!


We share a lot of interesting-looking waldos, but haven’t (yet) shouted-out those gnarly black walleyes from waaaay up derr in Ely, MN waters. From Nick Altavilla:


Did Ross Robertson (@bigwaterfishing) just invent a new kind of “board” shorts?


This Josh McFaddin shot might just be the definition of shore lunch — stringer full of green gold from the shores of MB’s Lake Winnipeg:

Could “eDNA” be used for estimating walleye populations?

Not sure how I stumbled across this study from the University of WI-Madison on the Google machinez, but glad I did. Pretty interesting info on how researchers say they can use eDNA to estimate a lake’s entire walleye population — solo — in a single day:

> The secret is something called “environmental DNA,” or “eDNA,” which is, essentially, bits of genetic code living organisms leave behind in their environment. Humans shed dead skin cells or loose hairs, while fish leave waste in their wake that’s chock full of bits of their DNA.

Apparently they just need to grab a scoop of lake water and bring it back to the lab for processing:

> Once at the lab, the water was run through a filter, which separated out the water and, well, everything else. The team then searched for fragments of walleye DNA in this left over organic material. What they found, is that there was “more or less a linear relationship between number of walleye in the lake and the number of eDNA hits we got.”


Of course there’s still lots of moving parts to dial-in before this becomes part any fisheries management tool box…but it could open up waaaay more lakes to walleye population monitoring for stocking reasons, etc.

Case you didn’t know, DNR crews in states like WI only have enough time/money/manpower to monitor roughly 5% of lakes a year right now.

“Cotton candy used to only be available at tractor pulls and state fairs….”

– That’s the B-Fish-N Tackle crew talkin’ about their new-ish “cotton candy” color AuthentX plastics. Here’s a look at it in the always-fishy Pulse-R.

*Warning: Not for human consumption (lol):


New baits/colors always got me like… #SugarRush


Here’s a few other AuthentX colors you probably shouldn’t try eating yourself, tempting as their names may sound:

1) Peanut butter and jelly,
2) Honey oil glitter,
3) Pink bubblegum pepper,
4) and for sure stay away from firecracker!


1. Italian basser passed on from lightning strike.

> [36-yr-old Gianni Rizzo]…died on Mon 8 Jun in an incredible accident on Lake Bolsena. The man was struck by lightning while with a friend…on a boat.

> Suddenly, lightning [struck] the carbon rod, discharging its power along it. Rescuers were notified immediately and promptly intervened but, unfortunately, there was nothing to do.

> Rizzo, from the province of Veneto, was a longtime B.A.S.S. member, a former Nation president and a B.A.S.S. Nation Championship contender in 2014. Rizzo represented Italy in the Nation Championship tournament.

So sad and scary at the same time. RIP fishin’ brother.

2. Walleye vs sauger: Can you tell the difference?

Not always as simple as you’d think. This HuntFishMB blog post is loaded with info and lots of quality pics for you visual learners.

3. ‘Birds MEGA 360 can now be mounted anywhere….

> MEGA 360 Imaging is now available as an independently-mounted model that no longer requires a trolling motor to get the very best sonar views on the water.”

Gotta say the first thing that came to mind when seeing the new mount, was it had me wondering how many diehards are gonna try to convert their open-water systems to ice units [chin-scratch emoji]….

4. Important factoids from a recent Coast Guard report (long pdf).

Talking 2019 boating fatalities:

> Where cause of death was known, 79% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims with reported life jacket usage, 86% were not wearing a life jacket.

> Where length was known, 8 out of every 10 boaters who drowned were using vessels less than 21′ in length.

> Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents — where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 23% of deaths.

5. MN: Fishing To End Hunger charity derby still on.

Happenin’ Oct 3 on Gull Lake. Great cause with BIG-time payouts — they dish out $25K total to the top 6 spots! — plus the fish usually start snapping on Gull that time of year.

6. Garmin’s Navionics maps now have relief shading.

> “…highly-detailed shading that combines color and shadow to provide an easy-to-interpret, clearer view of bottom structure than contour lines alone.”

Mostly a “coastal” thing but they also added it for 150+ lakes now (there’s a coverage map at the bottom of this page to see if it has lakes in your area). Looks pretty cool:

7. MN: Can still get to the NW Angle……but you gotta take the scenic route…

> The Angle is part of MN, but just barely. To get there by road…customers have to cross into Canada, drive north for about an hour, then cross back into the U.S. — 2 international border crossings — both of which are closed right now in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

So ’til the border opens back up (no one knows when that will be) the only way to get to and from the NW Angle is by boating 30-ish miles across Lake of the Woods — staying on the U.S. side of water. That’s super tough going for the 120 folks that live in the NW Angle full time, and whose livelihoods depend on folks coming up to the dozen+ resorts.

I’ve heard that some resorts — like Sportsman’s Oak Island Lodge — are coordinating a sort of boat escort service, where one of their big charter boats plows the way and breaks the waves for smaller boats to follow behind.

8. Lowrance has a software update…

…for its HDS LIVE, HDS Carbon and Elite Ti2 fishfinders/chartplotters:

> The 20.0 update includes a wealth of powerful new features, including Ghost freshwater trolling motor support, registration via mobile app, NMEA 2000 update capability for Mercury VesselView Link and Mercury autopilot features.

There’s an update for some Simrad systems too (NSO, NSS and GO series).

9. Theron Asbery new marketing man at American Tackle.

Was at Yo-Zuri.

10. ND: Devils Lake virtual fishing contest happenin’ Jun 27.

> “With the cancellation of the Chamber Walleye Tournament, we looked for a way to provide some fun on the water and still be able to abide by the social distancing guidelines set forth. This is a great way to still get out on the water, enjoy the day with family or a friend, and have a chance to win some really great prizes.”

11. NE: New alcohol ban on Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala.

Can’t possess or consume “liquid spirits” at either of the state recreation areas…but you could still catch yourself a giant walleye, so all good.

12. This dude caught his 4th 10-lber of the season!

Running Someday Isle Tackle Water Puppets:

And he wants to know if this walleye makes his bait look small lol = yup!

Said the hot ticket lately has been drifting an 1/8-oz “hot craw” color Water Puppet with a 2″ shad tail + half a ‘crawler in 9-15’. #Finessy

13. SD: Lake Oahe MWC happenin’ Jun 26-27.

14. MT folks gotta watch out for grizzlies.

Been spotted roaming near Big Sandy in north-central MT…furthest east yet.

Still not sure if I’d rather have to look over my shoulder for grizzlies, or over the edge of the boat for rattlesnakes like these dudes were dealing with on Lake Oahe. #HardPass

15. Phantom’s been laying down some paint!

Kicked out a limited run of custom-painted Boogey and Abyss crank-’em-up baits:

16. MT has “free fishing” on Father’s Day weekend.Allows anyone to fish without a license on Jun 20-21, but of course gotta follow all other fishing rules and regs.

17. MI scrapped Oman Creek access construction.

The $2-mil project to “build an erosion control barrier” wasn’t in the budget, but said they will…

> “…continue to maintain and operate the Oman Creek boating access site in Gogebic County. We have concluded that continuing annual dredging and repairing the site — if damaged by storm events — would be the most cost-effective approach at this location.”

18. SD: GFP offices reopening Jun 15.

19. DC: Outdoor rec. businesses pushing for senate to pass…

…the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA):

> The legislative package allocates $9.5 bil over 5 years, all revenue from oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters, to address the massive maintenance backlog on public lands. It also guarantees full and permanent funding for the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 mil annually.

Senate plans to hold a vote on the GAOA in Jun. Highlights

Note: The FishUSA links in this email are affiliate links, meaning if you go through them to make a purchase we might earn a commission…at no cost to you. Click here if you want to learn a little more about links in TW.

Tip of the Day

Eric Brandriet pulls polycarbonate blades in weeds.

Polycarbonate spinner blades? Yup! ‘Cuz they’re super light, spin at speeds down to 0.25 mph, and don’t crash to the bottom of weeds like traditional blades can. More from Eric Brandriet of Dakota Prairie Angling on the Northland Butterfly Blades below:

> Works wherever walleyes cruise emerging weeds. Ideally the weeds are tall enough for the walleyes to get down in them and ambush prey passing overhead — say 1-3′ weeds growing in 10′.

His blade of choice is a #2 Northland Tackle Butterfly Blade, on either a Butterfly Blade Super Death Rig, single-hook Butterfly Rig with a leech, or double-hook Butterfly Harness with a nightcrawler.

> Butterfly Blades are also sold separately for tying your own rigs. My favorite colors for early-weed walleyes are sunrise, silver shiner and cisco purple…pays to experiment as conditions and mood of the fish change.

NFT also has some [fire emoji] new colors they recently released that I can personally vouch for — here’s a few of ’em, including my absolute favorite (“golden perch”) on the far left. #money!


> 3/4-oz Slick-Stick Bottom Bouncers shed vegetation better than other bouncer designs.

Don’t be afraid to run ’em through the weeds with standard bullet weights either.

> I use planer boards to get the rig away from the boat and spread out multiple lines. Adding 2′ of line between bouncer and board for every foot of desired running depth…if weedtops are 5′ down, I let out 8′ of line to position [’em] a foot above the weeds.

> Trolling speeds run from 0.5-0.7 mph. Recommend a steady pace to prevent rigs from falling into the weed-growth.

> [Works best] with a moderate wind. Flat calm is less than ideal — too much wind stirs everything up so the fish can’t see your rigs….

Meme of the Day

The weekend’s almost here, so hope you’re prepared for a little “walleye chop.”

If you work from home, your email inbox probably looks like the bottom pic too.

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

This Billings Gazette write-up said this Canyon Ferry Rez freakazoid was 32.5″ — not sure if that’s the fish’s overall length, or its waist size. #Stacked

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Target Walleye — walleye during open water and all species during hardwater — is brought to you by Al and Ron Lindner, Jim Kalkofen, Brett McComas and other diehard fish-nuts like you! #fishheads
Brett McComas is the main man for Target Walleye He was discovered in Brainerd, MN after years of wondering how in the heck people break into the fishing biz. He’s in it now, but still can’t answer that question…. Brett is one of those guys who majored in marketing, only because there was no such thing as a “fishing degree” at the time…. Get him at 
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