Target Walleye/Ice email

Al talks Jigging Raps, Huge male walleye, Power fish bottom-bouncers

Today’s Top 5

Walleyes eat the darnedest things.

You don’t always have to be using tiny-little baits to catch walleyes — them big ol’ chompers aren’t just for smiling! Just ask @horseshoecustom who had this walleye cough up a half-digested 10″ northern!

How’s that for population control? #SnakesBeGone

How the Mille Lacs AIM was won.

Gotta give another shout-out to father/son duo Jake and Dave Bonsack for taking home the ‘dubyah’ on Mille Lacs with a 2-day bag (10 fish) of 80.09 lbs! Besides some serious bragging rights…they also hauled home a $55K prize package including a new 1898DC Warrior w/ a 150-hp Yamaha 4-stroke and Garmin electronics. #Jackpot!

> Jake: This time of the year, most of the time I would have said this would have been won on the mud flats, and those fish weren’t there yet. Everybody figured out pretty quick they were still post-spawn, near shoreline structure…. Guessing it’ll be different when we’re out there for the next AIM Jun 14.

Caught their fish bouncing around between 4 or 5 spots on sand and rock — driving around trying to graph those bigger fish and casting back on ’em:

> On some of the deep rock structures (18′ give or take) we were throwing #3 Moonshine Shiver Minnows down the breaklines — casting ’em out and popping it back to the boat. Fish were pinning it to bottom…go to rip it and they’re on there.

Said his best color was the “metallic gold goby,” but thinks it was more of the cadence than anything.

Pretty sure that to win one of these things absolutely everything has to be dialed in, so will probably be adding some of that color to my arsenal lol:

> Pitching 1/8-oz “firetiger” Northland Fire-Ball Jigs and shiners up to shallow (6-12′) rocks and sand was another big key. We’d drive through the areas and Side Image the sand…not just stopping on any pod of walleyes we’d see, but looking for bigger marks. When fishing cabbage [weeds] the bigger fish seem to mix right in with the smaller ones…but on this shallow rock and sand [the bigger fish] seem to be in pods of 2 or 3….

> [Mille Lacs] is such a big body of water, and we don’t have a lot of time to break it down before these things. Being able to break down the water together with our teammates Ryan Hylla and Chaz Dobias [who finished 8th] was SO key. Couldn’t have done it without ’em.

Teamwork makes the dream work. HUGE props, fellas!

Btw the boat that the Bonsack’s won is for sale ‘cuz Jake’s all about that #TillerLife

Huge MALE walleye caught!

With most all fish species (?) females can grow waaaay more bigger-er than the males…unless you live up der in Canada where every fish seems to grow to stupid-big-dumb sizes.

Have a look-see at this huge 26″ male Bryan Bogdan’s daughter caught out of Wekusko Falls Lodge in northern Manitoba:

> Bryan: “When Kiley caught this super chunky 26″, I thought for sure it was a female that didn’t drop its eggs. But after we released it she asked what all the white stuff was on her hands and all over the floor?!?!”

Bryan is no stranger to the big boys — check this gnarly 29″ male he caught last fall:

Now imagine the top-end of what a female ‘eye could grow to in northern MB….

Al Lindner’s all-time fave walleye bait.

Al “you-might-have-heard-of-him” Lindner was asked by the AnglingBuzzard himself, Nick Lindner: “If you could pick only one walleye lure, what would it be and why?”

His answer: The OG of hard-bodied jigging baits…a Rapala Jigging Rap. Al has spent thousands of hours fine tuning the technique, so when he talks…listen:

> When the water temp gets to around the high-50s in the spring of the year, all the way to almost ice up in fall, the Rapala Jigging Rap is my favorite bait. I never go on the water without one tied on…EVER. It produces fish for me all season long and in most cases out-fishes most other baits. Simply the most amazing walleye-producing lure I’ve ever seen.

> …95 degrees, hot, calm and sunny? One of my favorite times to put a Jigging Rap on and catch 30 or 40 walleyes in the middle of the afternoon…when everybody else is whining about how bad the bite is. ‘I gotta wait ’til the 45 minutes at sunset to get a few bites’…not if you put one of these things on, it’s a reaction bite….

> About 50% of the time I’m casting the Jigging Rap, 40% of the time I’m pulling it behind the boat and 10% is spent vertical jigging it underneath my transducer.

> In most cases I do a #7 and a #9 — it’s about 50/50. Once in a great while, when I get fish real shallow, I’ll go to a #5…don’t write it off.

> To fish this thing right, you need to put a barrel swivel about 15-18″ above the bait — especially if you’re casting into the wind. The way the bait fishes [and spins on the cast] will cause line twist and a barrel swivel simply eliminates that.

> My leader material is the same line that’s on my reel, 10-lb mono. I’ve said it before many times and I’ll say it again…you’re going to land WAY more fish with monofilament. Day in and day out I use 10-lb Sufix mono. It’s that simple, you don’t have to complicate it.

> The worst thing you could do is fish it on braid…it’s gonna cost ya. If you’re gonna be a serious Jigging Rap walleye fisherman — and want to maximize everything with it — make sure you use mono. Do I sound forceful on it? I’m trying to help you catch and land more fish!

> I know people that change the hooks…I take it right out of the box just the way it was made and can catch as many fish as you’ll ever catch by changing the hooks. The key is to fight the fish slow…because of the smaller hooks. Most people lose fish because they’re pumping the fish too hard. And when your fish gets to the surface, your buddy better have a net under it.

Don’t want anyone’s brain to explode, so we’re going to pump the brakes right here…. Will talk more (how to fish ’em, color selection, you name it) soon-ish ‘cuz it doesn’t get much more fun or efficient:

Ever catch one with a blue tail?

Not to mention one that’s blue tail extends 30″ past its snout! Freakin’ amazing colors on this shoulder-bearing bruiser:

That’s Larry Larivière poppin’ himself a dirty-30 somewhere in QC. Caught throwing the realistic-looking LiveTarget Twitch Minnow with an injected core:

Btw — I’ve been trying to track down one of those black Okuma trucker hats for 3 years now…only ever see ’em on the heads of our friends north of the border, so maybe a Canada-only thing?


1. IA: Walleye tagged in memory of Adam VanSyoc.

Adam passed in a boating accident on the Winnebago River in late March. His wife Mandy “wanted those who loved him to be able to still fish with him.”

> “…so she reached out on social media about tagging a fish in his memory, and Brad Bull, Clear Lake Fishing Club president, responded immediately.

The club collaborated with the IA DNR to have a walleye tagged in Adam’s memory — one that was caught by Adam’s son Derek:

> The walleye designated as “Adam’s fish” received a pink No. 66 tag, which was Adam VanSyoc’s high school football number.

> …wanted her husband’s tagged fish to be in Clear Lake because it was the lake he grew up fishing — it’s where he and his father participated in walleye tournaments…and when the couple first met in the summer of 1994, fishing off the dock in Clear Lake was always in their date plans.

> Those who catch the [tagged] walleye are encouraged to take a picture of themselves with the fish as well as a close-up of the tag and bring [the pics] to Clear Lake Bait and Tackle for verification and a $100 cash prize.

> After the pictures are taken, the fishing club is asking anglers to throw the fish back so someone else can catch it and receive the cash prize.

How cool is that?!

2. US/CAN border closed through the end of July?!?

3. OH: Hume/Karner clean up at Lake Erie MWC.

Adam Hume and Mike Karner’s 2-day bag (10 fish) of 83-13 was over 10 lbs MORE than 2nd place — walked away with $14.7K in cash + prizes:

Said one of their “home programs” was pulling Bandits way deeper than most were fishing — would love to know how deep that is? But understand folks can’t always give up all of their secrets (lol). Congrats guys!

4. MI: Asian carp could easily happen in Saginaw Bay?

> …scientists out of Great Lakes Environmental Research Center Laboratory (GLERL) determined [in simulations] it might take as few as 20 individuals to establish within the bay.

5. WI: Water levels (continue) breaking all-time records.

On Lake Michigan and the Bay of Green Bay:

> According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Michigan rose 4″ over the past month and is now 5″ higher than it’s ever been recorded.

6. WI: Borcherdt/Kabacinski win Lake Winnebago AIM.

7. ND: Tagging study shows folks aren’t “overfishing” lakes.

Prelim data from tagging studies done on Lake Sakakawea, and Lakes Alkaline and Josephine:

> “It’s essentially a snapshot of how anglers use the resource, to help state officials determine if they’re managing the lake properly so that walleye aren’t getting overharvested.

> “Anglers harvested about 22% of walleye 13″ or larger…. That’s an acceptably low number that should maintain good fishing for years to come.”

8. Are composite transoms the deal for aluminum rigs?

Lund’s new-ish High-Density Performance (HDP) composite transoms are a rot-proof alternative to marine plywood. Also stronger, stiffer and lighter:

We all know Lunds already have incredible resale value — could composite transoms actually strengthen that??

9. MN: Lund Mania on Otter Tail Lake cancelled.Mega bummer. Social-distancing guidelines are to blame:

> “Lund Mania doesn’t have a weigh-in because it’s a catch-photo-release tournament. That means each boat in the tournament is required to have an observer to accurately document fish caught [by the 2 other folks in the boat fishing]. That made Lund Mania untenable.”

10. FishUSA’s been rockin’ it for 20 years.

Launched in 2000 as one of the first “pure” internet retailers of fishin’ tackle — background info here on how they came to be. Congrats to the FishUSA team!

Oh, and anyone else find it hard to believe that it’s somehow been 20 years since the year 2000? Sheesh time flies.

11. MI: Commercial fishermen considered critical…

…and have been able to fish during coronavirus shutdowns…but they’re not sure where they’ll sell the fish they catch since most restaurants in the state are closed? Some folks are worried “this could be the kind of thing that wipes out people.”

12. MB: Thousands of carp washing up dead…

…on Lake Winnipeg. Samples are being analyzed to figure out WHY all that WHAT is happenin’ — sounds like koi herpes (yup, I’m serious) could be to blame.

13. MN: 3rd annual Blackfish Classic tourney still on.

The new-ish bass derby is still set for Mon, Jul 27 on Lake Minnetonka — has a $10K 1st-place prize. I know a handful of walleye nuts who pluck huge bass outta ‘Tonka on accident…so imagine if they actually tried to target bass (lol).

…was so big it was picked up on radar — wowza! Highlights

Tip of the Day

A lot of guys/gals sloooowly pull live-bait rigs this time of year, but tourney champs Gary Parsons and Korey Sprengel like bottom-bouncing up to 1.2+ mph to cover water fast and put more fish in the boat.

They use Slow Death (left) and Super Slow Death Hooks (right) that have a special bend in the shank to get nightcrawlers spinning — which walleyes can’t resist when bug hatches are happenin’:

Super Slow Death Hooks (right) have a more-aggressive bend that works better with plastics like Gulp! Nightcrawlers. Gary threads the crawler all the way up the hook so the head actually slides up over the knot and the tail kicks out at a 45-degree angle.

Here’s a throwback video of the duo putting the technique to work on MN’s Leech Lake, where they’re keying in on rock-to-sand transitions…aka walleye highways:

Lots of different options out there nowadays for hooks that are specifically designed to spin a ‘crawler or plastic. One new-ish ones that caught my eye is the Berkley Fusion19 Slow-Turn Hook:

Biggest thing that stands out to me is that bait keeper waaaay up top. Important ‘cuz keeping the bait pinned, and not slid down, is key to getting the best twirl…especially with plastics.

Meme of the Day

Don’t be THAT fishin’ buddy:

Gotta be careful of the type of people you hang out with….

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Fish-head @loganpeterson9 thwacked this moonlit bruiser trolling a Rapala Shadow Rap over some sand grass up in 5′. Takes some serious dedication to get out and grind after dark, but can definitely pay off big:

Parting Shot

The shortest distance between point A and point B is holding on to your dang hat when you’re in Brad Hawthorne’s Lund 2025 Impact with a 200-HP Merc Pro XS. #Braaaap

Pretty sure the sound of that motor starting could scare the lighting back into those clouds….

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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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