Target Walleye/Ice email

Best leadcore knots, Slip-bobber hack, Don’t reel too fast

Today’s Top 5

Hawg-bellies of the week!

Ryan Harrenstein Pinpoint’d (MotorGuide’s anchor mode) his new PB walldawg, a 32.5″ Moonshine Shiver Minnow eatin’ freak — wow!

Nicole Fender and her dad trolled their way into some Lake Erie hawg-bellies. Don’t know what baits, but could be ‘cuz of the #LuckyHat?

Lake of the Woods has been kicking out a pile of bigs — this one wanted a closer look at Beth Meyer’s Lund:

Marc “only catches bigguns” Tremblay cracked this DD (double-digit) walter on a Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Walleye Deep Diver. Gotta be his 700th of the year lol:

How to get started pulling leadcore.

Leadcore is exactly what it sounds like: fishing line with a lead core. The line sinks (duh!) which helps crankbaits dive deeper. Tough to beat right now when the water’s hot — here’s a few tips from Joel Nelson:

> More than just a search tool, it can be an effective way to target spread-out fish…when pulling live-bait rigs and even spinners takes too long between pods.

> The cornerstone of every good leadcore program is a M to MH, moderate-action trolling rod, paired with a slightly oversized line-counter reel and 18-lb leadcore line.

> Leadcore line is marked by a different color every 10 yards, so a full-core would be 10 colors or 100 yards. You probably won’t need to dive to this depth, but it’s a good starting place to get you acquainted with the method.

> Standard leadcore dives on average 5′ per color, but Sufix 832 Advanced leadcore dives 7′ per color (more depth with less line out).

Joel uses a slick reverse-spooling hack so he knows exactly how much backing to put on under the leadcore to perfectly fill the spool. Works great for regular braid too.

> Unsheath the end of your leadcore, and pull out 6″ or so of the lead. Pull the sheath back down and use it to tie a braid-to-mono, or braid-to-braid knot. [Have more info on different leadcore knots in Top Item 3].

> Areas where I’m trolling with zebra mussels, I run a 3-5′ section of braided leader, then a snap, then my lure. On ultra-clear water I run a 30′ leader of 10-lb fluorocarbon so it’s less visible.

> Any crankbait runs well with this scenario, as do spinners and a variety of other lures designed to be pulled.

[***Most crankbaits. Wouldn’t try that giant Rapala hanging in your man cave….]

> Start by letting out a few colors of line while going 2.2-3.0 mph. Let out line evenly to prevent overruns and keep kinks and tangles to a minimum. When leadcore knots, the interior lead can break and poke out in places.

> Deep-diving crankbaits should be let out until you’re occasionally making contact with bottom. You don’t want to be digging in constantly…this causes baits to wander, then tangle.

> Pull along gradually similar depths, and as you get better…work your way towards pulling along breaks.

Those of you looking for more advanced leadcore tricks (with planer boards, segmented, shallow water, etc) can find ’em right here.

Few other great tips from Kirt Hedquist’s Doctor Sonar write-up:

> Don’t need to set the hook, let the fish fight for a bit before grabbing the rod out of the holder…helps drive the hooks in and tire ’em out.

> No need to pump the rod…apply a steady and slow pace when reeling. If the fish wants to run, let them. Don’t horse ’em in — you’ll tear the hook out.

> Check your drag. Set it on the loose side due to the low stretch factor of the line. This helps to prevent hook tear outs.

> Keep the rod tip low to the water…keeps the fish from flopping on the surface and reduces the risk of them coming loose.

> Run larger, deeper diving lures. For example a #7 on the inside lines and a #5 on the outside lines…will stagger the amount of line deployed preventing fouling.

Keep reading Kirt’s full write-up here.

Best ways to connect leadcore to your leader.

There’s a pile of different ways to do it — each has its own pros/cons. Gonna break down a couple of ’em so you can find which is best/easiest for you…

Lotta guys run a small #10 or #12 swivel to connect the leadcore to their leader. Works great most of the time, but too big of swivel can get hung up on the rod tip when fighting a HUGE fish…then you’re left with a biggun flopping off 10′ or so behind the boat. Doesn’t happen often, but nothing worse than when it does.

Brings us to what’s called the Willis Knot, aka “the leadcore knot,” where you’ll actually slide the leader material inside of the Dacron sheath, then tie an overhand knot (or two). Whole thing is super tiny and slides right through the rod’s eyelets:

Ben Garver makes it look too easy spooling up his Okuma Cold Water Line Counter:

Have heard of guys using a sewing needle to help fish the leader into the sheath — great idea if you’re not a surgeon with 20/20 vision…. Will either run the needle through backwards or dull the end so it doesn’t poke through.

‘Nother great knot option from Doug Burns if you’re running a braided-line leader or having a tough time “threading the needle”:

Brad Hawthorne uses the same bobber stop all season!

Sitting at home re-watching the power bobbering for walleyes video I shot with Brad Hawthorne on Lake of the Woods, and got to thinking ’bout how much I hate bobber stops. Always seem to (eventually) slide and end up havin’ to retie the whole rig.

Called Brad to pick his brain on it and see if he had any “fixes”…of course he did lol! Couple things he does:

> Takes a thumbnail full of Chapstick on his pointer finger and mushes it all up in the knot before he tightens it down…keeps it semi-waterproof.

> Leaves about 1/8″ tag on each side so there’s just enough to re-tighten if need be, but slightly burns the ends with a lighter so they don’t fray. Can use the same stop for a full season.

I was like, “why didn’t you say something when we were filming?!” And he was all like:

Ever wonder how…

…walleyes are able to “throw” Rapala Jigging Raps and other hard-bodied jigging baits? This one gave the Wired2Fish crew a first-hand look:

Why it’s so important to keep steady pressure on ’em and guys like Al Lindner recommend running mono to absorb the shock.


1. Some fresh NWT stats from John Balla…

…coming off the Devils Lake, ND qualifier.

2. ON: Man fined $1K for keeping walleyes…

…outta Lake Scugog which had banned walleye fishing at the time to help boost the population.

3. MN: Lake of the Woods tackle checklist (video).

4. IA has 20-foot walleyes.

Well one at least:

Will be put on display somewhere near the Cedar River.

5. Great Lakes restoration program now fully funded.

Federal deal, includes anti-Asian carp stuff.

6. Lowrance HDS Carbon series up to $1,000 off.

7. MN: New DWI law.

> Called “Little Alan’s Law,” in memory of Alan Geisenkoetter Jr. A new law [took] effect on Aug 1…takes away a person’s privileges to drive ALL vehicles — car, boat, ATV and snowmobile — if they’re convicted of driving while intoxicated.

8. IL: Asian black carp in Horseshoe Lake.

Great, another species of these things!

Have a shot at winning all this BRAND NEW Rapala loot just released at ICAST, including: 10 spools of Sufix Advance Mono (has 50% LESS stretch [!] than standard monos), smaller #4 Shad Dancers, bigger #12 RipStops, and some new Rapala swag! Same as before: Just enter your email addy. Share the link you get for bonus entries — good luck!!

Tip of the Day

When you make a short cast/pitch with Moonshine Shiver Minnows, give the bait 10-12 vertical rips under the boat before cranking up:

Also true for Rapala Jigging Raps, Phantom Tillys, all hard-bodied jigging baits.

Meme of the Day

Any of your fishing buddies fit the description?

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Awesome release shot of Garrett Haglin’s Canadian rock crawler caught on a Northland Fire-Ball Jig tipped with a fathead:

Sign up another fish-head!

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Who is Target Walleye/Ice
Target Walleye/Ice — 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/Ice. 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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