Target Walleye/Ice email

Hoyer went hawg hunting, Ned Rig walleyes, Strange catches

Today’s Top 4

Hoyer went pig farmin’ at the Green Bay NWT…

…and he found the hawg trough! Sacked up 80.33 lbs (10 fish) over 2 days to take home the ‘dubyah’ and an $86,921 payday:

If you’re wondering how he caught ’em, here’s the short answer:

> John Hoyer: “Trolling is boring….”

Lol! Okay now to dive in a bit deeper:

> Hoyer: “We were fishing warm-water slicks along rock-to-sand transitions in 8-12′ [running 35-40 miles north of Marinette along the west shoreline]. Our entire team fished more secondary stuff…we were targeting fish that no one else was casting to.

> “I threw the 3.3” [secret new size] “bass magic” Berkley PowerBait Power Swimmer on a 1/2-oz jig…learned about it at the Sturgeon Bay [Bass] Open. It’s a goby-pattern bait. I would reel it slow enough where it’s just making contact with the bottom.

> “[Also caught ’em on] a DH Custom Baits painted lipless crankbait in “purple gold tigre.” I replaced the stock hooks with Berkley Fusion19 hooks, and that’s why I went 11 for 12 on bites. I used a 7′ 3″ medium-fast Thorne Bros custom rod…it’s literally the most sensitive rod money can buy.”

Said he would rip the lipless hard when the bite was strong and slowly pull the rod upwards when the bite was stingy. Used a standard “redfire crawdad” color in dirtier water, and switched back to the custom-painted “purple gold tigre” when it was clear.

I tracked down DH Custom Baits to figure out which lipless we were talkin’ and see what that “purple gold tigre” color was all about. Here’s a look-see at ’em (before the clear coat) along with the overnight package that was zipped Hoyer’s way. #CustomerServiceDialed

Fished both baits on 10-lb Berkley FireLine Ultra 8 Carrier with a 12-lb Berkley Trilene 100% Fluoro leader. Had the leader tied to a snap and believed it gave the baits a more-erratic fall:

> “…I was completely glued to my Lowrance SideScan, looking at it 5 times per cast. I became drawn to areas where we could mark them on SideScan. When you get hard sand and rock edges, they stick out like a sore thumb. The more time I spent in those kinds of areas, the more advantage I had with my electronics. …several times where we marked one and called our shot.

> “This has been my #1 goal in life. Dreams do come true. I don’t know if it will ever settle in.”

Earned it, dude! Nice guys finish last 1st.

Btw — If you’re not following John Hoyer’s Instagram yet, better get on it! If he’s not in shut-off-the-phone-and-don’t-talk-to-me-pre-fish mode, he’s giving away daily tricks + techniques on his IG stories…for sure worth a click.

Ned Rig walleyes are a thing.

Some of my biggest walleyes EVER have been caught on a jigworm…which I believe you kids call Ned Rigs nowadays (lol). Lots were caught on accident while bassin’ in the weeds, but more and more on purpose…. This one here’s a Gull Lake, MN walleye, not Mille Lacs where they eat anything. 😉

True story: In our local walleye league last week, I didn’t have a fish in the boat until 8:45 pm (weigh-in’s at 9 pm). Finally picked up a Ned Rig — which I’d rigged up on purpose — and stuck one on my first cast to a 7-9′ weed flat. Really wish I would’ve busted it out earlier so I coulda maybe got some gas money back that night!

The Ned Rig has become one of the hottest finesse-’em-up bass presentations but really it’s nothing new in the Midwest. I’ve been throwing one for about 15 years now, and the guy that showed me had been using it since the ’70s. The biggest difference imo is that a Ned Rig should technically have a more-buoyant plastic on the back, so it floats up off bottom.

Basically it’s a compact little treat (usually a stickbait) slapped on the back of a mushroom-shaped jighead — believe Gopher Tackle made it first, but lots of options are out there now for jigheads.

One of my favorites is the VMC Finesse Half Moon Jig. Lighter is better, so typically a 3/32- or 1/8-oz is what I tie on first…will occasionally bump up to a 3/16-oz if the wind is rippin’. This one’s paired with a 4″ YUM Dinger with a bit of the head nipped off for a flush-er mount:

Light braid gives you that extra casting distance and feel. Either 8-lb Sufix 832 or NanoBraid, with a 7- or 8-lb fluoro leader. My leader length varies depending on water clarity…no shorter than 4-5′, but up to 12′ long for spooky clear-water fish.

I’m almost always throwing natural colors to mimic craws or perch pecking at the bottom. How to fish it depends on the day…usually for me it’s more of a slow drag with little hops, just creepin’ and crawlin’ that thing along. Seems they usually hit it in the first 10-15 seconds of the bait hitting bottom, so after that I crank up and repeat.

Careful though: Some days it can be tough to keep those brown and green carp off it lol. But I’m an equal-opportunity hooksetter, so bring ’em on. Here’s a few hefty Ned-eaters from the last couple weeks here in the north country:

Minn Kota has a 20′ Talon coming?

Came across this pic of Johnson Outdoors’ Tim Price testing a prototype 20′ Minn Kota Talon made outta…steel (lol)?

Okay, not really…but it does look like he has a 15-footer on the back, which is pretty mind-blowing. Minn Kota’s gonna have to stop calling ’em shallow-water anchors, and start calling ’em medium-water anchors….

If you (somehow?!) still haven’t seen/heard of the Minn Kota Talon, it’ll pin you down with the push of a button in 8′, 10′, 12′ or even 15′ depending which model you have. #TalonDown

The newest models added bluetooth to work with: the upgraded remote, new Talon phone app, allows you to do software updates, and link to some Humminbird units. Bonus LED light on the top cap for after-dark missions.

Can get a Tilt Bracket for ’em if you’ve got a low garage door (like I do) or find yourself sneaking under sketchy bridges/culverts to your favorite fishin’ spots. Pretty sure Brian “Bro” Brosdahl only has ’em ‘cuz it makes it easier to explain to visual learners how Talons work, when he gets asked at nearly every gas station stop and boat access — comes with the territory!

I’ve got a 12′ Talon on the back of my rig. Between that and the Spot-Lock on my Minn Kota Ultrex, only reason I ever put an anchor in my boat is if the regs require me to…for instance Canada where I believe you either need to have an anchor or an oar/paddle on board:

Minn Kota does have a deal goin’ on until the end of the month that’ll help ease the $$$ pain…get a $500 mail-in rebate when you buy any two 12′ or 15′ Talon shallow-water anchors. Spendy stuff, but honestly can’t imagine fishin’ without ’em now.

Must be something in the water….

Love the caption on this Jason Mitchell Outdoors FB post:

> “I’ve seen people with no brains, bucks with no racks, pheasants with no tails…but not sure I’ve ever seen anything like this walleye we caught on Devils Lake.”

Try not to chuckle at some of these comments under the original post:

> Kind of like the kid in school that had to wear husky pants.
> It’s got “kankles” for walleyes.
> They’re actually very common…seen thousands of them on every fishing trip…people with no brains that is.

Lol! The comments section also proved that anything is possible when we’re talkin’ strange catches:

One of the stranger ones came from Brandon Hillman who caught a Detroit River walleye with two rows of teeth up top — thing was more “snaky” than any pike I’ve ever caught (real snake on right):


1. ND: Topper/Hasse win AIM national championship…

…on the Missouri River. Won it with a 2-day bag of 31.26 taking home $58K+ in prizes. Hope they had an extra tow vehicle with!

> “Our biggest struggle was looking at past tournaments. We saw some pretty decent weights and we were dissecting the water like crazy, but couldn’t put up the same weights. But we began getting consistent at putting up about a 20” average.

> “We had to slow everything down. We were getting a few bites and catching everything under the sun [pulling cranks and planer boards] but not walleyes. As soon as we started running crawler harnesses…we got our fish….”

Congrats fellas! #Grinders

2. Is this the future of props?

Called the Sharrow Propeller:

Few snippets from their website:

> Its design, enabled by modern computer modeling and additive manufacturing, has solved the most basic problem of rotary propulsion. Specifically, tip cavitation and vortices have been eliminated or significantly reduced….

> …the Sharrow Propeller is 9-15% more efficient than the industry standard…design. …also exhibits a wider peak efficiency curve for greater utility over a wide scope of operational ranges.

> Additionally…generates more thrust and uses less energy for a given RPM than a standard propeller design, which increases acceleration dramatically.

3. Erie: New high water level record.

> …574.3′ over sea level…0.25″ above the all-time record, set in June 1986.

The Army Corps spokesman says “the main driver here is precipitation….” Lol reeeeally.

4. CO: Get paid $20 per pike at Kenney Rez?!

> We encourage anglers to participate and help us eliminate northern pike from Kenney and the surrounding area. If the pike population continues to grow, we may have to resort to less palatable options for managing against northern pike in the future.

Don’t want them to scarf up all the “endangered native fish” like: the CO pikeminnow, humpback chub, bonytail and razorback sucker…. #SaveTheMinnows?

5. Lew’s and Strike King sold to BDT Capital Partners.

6. DC: EPA approves year-round E15.

That’s 15% ethanol gas, but the oil industry is not on board with the decision. #Showdown #LawyerUp

7. DC: Federal land lead tackle ban rescinded.

Obama put it in, Trump took it out.

8. Mustad bought Tuf-Line.

Probably most known in the walleye world for their leadcore.

9. WI: Merc expanded its diecast facility.

> …allowing the company to make complex blocks, driveshafts and gearcases for Mercury’s outboards.

Tip of the Day

Jon Thelen: Aggressive spring float tactics.

Sorta sounds like an oxymoron…but power bobbering, speed corking, kerplunking — whatever you wanna call it — is a crazy-good way to put fish in the boat that won’t touch other presentations.

It’s most common later in the season as fish slide out deeper, but Jon Thelen also puts it to work in the spring. He looks for fish on the tippity tops of structure…and fishes fish, not spots…meaning if he’s not graphics it’s time to keep moving:

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Cal Haataja ( cracked himself a new PB to the tune of 31″ [!] on a Clam Drop Tg tungsten jig with a 3.8″ Keitech. Yup, open-water tungsten jigs are finally a thing…you ice-heads know what I’m talkin’ about:

Sign up another fish-head!

If you’re forwarding Target Walleye to a friend who loves to walleye-fish or want your fishing buddies to get these emails, just send us their email addresses and we’ll take care of it! (We won’t sell the addresses, use them for spam, etc.)

Check this stuff out!

Who is Target Walleye
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
To send us walleye pics, ice shots or whatever, just respond to this email or click here to email us. Or post it on the Target Walleye Facebook page.

To Top