Target Walleye/Ice email

Lithium battery rant, Panfish baits for walleyes, Ice tourney secrets

Today’s Top 5

Here’s an insider look at ice tourney pro setups.     

Seriously, wow…! This Steve Hoffman write-up about hardwater tourney pros and their gear hacks is one of THE most interesting pieces I can ever remember reading…’least far as ice fishing goes.

Hoff reached out to NAIFC pro Lawrence Luoma to get some coolio insider info on tweaks he — and most all other ice tourney pros — do to their setups to help ’em catch the biggest panfish in the lake.

Only gonna drop a few snippets below ‘cuz I highly recommend hitting up the full write-up — it’s chock full of waaaaay too many goods to fit here:


> Lawrence: “I competed in my first ice fishing tournament in 2008 at Lake Osakis in west-central MN. My family owned a cabin on the lake for decades and I was confident that I could find and catch enough fish to finish high on the leaderboard.”

> He caught fish but also lost many others, including…some of the largest fish he hooked. The tournament weigh-in proved to be an eye-opening experience as out-of-state teams that only spent a few hours pre-fishing the lake finished in the money.

> “I told them that I was losing fish and they asked to see my gear. I showed them my custom graphite rods and high-end spinning reels and immediately saw that they weren’t impressed. Then they showed me what they were using.”

Modified 24″ HT Ice Blue Super Flex ultra-light rods with Schooley De-Ma Reels. Right now that entire setup would cost you just $10.18 [!!!] on FishUSA. And it’s what the best-in-the-tourney-biz are running…almost exclusively.


> “I was shocked…. I could buy 10 of their combos for the price of one of mine, but their gear was producing better results. I pushed for details and they were like an open book. I’ve never met a group so willing to share what they knew.”

WAY more info in the full write-up here…including a 30-min vid where Lawrence walks you step-by-step through setting up one of those modified tight-lining rigs:

Parade of pigs!

Giant alert!!! Jake Haniak (@homerunangling) cracked this mammoth 13-lb 15-oz (32″) freak in SK — Tobin Lake I believe? Said he missed it on a rattlebait, but it came back and nailed his glow tungsten tipped with a minnow. Boom!


How ’bout Nicole Stone (@nicolestoneoutdoors) camera-stuffing this THICK Lake Winnipeg greenback?! Welcome to the 30″ club!! Caught on a big #6 Rapala Slab Rap in the “chrome blue” color. Congrats!


Some more greenback goodness — this time from Dylan Foui and his fluttery-buttery Clam Peg Spoon:


Apparently there’s still a bit of open-water pig farmin’ to be had in southern WI. Don’t just take my word for it, take @pikedreamers instead. #BroomTail


Sean Moncur (@nowyou_seanme) got in on the open-water action too — soakin’ sucker minnows in central, MN when he struck 30″ of gold. GREAT pic:

Try oversized panfish jigs for pressured walleyes. 

Fishing on pressured waters? Or maybe stuck in that brutal midwinter bite?? Try tying on an oversized panfish jig with a minnow head or finesse plastic.

Sounds goofy, but it’s a little trick a handful of #dialed guides have been using the last few years on crowded lakes or in clear water:


The biggest 1/16-oz Drop Jig XL should have enough hook gap if you’re fishing with say a fathead minnow head. If you wanna bump things up to a full minnow — yet still have a super compact presentation — try the 1/8-oz Drop Jig XXL which comes with a #4 hook:


Bonus points: Also helps keep the “dinky” panfish away. Nothing wrong with stumbling across a 14″ crappie or 10″ ‘gill while chasin’ walleyes!

Rant of the day.   

Okay, so occasionally I just gotta vent a few WTHeck thoughts in here…sorta like my kind of fish-therapy when I can’t get on the water (lol).

You might remember my trolling motor rant wondering “when will transom trolling motors have an anchor mode???” Still waiting…. 😉

Today’s flavor: Why don’t all high-end fishin’ electronics come with a lithium battery off the shelf?


Lol not hate, just a few observations:

Lithium batteries are roughly half the weight but twice the power of standard 12v batteries. Means you can run some flashers 40-60 hours without charging! How nice is that for a weekend fishing trip?

And say you have a big-screen graph or underwater camera that usually lasts around 5-6 hours before it dies…. Throw a lithium battery in there and you’d be looking at more like 9-10 hours — means you can use it the entire day!

Oh, and lithium batteries last roughly 5x as many “charge cycles” so you don’t need to replace ’em nearly as often.

Here’s an idea: A bunch of companies sell 10ah to 12ah 12v lithium batteries for under $99 retail (like this Dakota Lithium). So I’d guess a big fishin’ company could get a much better price based on ’em moving a lot of units?

Then charge us fish-heads a little bit more to offset that extra cost and I bet a BIG chunk of us would gladly pay a little more to get all those extra benefits? I mean, we’re already spending hundreds or thousands of buckaroos on some of these units, so what’s an extra $60 or $80 for lithium….

Phew. Okay, I’m done…for now…. Thanks for listening.

Did you know Eskimos can fly?   

This one can anyway…. As seen by northern MN fishing guide Greg Clusiau. #GoneWithTheWind


Ouch! We’ve all been there….

Greg was nice enough to zip over with his truck and snag that Eskimo hub for ’em. His post said, “All in good shape and funny!” Funny is right, but glad to hear there were no casualties…peeps or shacks!

Btw if you’re not a fan of gettin’ down on all fours and crankin’ in ice anchors (for pop-up shacks) by hand, there’s a handful of different options out there…

…like this Ice Anchor Drill Adapter that attaches to any cordless drill — works with any ice anchors — and can even be used to crank in tip-ups:


If you’ve got an Ion Ice Auger, there’s a quick-detach system that converts your auger into an ice-anchor installing machine. Might also be nice for breaking the auger down on back-country trips:


In the end, if you just don’t feel like taking the couple o’ minutes to stake things down (I understand lol) then there’ll likely be someone watching you like their favorite show:


1. Please say a prayer for Forrest L. Wood.

Apparently he’s is in the hospital, don’t know many details but it sounds serious by this post from his grandson Keith Daffron:

> “…Forrest Wood is in critical condition at Baxter Regional Medical Center. He is in great care by a staff that’s beyond impressive. The next 72 hours will be a trying time for us all. The outpouring of love and support we have already received means so much. Please pray for Nina and our entire family. We will do our best to communicate any changes as we can.”

2. Lake Erie ice cover near record low…

…for late Jan. Funny ‘cuz just a couple weeks ago the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted it to be 80% ice covered by late Feb….

3. MN: 2020 Gov’s Fishing Opener will have a…

…county-wide (Otter Tail county) fishing contest using the FishDonkey app:

> The longest walleye entered [catch, record and release] will be crowned champion of the MN Governor’s Fishing Opener. …win bragging rights, and have their name placed on a traveling trophy.”

4. The difference between LiveScope vs Panoptix.

Really good vid from Fish Addictions TV explaining the difference between Garmin LiveScope vs Garmin Panoptix, and when each unit shines:

5. IL: Boat trailer plate fees up 555% in 2020.

> “For the smallest class of trailers — 3,000 lbs or less — that means the fee jumped from $18 to $118.”


6. MN: In-Depth Outdoors hit the NW Angle.

All about how quickly conditions can change. They kicked off the morning with temps of -15 to -20°F and plenty of wind. #Brisk

7. Lowrance Ghost trolling motor wins best new product……at the Big Rock Sporting Goods Show.

8. ND: Devils Lake fishing and ice report (video).

9. If you’ve been eyein’ up a StrikeMaster Lite-Flite…

…now’s the time to snag one — FishUSA has ’em $50 off right now.

Throw it on a brushless 18V cordless drill — or even your regular powerhead — to shave a ton of weight and make hole hopping great again:

Has a “synthetic resin-molded flighting” which in English means: It’s super light. The 6″ weighs 4.4 lbs — 8″ weighs 5.3 lbs. Thing is also craaaaazy fast thanks to those twin serrated Lazer blades, and the Lazer Power Point = won’t hop around when you’re starting the hole. Highlights

Tip of the Day

How Chase Parsons “Shivers” cold-front walleyes.

You’ve probably already got a pile of Moonshine Shiver Minnows in your summer arsenal, but remember: they aren’t just for open-water! This vid from The Next Bite shows how Chase “Shivers” for cold-front walleyes on the ice — includes some solid graph cutaways and underwater shots of the jigging cadence:

Quote of the Day

“Nothing gets a young man out of bed faster than the sound of drag slippage!!”

– That’s TW fan Jeff Dierenfeld talkin’ about his son Jayden’s favorite wakeup call…a 27″ beef brisket engulfing a VMC Tingler Spoon:


Awesome fish, dude! Now try hitting “snooze” to see if it happens again in 8 minutes….

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

What’s more impressive: Chekai’s entire getup, or the forehead on this ‘gill?


I’m diggin’ both.

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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 
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