Target Walleye/Ice email

Merp zander, Ladies catch bigger fish, Shallow leadcore tricks

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Today’s Top 4

Merp zander caught!

Seen a pile of merp walleyes, but this is the first merp zander [close European cousin that grows to stupid-dumb-big sizes] I’ve come across. Awesome fish:

Jan Schoofs (left) tagged a bait shop in that pic…so of course I got to snoopin’…and came across some sick looking baits they use to #TargetZander

Got me thinking that western/northern Europe (Sweden, Finland, Germany, etc) is basically the Japan of walleye fishing….

Let me explain: In the bassin’ world, Japan is known for their crazy-detailed, durable, down-right exciting baits that catch the snot outta fish. Designs and techniques that we don’t see on this side of the Pacific until years later.

Just sayin’ maybe we need to take a closer look at what our European friends are throwin’ and bring some of that flavor over here. Know the fish haven’t seen it….

When you should be pulling leadcore SHALLOW.

Leadcore is typically used to get crankbaits to dive deeper, but NWT pro John Hoyer uses it for a different reason up shallow. Check the full tip on, but a few excerpts below, after this saugeye-ZILLA:

> Leadcore allows me to run 4 lines at different distances from the boat while keeping the lures running in the same depth range. This keeps the baits from tangling when turning out and in on breaklines with many points. If the lines were all the same length they’d be crossing non-stop.

> I set the inside line with mono back 80′ from the boat…the middle two rods are rigged with leadcore and set back 50′ and 60’…the outside rod has mono 100′ back:

> For leadcore: I like to run 27-lb Tuf-Line MicroLead. It’s the thinnest-diameter stuff we can find — has way different dive curves than the average leadcore — and pretty forgiving on big fish.> The clearer the water, the longer the leader. The visibility on Sakakawea was 2-3′, so we were running leaders as short as 10′ and basically power fishing.

> We run Berkley FireLine leaders anytime there’s debris, that way we can clear a fouled lure by snapping it [instead of reeling all the way in]. If there’s not much debris, we run 15-lb Berkley fluorocarbon.

> Most important thing in dirty water is for a fish to be able to find your bait. A crankbait hitting bottom is a trigger, and also is a constant noise to attract fish to you. I like the #7 Berkley Flicker Shads because they seem to deflect off bottom the most.

> When dialing in a color program on multiple rods, start with: one natural, one silvery, one firetiger and a purply one. That covers it all, then switch out the other cranks for the top-producing colors.

> I personally like using high-contrast colors like purple tiger, and firetiger once the sun comes up. Firetiger is just one of those colors you’ve always gotta have tied on.

Keep reading the full John Hoyer write-up here.

Shout out to fisher-ladies everywhere!

Ladies have been gettin’ it done this season [fire emoji] [fire emoji] [fire emoji]. All these shots were posted in the last 24 hours over on the Instagrammy:

Nikee Musey’s first Manitoba Master Angler of the season came trolling a Rapala X-Rap in n 6′:

Meg’s dialed-in with the Storm Twitch Stick. Here’s what her hubby had to say:

> Daniel Notarianni: “I’m still having a hard time making the bait move the way she was…it just had this awesome looking roll. Definitely something about the cadence and power she was using.”

You’re not the only one getting outfished by your better half *cough* me too *cough*. Btw fish was released:

Liz Holmes cracked a Lake Erie 30-incher [and a bunch others!!] trolling Silver Streak spinners for suspended, open-water fish with pro donkey hunter Ross Robertson:

Check this Harrop Lake, MB backdrop [heart-eyes emoji]. Shannon Hogan was fishin’ out of Jackson’s Lodge & Outposts with Northland Whistler Jig and X-Zone Slammer. #OfWalleyesAndWaterfalls

Insta user @teal_erin and Matty Haarsma crushed the Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba jaints on “Ukrainian drop shots” AKA pickerel rigs:

> Matty: “…slightly modifying them with small Lindy blades. Nothing overly fancy or finesse, but sometimes breaking it down to basics becomes fishes choice. Used light 10-lb braid on M xtra-fast rods to dial in exactly where they were sitting on a transition from softball-size rocks to sand…dragging a foot or two then pausing.”

Chelsie Mondle gettin’ some fish slime on the Lund. Can’t tell what kind of crankbait that is wrapped up in the net, but those Fort Peck Lake walters were into it:

New performance fishin’ gear made outta real walleyes?

Not sure when Blackfish Gear started making their sleeves out of walleyes — or maybe those are gloves? — but I’m diggin’ it:

Hey Blackfish crew – let me know if you’ve got an extra Zenith Softshell Jacket laying ’round lol. Or maybe a Shade Angler Sun Gaiter so I can stop smashing a quart of SPF70 on my ears/neck/face every 45 minutes.

Gotta admit: I used to make fun of guys wearing Sun Gaiters…never out loud, but always thought it to myself. Then one day I had to have a “sun spot” carved outta my ear and it completely changed my tune:

These↓ look a LOT cooler than that↑ #EmbraceTheSunGaiters


Quotes from a Star Tribune write-up:

> The net, which by one account had 67 dead walleyes in it, weighing 112.4 lbs, was reported to DNR conservation officers by a local resident and removed from the lake May 20. An investigation is underway into who was responsible….

2. MN: Mille Lacs walleye pop. estimation underway.

> The DNR has conducted similar population estimates 6 times on Lake Mille Lacs. Those estimates have placed the lake’s walleye population as high as 1.1 mil fish in 2002 and as low as 249K in 2014.

Let the 2013 year class shine.

3. Merc National registration closes Jun 1.

Only 9 spots left right now….

4. MN: 10th annual Leech Lake walleye tourney…

…happenin’ Jun 2-3. Jason Freed and Chuck Hasse took home the ‘W’ last year with a 2-day bag of 31.48 lbs = $15,200 payday:

> Jason: The first areas [we fished] were shallow flats where the walleyes come in at 8-12′ to feed on small perch and crayfish during early-morning periods.

> We pitched [semi-secret] artificial baits, as well as 1/8-oz Kenkatch Long Shank and 3D Eye Jigs until we found an active school of fish.

> Once those fish slowed down: we worked underwater points or bars in 24-28′, rigging redtail chubs and leeches. It was a great 1-2 punch that produced both quality unders and an over 26″ each day.


5. MT: Fort Peck egg collection drops…

…thanks to the late ice-out. Crews collected about half of their target number (50 mil) of walleye eggs.

6. You can vary the sound of the new Mercs.

> Mercury-exclusive Advanced Sound Control allows users to toggle between ultra-quiet operation and a “throatier” sport sound.

#TrimDownFerWhat #OkayMaybeTrolling

7. US boat sales at 10-year high.

And now you can build ’em online like you would a pizza lol.

Headline of the Day

More fishing tournaments skipping weigh-in.

Talkin’ the rise of “catch, record, release” tourneys…which I’m all for.

Tip of the Day

Fan cast for spring walleyes.

We’re getting to the point in the season where fish should start grouping up on specific edges, but for now they’re still fairly scattered — some up, some down — on structure. That’s why Jason Mitchell says you should be fan casting for ’em:

> Don’t get locked in on finding a specific edge or depth post-spawn fish are using. For example: we catch a few fish in 22′ and then spend the rest of our time trying to catch more fish at that depth.

> Later in the season — as fish become edge-orientated on structure — you might spend the whole day fishing a specific depth and catch lots of fish.

> Early in the season fish movements are often wider…might pop a few deep below the boat, catch some with a long cast to the top of the structure…others hit the jig halfway back to the boat. That’s typical in spring.

> Fan casting jigs and soft plastics allows you to touch all the different zones and find fish much more quickly…can deliver your presentation away from the boat when fish are shallow and won’t let you drive over them.

> Some fish might be scattered in 15′ while others are laid up in 7-10′. [Instead of making 2 trolling passes] you can cover a lot more water by making a single pass in 15′ and casting up shallow water…fishing the water below the boat at the end of each cast.

Meme of the Day

Lake Nevuhtellja:

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Marc Tremblay should probably just let this one keep that “midnight” color Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Walleye Deep Diver. #Yikes

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