Target Walleye/Ice email

Rippin’ Rap domination, Zander catch in ND, Snap weight vid

Hope everyone had a great/safe Father’s Day with loved ones! I spent it breaking in the new Traeger with my girls, mom and dad — couldn’t have asked for a better “welcome home” from the Saginaw Bay NWT (more on that below). No room for sides on my plate lol:

Today’s Top 4

Rippin’ Rap dominates Saginaw Bay NWT.

All-around walleye hammers Brett “Kinger” King and Joe Okada took home 1st (10 for 49.83 lbs) and 2nd (10 for 49.71 lbs) at the Saginaw Bay NWT, bankrolling a combined $78,559 in cash + prizes:

Both were casting #7 Rapala Rippin’ Raps in the “chrome blue” color…just so happens to be the only #7 color sold out on Coincidence? #IThinkNot

So much for trolling to win….

These guys didn’t just stumble into the right bites — they literally put hundreds of miles on their rigs each day…thanks to an 80+ mile run (one way) from takeoff that required a fuel stop.

Other folks were catching zillions of inner-bay walleyes — much closer to takeoff — but most were in the 12-19″ range. #GoBigOrGoHome #TheyDidn’tGoHome

> Brett King: “Knew if I could go up there and get 5 bites, it would beat anything I had going anywhere else. [Day 1] I literally caught 5…[day 2] I caught 7.

> “I just about got lead astray by the trolling bite. But when I saw the weather forecast, I decided I was going casting. I just always feel more comfortable with a rod in my hand. I’ve pitched so many jigs and blade baits on the river. It’s my Zen — it’s what I love to do. If at all possible, this is how I want to fish in a tournament. You’re not trolling a basin. You’re working a specific target. That’s just where I’m comfortable.

> “With the right conditions, I was willing to take the gamble and make the run. I put over 400 miles on my new boat during the 2 tournament days. It’s a daunting thing to think about those runs. Everything has to go perfect, and this time it did.”

Can’t fake that kind of confidence and commitment. Check Kinger’s #GameFace in this Aaron Eickhorst shot:

> Kinger: “Most of the time my boat would sit in 20-24’…the top of the pile would be in the mid-teens where they were relating to a specific type of rock. These clear-water fish were skittish, so we’d make long casts…let it hit bottom and rip it back up. When you’re limited on time, you’ve got to fish clean.

> “If I got a bite, it was almost a guarantee that it was a walleye over 3 lbs. Occasionally it was a lake trout and [the 2nd day] I caught 2 smallmouths for the first time. Knowing it was a walleye made it really fun. Plus, Saginaw Bay has such a clean bottom — it’s an awesome place to cast.”

Awesome place to cast…once you got there. No way you’d catch me running the Great Lakes without a Smooth Moves suspension seat (like Brett has). Was SO happy to have ’em in Brandon Stanton’s boat for the 100-ish miles we put on day 1.

Shoulda brought my boogie board — swear some of those waves looked like this lol:

Photo credit: White Water Magazine

> Kinger: “We were supposed to start the year in my backyard on the Mississippi. I didn’t get to fish my backyard, so I fished angry at Winnebago and figured some stuff out. Came out of there with confidence.

> “I hadn’t been to Saginaw since the PWT came here 15 years ago. To come in and put it together, it’s awesome. It’s definitely right there at the top. At the same time, it’s bittersweet. I wanted to win, but it was painful to knock my good friend [Joe Okada] off the podium. As happy as I wanted to be, I still felt bad.

> “That dude is going to win…and he’s going to win a lot. I’ve got my sights set now on winning Angler of the Year, but I’ve got a great young stick right behind me.”

Think we all agree on that one!

Okada’s program

Joe’s bag weighed just a few water droplets (0.12 lbs) less than Kinger’s. Safe to say anxiety levels were through the roof at the weigh-in tank Yamaha meeting:

Joe also caught his fish casting a #7 “blue chrome” Rapala Rippin’ Rap with the standard “rip and let it fall” technique.

Said he fished an isolated rock pile 80-ish miles from takeoff on the west side. Only had 3.5 hours of fishing time after the long run.

> Joe Okada: “I only fished 1 spot today…once you’re there, you can’t waste time hopping around. At least I can’t do it that way — I have to fish more thoroughly.

> “The rockpile was almost 100 yards long, but only one small section of it held fish. It was 15′ on top of the pile, but adjacent to deep water. The fish could come and go. They’d stop, hunker down and snack on some gobies.

> “Finishing 2nd isn’t what I was expecting. I was expecting to take a beating and just hopefully scrounge up some points. I was seriously debating running 60 miles in the other direction.

> “I’m fine with 2nd..I really am. Brett was the minister at my wedding a couple months ago. For what I put him through and how nervous he was, this is the least I could do to return the favor.”

How frickin cool is that?! Kinger cleans up well. Awesome finish Joe and BIG congrats on your best catch yet:

Tom Keenan takes 3rd…

…using leeches and crawlers black/purple #7 Rapala Rippin’ Raps. Seriously. Said he put ’round 360 miles on his rig during the tourney — fishing spots 68-80 miles from takeoff. Tom Keenan’s 2-day total of 47.45 lbs got him $16,884:

> Tom: “The fish were eating gobies and the water is so gin clear up there…. I didn’t want a real bright bait…black purple wasn’t quite as flashy.

> “I was trying to throw on the rock transitions and have my co-angler work the edge. I’d make a long cast — let it hit bottom — and rip it up. I was just basically ripping it.

> “I fished 5 or 6 different rock piles in 12-21′. When it was gin clear, I’d start on the deeper piles.

> “I feel fortunate to take 3rd, but the disappointing part is that you only get in position to win so many times. I fished a great tournament…just needed a couple more big bites. Sometimes when you win, the guys on top slip up. Today the big dogs didn’t slip. Joe and Brett are great fishermen.”

You’ve won ’em before and you’ll win ’em again, man! If you didn’t know: Keenan’s got over $1-mil in career (fishin’) earnings. Here’s one big slab o’ that from the 2016 NWT on Lake Erie where he wrastled in 10 MEGAS for 91.46 lbs:

Zander caught in North Dakota??

How ’bout this zanderrific shot from TW fan Kyle Heim of NORTH DAKOTA:

> Kyle: “I caught it Lindy-rigging with a jumbo leech in 11′. This was my first ever zander…hear of one being caught every couple of years. Most excited I’ve ever been catching a fish — had the shakes haha!

> “They stocked 1,050 fingerlings in 1987 and that’s the only public water that has ever been stocked in North America. When I talked to the Game & Fish they said there’s a very small population still in there but they’re reproducing successfully!”

Pumped for you dude, but definitely a little jelly:

Pretty sure Kyle at Woodland Resort would need to block my number if they ever got a few of ’em stocked in Devils Lake, ND….

WTHeck is the 50+2 method for trolling cranks???

NWT pro Keith Kavajecz was using the “50+2 method” with Off Shore Tackle Snap Weights for his top 10 finish at Saginaw Bay. A technique that works anywhere you want to fish cranks deeper than they’d normally run:


1. Fishing Careers Workshop is back!

Was fortunate enough to speak at the last Fishing Careers Workshop (thanks Al!) and still think about it daily. The connections made, stories heard and advice soaked in are seriously life changing:

Happenin’ Oct 27 in the Brainerd Lakes Area (MN) at Madden’s Resort on Gull Lake. More info here.

2. MN: Might be some reg changes comin’…

…on Lake of the Woods for walleye and sauger limits:

> DNR: The proposed changes would reduce the aggregate limit of walleye and sauger in the winter to align with the summer regs on Lake of the Woods, and make spring angling on the Rainy River catch and release for walleye and sauger. The changes would go into effect starting Mar 1, 2019.

Will keep you posted.

Never been to Lake of the Woods? Here’s 82 reason why you should probably change that:

3. MB: World-class kitty fishing is easier than you’d think.

Least it is when you hit up the Red River near Selkirk, MB. It’s hectic in a reeeeally good way. #DoubledUp

4. MN: Lund Mania happenin’ Jul 6 on Ottertail Lake.

Lucky enough to be fishin’ it again with Al “whack ’em and stack ’em” Lindner. Maybe this year I can do more than net? Lol

5. Tommy Skarlis talks a fav secret weapon (video).

Called the Shad Dart Jig, he pours it outta a Do-It Mold.

6. Help Favorite Rods name their new fish-mobile.

Wonder how many rod holders they have in this thing?

The Favorite crew is looking for name suggestions. So far it’s 1) Big Sexy, 2) Phantom House, or 3) Sick Trip. Let ’em know here if you’ve got a better one….

7. New Garmin Panoptix LiveScope sonar.

> …live-scanning sonar that gives anglers higher resolution and easier-to-interpret images of structure, bait and fish swimming below and around the boat than ever before. Now, thanks to the active scanning capabilities of Panoptix LiveScope, anglers can see images and movement so clear and precise that it’s even possible to distinguish between species of fish….

Click the pic for the vid. #Wowza

8. Vexan blade baits on sale…

…for a whoppin’ $0.99 a piece! Sick deal — overlooked technique.

9. Great Lakes: Could Asian carp dominate?

> A report published…in Jan 2016 predicted that once planktivorous Asian carp get into Lake Erie, they will eventually become 34% of the total weight of all fish in the lake.

Dats alotta beef.

10. Merc leadership team changes.

11. Bass Pro/Cabela’s challenge families/kids…

…to give up digital devices (for a bit) to fish, by donating rods/reels.

12. Class action suit against BPS upheld by Supreme Court.

Article says $21.7 mil, 100K+ people involved, over “document fees” in boat purchases.

13. DC: Some happenings….

EPA approves ethanol alternative — Bio-isobutanol, guess the marine industry feels it’ll be a lot less harmful than ethanol.

Marine companies hate new US tariffs — On “nearly 300 marine-related parts” made in China.

Nick and James Lindner talk chuckin’ baits that run 1-2′ deeper than the water they’re fishin’ — can fish slower and the bait’s still where it needs to be:

Quote of the Day

That’s no spring puppy right there.

That’s B-Rad Hawthorne talkin’ ’bout a Lake of the Woods slaunch he caught trolling Northland Butterfly Blades. Same quick vid also talks adjusting your bottom-bouncer weight to change the action of Butterfly Blades….

Great rule of thumb is using 1-oz of weight for every 10′ you’re fishin’ (3-oz weight in 30′). Brad will bump that up to 4-oz when he wants to bait to run at a steady, consistent pace — drops down to 2.5-oz for way more movement/action:

Today’s ‘Eye Candies

This wall-dawg got a face full of Lunkerhunt Sushi 110 at Aikens Lake Lodge, MB. Love that bait name and am especially diggin’ their “perch” color:

Is “purple” the new “firetiger”? Seems more and more like one of those must-have colors. Bet this one regrets walloping that Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Walleye Deep Diver:

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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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