Target Walleye/Ice email

Slick rigging cabbage, Summer transition tip, Bigguns of the week

Just ONE Target Walleye this week. We’re waaaay up in Ontario — where WiFi isn’t a thing — chasing mythical-sized walleyes! Finally back to the normal twice-weekly send next week.

Today’s Top 5

Bottom bruisers of the week!

Theren H. stuffed 30.5-inches of Winnipeg River gold on a Rapala Deep Tail Dancer:

This Al-Bertha, CAN bottom bruiser took a crack at Levi’s Bagley Rumble B…or maybe it just wanted a closer look at his #LuckyStache? Awesome either way:

Erika Cheadle celebrated Canada Day with this slaunch-back she caught chuckin’ a Rapala DT10 (dives to 10′), which isn’t just for bass:

Here’s TW’s Brett McComas with a 27″ goldendoodle he caught while “slick rigging” [see Top Item #2] on Gull Lake, MN. Still lots of fish up shallow feeding right now:

How to “slick rig” through shallow cabbage weeds.

Let’s face it: most walleye guys refuse to fish in the weeds…big mistake! A certain population of fish will be in the cabbage all year round, and they’re usually better ones. Here’s a Joel Nelson and Brett McComas collab about a weed-friendly version of the Lindy Rig we like to call the “Slick Rig.”

> This is a shallower pattern — usually anywhere from 9-14′ — in emergent or barely submerged cabbage beds. Really good spots usually have deep water close by and a mixture of bright green coontail on that deeper outside edge.

> A thin, braided mainline like 10-lb Sufix 832 lets you snap the rig out of cabbage leaves if it gets stuck and of course helps feel the bite with lots of line out. If your hook snags the stalk of the weed, you’ll likely have to pluck the whole thing out of the bottom.

> Start with an 1/8-oz tungsten bullet-nose sinker (maybe 1/4-oz if reeeeally windy). Sounds ultra-light, but remember that this is a shallow-water deal, so you’ll need plenty of line out behind the boat to keep from spooking fish.

> A tungsten weight is going to be much smaller than lead, so it pulls through cabbage like a dream. Expensive…yes…but you’ll hardly ever lose your weight while rigging in the weed. Bass guys burn through ’em thanks to pike bite-offs.

Here’s a look at the “slick rig” on bottom next to the traditional components:

> This is one of the few techniques where I think it’s important to use a Sufix Elite Monofilament leader instead of fluorocarbon, simply because fluoro sinks and I don’t want my bait dragging on bottom if I drop down to super-slow speeds.

> I like using a 48″ leader (usually 10-lb, not less) tied off to the smallest swivel I can get away with. Anything longer than 48″ seems to get wrapped up in the cabbage stalks too often.

> Owner makes a Soft Glow Bead that’s flexible and can be slid over the hook eye. Helps to protect the knot and makes things that much less snaggy by covering the eye, knot, and tag end. They sink, but are slightly more buoyant than normal beads which helps keep the bait up.
> Drop down to a #6 or #4 Octopus Hook, or a #8 or #6 Wide-Gap Walleye Hook for the great hook-up ratios, yet streamlined shape that pulls through the weeds better than expected.
> Live leeches are cleaner and can be rigged more quickly, but a worm-blower enhanced nightcrawler usually gets more bites, especially now that water temps have reached the low- to mid-70s.

> Life-like leech and nightcrawler imitations can be just as productive as the real stuff, especially when trolling speeds are bumped up. You almost have to fish them in areas with lots of bait-stealing bluegills, else you’re constantly reeling in to re-bait.

> Soft-plastics like the Impulse Rig’N Leech and Nightcrawler can be rigged in a variety of ways: from nearly weedless Texas-rigging options, to slow-death styles that cause the bait to spin seductively in the water. Oh and you can’t kill ’em 😉

Ted Takasaki trolls in 4WD?

Pretty cool technique for those of you running console boats with a kicker:

> Too many anglers connect their kicker to the big engine and steer with the wheel. What ends up happening is anglers aren’t able to stay on their trolling paths over fish-holding contours or structure, areas which are sometimes quite narrow.

> This would be the equivalent of driving a rear-wheel drive vehicle in the snow, where the car wants to slide when trying to turn. A boat does the same thing on the water when only propelled from the rear. As a result, anglers have a tough time keeping their baits in the strike zone.

> A better way is to allow the bow-mount trolling motor to “pull” the boat simultaneous with “push” from the big engine or kicker in the rear.

> When trolling, I’m using the Minn Kota Terrova or Ulterra in conjunction with the gas kicker. It’s a push/pull technique that’s similar to driving your vehicle in four-wheel drive. The boat is always more responsive when it’s controlled by the front, while being pushed from behind.

Here’s Ted practicing what he preaches in his Lund 219 Pro-V GL:

So it has the (sort of) boat control of a tiller, but the comfort of a windshield. Tiller guys: you gotta admit it’d be nice to hide behind a bubble in November or during massive bug hatches like this:

That’s one reason tiller guys never smile:

Where fish sticks come from.

Okay we’re not sure either, but John Brown recently caught this pre-breaded one:

Yuck. Asked him for details over on the Instagrammy and he said:

> Storm Deep Jr. ThunderStick (chrome yellow perch) on a river system in the Muskoka-Haliburton range #pleasetellmewemadetheemailblast

Lol #youmadetheemailblastman

Why you should throw bigger baits for muskies.

Cody W. kayaked across something you don’t see everyday…or ever:

Talk about a mouthful! Better a pike than your leg….


1. Skarlis tells his story.

Tommy Skarlis’ surgeon said they have no idea how he ISN’T paralyzed from the neck down after his horrific bow-hunting accident….

Sat down with him at ICAST and got the full scoop on what went down that day and how he’s recovering. Seriously powerful stuff:

Forgot to ask Tommy about it, but gotta imagine those Smooth Moves suspension seats would make a world of difference by absorbing the wave shock your body would normally be taking:

Prayers fishing brother, keep doing your thing!

2. MN: Mille Lacs ban extended 2 weeks.

This is getting exhausting. So basically:

> “…This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because…”

But seriously there’s way more info on what going down and why right here, that is if you have the energy to read any more about it.

3. MN: Fishing Careers Workshop.

There’s more ways to break into the fishing biz than you’d think, and you can learn how at this Al and Troy Lindner co-hosted workshop that’s stacked with local talent:

Happening in the Brainerd Lakes Area. Click here to register.

4. ND: Record walleye stocking year.

Pumped more than 12 mil fingerlings into 130 lakes and there was already no shortage of walleyes over in the prairie….

5. MN: American eel found in Cottonwood Lake.

Thing was 37.4″ and a long ways from the north Atlantic Ocean! Guess it’s not unheard of to find ’em in the Mississippi, but this is only the second one found in a lake in over 25 years of fisheries surveys.

6. New Berkley FireLine Ultra 8.

Won “Best Fishing Line” at ICAST. Korey Sprengel has been running it for three years and said it’s got the casting distance of NanoFil, the strength of FireLine, and lasts longer than both. Available in September.

7. ICAST attendance about the same as 2016.

Word is about 15,000 people registered with 582 exhibitors in 1,982 booths. Tough to tell attendance while there because it’s spread out over 200,000 SqFt!

8. Cabela’s shareholders approve Bass Pro deal.

And Forbes has Johnny Morris’ “real-time net worth” at $3.4 bil. That’s a lot of Jigging Raps!

9. Yamama buys Bennett Marine.

Known for their hydraulic trim tabs.

10. Latest #ethanolsux news.

EPA okays max ethanol (again) for 2018 while boat-related ethanol repairs are increasing.

Tip of the Day

Parsons and Kavajecz:

> Early summer is a transition period: Fish are past the post-spawn period and are moving into more summer patterns. Traditionally this can mean tough fishing, but covering as much water as possible can help you catch more walleyes.

> Spread lures out both horizontally as well as vertically. Walleyes can be tight to the structure, or suspended in open water. It really depends on the particular lake you’re fishing.

> In open water, get those baits out from the boat using Off Shore Tackle OR12 Side Planers. These boards are ballasted so they run true in the roughest conditions, and even sit upright when still in the water.

> Spreading lures vertically sometimes means using methods that allow lures to run deeper than they normally would. This is a common practice this time of year since we’re typically using smaller-sized lures that are not designed to dive very deep on their own.

> In open water it may mean adding a weight in front of the lure, like an Off Shore Tackle Guppy Weight on an OR16 Pro Snap to gain more depth. Or in situations where we are trolling structure, we often incorporate leadcore line to get the baits to the desired depth.

> Shad-style baits like the Berkley Flicker Shad are great where the fish are feeding on stuff like shad, perch, crappie and similar forage. In lakes where the walleyes are feeding on things like smelt, cisco and alewives we opt for a longer bait like Berkley Flicker Minnows.

> Walleyes normally feed “up,” meaning their feeding zone is above where they’re positioned. If you mark fish suspended 25′ down over 35′, run your lures just above them at 20′.

> Fish relating to structure and hanging tighter to the bottom are another story. While running lures just above these fish can trigger a few to bite, many times these fish are better triggered by running lures right in front of their faces.

> Data provided by the gang at Precision Trolling [awesome phone app] lets you know exactly how much line to let out to get certain baits to specific depths.
Keep reading here for way more info from The Next Bite crew.

Quote of the Day

I think being a teacher is a lot like being a fishing guide: it’s all about education and patience.

Jason Freed would know, he does both! Rewarding, but for sure takes patience:

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Jake Barr stuck this biggun’ while taking his homemade pink/white crawler harnesses out for a stroll on Green Bay. Solid shot:


Up to 40,000 mink released from MN farm by animal rights activists.

We’re calling it right now: next year’s winner of “Best Freshwater Hard Lure” at ICAST 2018 is going to be a mink bait. Why? Here’s the last four winners:2017 – Savage Gear 3D Bat
2016 – Savage Gear 3D Suicide Duck
2015 – Savage Gear Hard Shrimp
2014 – Spro BBZ-1 RatSneak peak of the Savage Gear 3D Mink:

Okay not really, but bass guys would throw it….

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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 quit sports in high school because they were interfering with his fishing time. Get him at

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