Target Walleye/Ice email

Thickest burbot ever, Loop knot trick, Bachelor spring cleaning

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Today’s Top 5

Howg-bellies of the week!

TW fan Jason Hornstein stuck himself a massive Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba greenback last weekend. Went a paunchy 12.6 lbs (31″) and T-boned a custom-painted LiveTarget Golden Shiner Rattlebait:

Jeff Matity downsized to an 1/8-oz Reelbait Flasher Jig (white) and thwacked his biggest waldo in years, a 32″ x 17″ freakzilla:

Jeff’s bro Jason Matity caught this 31″ x 17.5″ razorback using the same 1/8-oz Reelbait Flasher Jig with shiner head:

Chrissy Santos spent Valentine’s Day soaking 10″ suckers under a tip-up on Great Scandaga Lake, NY. Paid off with 45″ and 21 lbs of gator:

Sent in by Jason Merickel:

> “After releasing a small tullibee, my friend Tyler Currie saw a huge mark on his Vex chase the tullibee down to bottom…dropped down a Rapala Jigging Rap and this big girl smashed it.”

How Tom Neustrom spools up for late-ice panfish.

Late ice = panfish time…if you’re not into the whole chasing-burbot thing (lol). Too-light line can get you broke-off — too heavy can kill the bait’s action. Here’s how Hall of Famer Tom Neustrom rigs up. Full write-up here, few nuggets below:

> Because ice-fishing reels are so small, it’s important to frequently spool up fresh Sufix line. Small spools cause coils, and coils cost you bites.

> Line coils are like a spring: they’ll absorb all the subtle movements you make with your rod tip and prevent that action from hitting your bait. The longer line is on a spool, the more memory it will have = more likely to jump off your spool like a spring.

> Not only are the edges of ice sharp, there’s a million things in your ice house, sled and garage that could have grabbed, nicked and weakened your line between [outings].

> Periodically removing some line throughout the season is essential. You don’t have to start from scratch and re-spool mid-season, but you do want to remove sections of line that get a lot of wear and tear. Simply peel off 25-40 yards every few outings and re-tie your baits.

> To prevent line twist when re-spooling, lay your new spool label-side down, run the line through a big book to put little pressure on it, and then reel slowly, making sure the line is coming off the spool in a counter-clockwise direction.


> Lighter line allows you to use way lighter baits more effectively. String ‘gill rods with 2- to 4-lb Sufix Ice Magic mono…it’s way thinner than most other ice monos. Soft/supple and performs really well…also very consistent with great knot strength.
> …special additives prevent water absorption [which] deters ice build-up on your line, guides and spool….sinks fast for a more-natural presentation.
> The VMC Tungsten Fly Jig has been really good for me, but my favorite is the Tungsten Tubby Jig…it’s one of the best baits in the winter…when you get them down to the fish, they eat them.Crappies

> I like to spool crappie rods with 3-lb Sufix InvisiLine Ice Fluoro. The fishability and manageability on the spool is better than we ever had before…it’s made specifically for ice fishing.
> My best crappie baits over the last few years have been VMC Tungsten Tubby Jigs, #3 Rapala Jigging Raps and VMC Flash Champ Spoons…all 3 work pretty much the entire season.

> Sufix InvisiLine Ice Fluoro sinks 4x faster than mono. It allows you to get your lure back down to the fish so much faster when they’re biting — that can make a big difference when you’re in a bit deeper water and a school is on the move.

Crazy THICK 12.5-lb burbot caught!

Now THIS is how ‘pout are supposed to look this time of year! My “burbot brother” and In-Fisherman video magician Christian Hoffman crushed this 12.5-lb grease pig using a 1 1/8-oz Big-Nasty Tackle Trout-N-Pout Spoon in central MN:

There’s something special about that massive chunk o’ spoon — haven’t found anything that beats it for burbs yet. One big reason is how dang bright it is…calls ’em in from a mile.

Don’t take my word — here’s a 20-min time lapse of the Trout-N-Pout Spoon where the thing is still shining. #GlowWars

Each one should probably come with a pair of these special, home-made safety glasses that Christian keeps in his tackle box….

Rapalas catch everything…

Including the occasional Tony Boshold [crying-laughing emoji]:

Heads up Matt Jensen (marketing guru at Rapala): Tony’s going to be asking for a new hoodie and some treble hooks soon-ish lol.

A different kind of spring cleaning.

Not the appropriate response when your wife asks you to load the dishwasher! That or he’s doing ‘bachelor’ right lol:


1. MI: Two rescued from Lake St. Clair.

Guys were in the water for 30-45 minutes before the Coast Guard could pluck ’em out. Terrifying. Glad everyone was okay! A girl on shore had her long-lens with and was able to get some eerie snaps:

2. WI: Teens clean hundreds of fish…

…caught during the Battle on Bago for abuse victims.

> “…students volunteer to clean [a zillion] fish during the 2-day tournament and donate the cleaned fillets to two domestic abuse shelters.” #Stout

3. ND: Red River Valley Sportsmen’s Show, Mar 1-3.

Stop by Lake of the Woods Tourism’s booth for a chance to win a 3-night, 2-day trip to Zippel Bay Resort. Hey Joe — are we allowed to enter? #Dibs

4. OH: Don’t cry over spilled milk dead fish.

> Winter die-offs of fish after long periods of heavy ice and snow cover on small waters are known as ‘winterkills.’ Small numbers of dead fish may be common in ponds and small lakes this spring.

Samesies over in IA.

5. ND: Can still keep bigguns on Devils Lake.

Was some local talk of tightening walleye regs on Devils Lake — mostly ‘cuz house easy it is to crack a limit of bigguns from shore in the spring — but biologists say there’s no need:

> Game and Fish Dept. biologists are confident that the current Devils Lake basin walleye population does not meet the biological criteria that would warrant a maximum length-type-limit to protect fish for spawning.

Place is a walleye factory.

6. Check out Jim Edlund’s ice set-up.

Has an Aqua-Vu Micro plugged straight into the new Raymarine Axiom Pro. Looks pretty filthy:

Let me know when I can come see it in action, man!

7. ND: Permie shacks gotta be off Mar 15.

8. Johnson Outdoors is giving away…

…an Ultrex, Talon, and SOLIX Deets here.

9. Fishing biz folks: ICAST changing the voting process….

…for the New Product Showcase. Vote for “best of category” on day 1, then “best of show” day 2. Also giving away random cash prizes to encourage more to vote.

10. Rapala focusing on ecomm?

Rapala CEO Jussi Ristimäki:

> “The ongoing structural changes in the US retail market had a negative impact on our sales and profitability as consumers are increasingly going online. We are responding to this by making more investments in our digital presence and by increased focus on customers operating online.”

11. Brunswick spinning off its non boat/motor brands…

…into a new public company.

12. DC: Marine companies excluded from ethanol talks.

Tip of the Day

Loop knots can increase the action of panfish jigs.

> I use the Palomar knot about 90% of the time and have never had any issues. It’s simple and cold-finger friendly! More importantly: It’s crazy strong and doesn’t slip. For sure a must-have knot in your arsenal.

> That said, certain tungsten ice jigs seem to work better with a loop knot.

> One of my favorites is called the double surgeon knot. This gives the jig a little more range of motion for swinging, and can help it to sit a bit more horizontally.

> I like the loop to be shorter than the diagram [below] shows — short enough that the hook CAN’T swing up to get caught in the loop and foul itself. Sounds easier than it really is, but practice makes perfect.

Quote of the Day

Off to the land of milk and honey…no wait, that’s jumbo perch and walleyes.

– That’s Ice Force pro Steve Thompson gettin’ antsy for his road trip to Devils Lake, ND. Rightfully so — good luck dude!

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

The Bromeister (Brian Brosdahl) got into some tankeroo perches last week fishing with big 1/4-oz Buck-Shot Flutter Spoons (golden perch) and a *cough* Northland prototype bait *cough* being released at ICAST this summer. Awesome fish and shot:

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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
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