Target Walleye/Ice email

Walleyes eat the darndest things, Top jigging baits, Power fish bottom-bouncers

Today’s Top 5

How Sprengel and Parsons power-fish with bottom-bouncers.

A lot of guys/gals sloooowly pull live-bait rigs this time of year, but tourney champs Gary Parsons and Korey Sprengel like bottom-bouncing up to 1.2+ mph to cover water fast and put more fish in the boat.

They use Slow Death (left) and Super Slow Death Hooks (right) that have a special bend in the shank to get nightcrawlers spinning — which walleyes can’t resist when bug hatches are happenin’:

Super Slow Death Hooks (right) have a more-aggressive bend that works better with plastics like Gulp! Nightcrawlers. Gary threads the crawler all the way up the hook so the head actually slides up over the knot and the tail kicks out at a 45-degree angle.

Here’s the duo putting the technique to work on MN’s Leech Lake, where they’re keying in on rock-to-sand transitions…aka walleye highways:

Lots of different options out there nowadays for hooks that are specifically designed to spin a ‘crawler or plastic. Here’s a few new-ish ones that caught my eye and what makes each of ’em different:

Biggest thing that stands out to me is that bait keeper waaaay up top. Important ‘cuz keeping the bait pinned, and not slid down, is key to getting the best twirl…especially with plastics.

Spinning is the name of the game, ‘less we’re talking about your line! This bugger has a built-in stainless steel swivel so you get to spend less time retying, and more time fishing.

Believe this hook was new this spring. Know a lot of guys/gals switched over to it RIGHT away simply ‘cuz TroKar are surgically sharpened = turning more bites into hookups. The 3-sided point is supposed to penetrate twice as fast as others.

Hawgbellies of the week!

Erik Osberg of The Outdoor Report went out for a moonlight stroll with a “slick purple bengal” #7 Berkley Flicker Shad and found the bigger fish trolling through good cabbage out in 14-15′. Like Erik says, “It’s not about having time…it’s about making time!” #NailedIt

Danny “catch ’em all” Thompson has been power-bobbering with Garmin LiveScope…calling shots on specific fish he can pick out far away from the boat. My guess is that’s a technique you’ll be hearing a lot more about in the future, but for now peeps are pretty tight-lipped:

Levi Leary caught himself a 28.75″ hawgbelly outta Slave Lake, Albert-ugh the day before a tourney [heart-break emoji]. Believe that’s a “black stripes on gold foil” Bagley Minnow B that slapped her ‘cross the side of the face:

Top 10 hard-bodied jigging baits.

The ultimate reaction bite — and one of the most enjoyable ways to catch a walleye — is snappin’ a hard-bodied jigging bait and letting it crash back down into bottom. Tough to beat when it comes to putting kicker fish in the boat! #Bigguns

Click the pic for the full write-up talkin’ some of our favorites, and more importantly, what makes each one unique:

Walleyes eat the darndest things.

Marc Tremblay (@wallyfishing_marc) started out chasing St. Lawrence River pike way up in flooded timber, and stumbled into an incredible walleye bite knocking a Yo-Zuri 3DB Knuckle Bait off wood:

Seen lots of ‘eyes caught while bass fishing, but not usually on a wacky-rigged stick bait. @fishseaguar shot:

Walleyes love them some Freedom Tackle Minnow Spoons on ice! It’s almost like a jerkbait + rattlebait + jigging spoon + blade bait…all wrapped into one fish-sexxy package. The “darndest” part comes since I haven’t seen ’em used much during the open-water season? Cameron Tait (@tait.cameron) don’t care:

@caiti_shae switched gears for bass and ended up sticking this 28″ walter throwing a Strike King 6XD (bass-style crank) at an 11′ rockpile:

Thought the paint was chipping on that cowling ^ but just a cool reflection — heck of a wax job!

“All I can think about is catching the fish that thought my PB walleye looked like a nice snack!”

– That’s Dan Card (@fishhunter_mb) talkin’ about how ridiculously big a fish would have to be to take a swipe at this portly Manitoba greenback:

They grow ’em BIG in Manitoba! I’m starting to think that’s where those old-school head mounts originated…since half the fish goes missing on the way in. #Jaws


1. MN: Twice any people fished Mille Lacs this May…

…than the year before. DNR believes it’s ‘cuz they allowed 1 keeper if the fish was 21-23″ or longer than 28″.

> …the number of walleyes harvested throughout the duration of the special season was just under 4,000 fish and met expectations. That means “chances are decent” that Mille Lacs will be open to catch-and-release walleye fishing without closure for the rest of the summer.

2. ND: Fishing/hunting account for $2.1 BILLION…

…in total economic impact. Mind-blowing number right there. Write-up said:

> “Direct spending on hunting and fishing increased $267.3 mil (38%) from 2011-2012 to 2017-2018. I fully thought that the economic impact would rise — just not to that extent….”

3. Fishing Careers Workshop is back.

Breaking into the fishing biz isn’t something that happens overnight, but it is something that can happen! Learn how from a stacked lineup at this awesome 1-day event happenin’ Oct 26 near Elk River, MN:

4. 2018 NWT Championship video is out now…

…from Lake of the Woods. The entire tourney was filmed for TV, but they just posted the links to view the episodes here.

5. ON: Gillis/Fryklund win Dryden’s Walleye Masters.

6. Salmo has soft plastics comin’.

Will have a better look at ’em come ICAST, but they dropped a teaser vid on their FB page:

7. DC: Industry asks President to exempt fishing tackle…

…from the whole China trade war tariff deal.

8. New Water Puppet color.

From Someday Isle Tackle. Called “migraine” which almost makes me feel bad for the fishes…almost. Has an Owner needle point hook and super-glow paint:

9. Merc has a new 450 Racing engine?!

So aggressive:

> …4.6 liter V8. A 2.4-liter belt-driven twin-screw supercharger delivers pressure charging with zero lag for instant throttle response. The supercharger is water-cooled to reduce the temperature of the intake charge and increase power. Twin charge-air coolers…reduce the temperature of the compressed intake charge to further increase air density and power output.

10. MN: 2 new state-record fish certified.

A 13-lb 9-oz whitefish Billy King plucked outta Lake of the Woods back in April, and a 4-lb 13-oz golden redhorse caught in March by Ethan Rasset, who beat his own state record.

11. This SIMMS vid gives me goosebumps…

…in a really good, fishy way. For sure worth a watch. #FishItWell

12. KastKing’s got new budget-friendlier rods + combos.

13. MN: 4 invasive carp confirmed…

…over the past few weeks. A bighead carp and 3 silver carp:

> The bighead carp was captured at the Xcel Energy King Power Plant in Oak Park Heights. All of the silver carp were in Pool 4 of the Mississippi River between Red Wing and Wabasha….

But also said that “individual adult fish captures do not indicate reproduction or an established population of invasive carp…”

14. DC: New anti-grass carp bill in Congress.

> …would add $500,000 to efforts preventing the spread of grass carp into the Great Lakes has passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

15. CO has a new fishin’ app.

16. The newest Midwest (video) fishing reports…

…from the AMSOIL crew are out now.

17. Enter to win this red/white/blue Rapala stuff.

Rapala giveaway. Get yer ‘Merica on:

Headline of the Day

I’ve gone a little nutty over a species of fish and it sure is fun.

Chris Ellis talkin’ about how his love for smallmouths is being put on the back-burner…he’s been fallin’ head over heels for walleye fishing ‘cuz they’re actually a challenge to catch.

Okay, I made that last little part up lol…but there is something special about cracking the code that is walleye fishing.

Updatin’ Ya

I mentioned last week that the IA DNR was planning to kill off gizzard shads in Sugema this fall ‘cuz:

> Growing gizzard shad populations have reduced game fish populations, decreased water quality and limited fishing activity.”

My comment was that: “I know zilch about gizzard shads, but would’ve thought they’d make fish fat ‘n happy?”

Got a cool message from Daryl Bauer, the fisheries outreach program manager with NE Game & Parks Commission, who knows a whoooole lot more ’bout the topic than I ever will. Check it:

> Daryl: I’m not in IA, but we’ve done similar partial renovations here in NE to remove gizzard shad. You’re correct, gizzard shad are an abundant baitfish that can make for some very “fat’ n happy” predator fish, including walleyes. In large bodies of water, they’re a beneficial baitfish. However, the problem with gizzard shad is that they also compete with other small fish, including small, young game fish.

> In smaller bodies of water — fisheries where panfish and largemouth bass thrive — gizzard shad are detrimental because they compete with bluegills, crappies and even small, young bass. By eliminating or drastically reducing gizzard shad in those waters, growth and production of panfish and bass will improve dramatically and so will the fishing!

> So, it all depends…depends on the habitat, depends on the species that are present, depends on the management objectives. In large reservoirs, gizzard shad are great, but in smaller waters, “shad is bad.”

Now you (we) know — thx much, Daryl!

Tip of the Day

Beef up your “power-bobbering” setup.

So you can drop down on their heads that much quicker. If they don’t bite within about 1 minute, full-time guide Tom Boley keeps moving:

Meme of the Day

It’s wedding season. Don’t be blinded by love during the engagement lol:

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

The shortest distance between point A and point B is holding on to your dang hat (lol) when you’re in Brad Hawthorne’s Lund 2025 Impact with a 200-HP Merc Pro XS. #Braaaap

Pretty sure the sound of that motor starting could scare the lighting back into those clouds….

Parting Shot

Love this finned-out Jake Billings (@jake.billings.587) shot. Hope you get to see a whole bunch of the same this weekend:

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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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