Target Walleye/Ice email

Big hair is back, Use deep cranks shallow, Pike-skin boots

Today’s Top 5

Big hair is back!

Business in the front, party in the back:

Okay that type of hair was more popular in the late ’80s to early ’90s — though some country saangers are bringing it back….

I’m talkin’ the type of walleye fishin’ “hair” that gained popularity in the late ’60s to early ’70s = bucktail jigs. Yup, they still catch fish — really they always have — but people seemed to forget about ’em with the rise of soft plastics. Now diehards are digging ’em back out and learning new ways to fish ’em.

One of those diehards is Al “Needs No Introduction” Lindner. I had the chance to film a TV show with Al last spring…not ashamed to say he whooped my dang butt [!] throwing a then not-yet-released VMC Bucktail Jig — fish were all the right size:

Now I can finally get you a closer look at the new VMC Bucktail Jig Al was using that day and what makes it so special. Here’s a few different colors I already have tied on as part of my starting lineup for the MN walleye opener [heart-eyes emoji]:

Al talks more about it in this full Rapala blog post, but a few excerpts below:

> Al: “The history of anglers catching walleyes on bucktail jigs goes way, way back and there were rows of them in every bait shop…. When soft plastics came on the scene, people got away from bucktail jigs — I did too — but I started fishing them again and I was astounded.

> “In all kinds of conditions and on different kinds of waters, the reaction bite we are getting is amazing. Something erratic that jumps and crashes and falls fast really triggers that reaction bite.

> “The head on it is shaped like a pear…it’s heavily weight-forward…so when you jump it off the bottom and then slack-line it on the fall, it crashes straight down, really fast. It doesn’t jump and glide forward like you see with some other jigs. You snap it, you drop it and it crashes. And that’s what’s triggering the fish to strike.”

Basically Al is fishing ’em the opposite of how most fish the fuzz…he’s snapping ’em like you would a Rapala Jigging Rap, but is able to throw it up where a J-Rap might get snagged or fouled.

> Al: “A big part of the future of walleye fishing in the coming years is going to revolve around bucktail jigs and hair jigs with different types of heads that do different things. The first big move in this area is the VMC Bucktail Jig. I believe we are really going to see a resurgence with this for walleyes.”

The 1/4-oz size is my favorite for snap jigging in say 7-14′. Would bump up to a 3/8-oz if primarily fishing deeper — or adding plastic — to get the same drop/crash rate for triggering bites.

Speaking of hair…

Donovan Aucoin’s making his own hair baits:

Try explaining to the boss why you were late for work that day lol.

Troll shallow sand with deep-diving cranks?

Flat-calm days + shallow sand flats = trolling crankbaits?? Sounds goofy, but it puts a ton of ‘eyes in Jason Mitchell’s boat each spring — especially on Devils Lake, ND. He uses Off Shore Tackle Planer Boards to get his cranks out away from the boat, to keep from spooking those shallow fish. More deets:

> It’s a great way to catch these fish during tougher bites when pitching jigs or slip-bobbers aren’t working, and you’ve gotta cover a little bit of water — when fish are scattered out but holding at specific depths.

> All about finding the warmer water temps. When the sun comes out and the water temperature spikes…that’s when the fish really pile up on these types of spots. Unstable weather or crashing water temps and you’ll struggle.

> Clearer the water, the farther you need to send the boards out — especially in spring. Later in the summer you can get away with a lot more as far as running the boat right over the top of the fish.

> We run deep-divers on a short amount of line — even in shallow water. The bigger profile runs nose down and tail up, and can catch a lot more fish than traditional shallow-running baits that run more horizontal.

One of Jason’s favorite baits for this technique is the Salmo Bullhead SDR (Super Deep Runner):

Lots more info and fish catches in J-Mitch’s vid here:

Spring cleaning when you’re a walleye-nut.

TW fan Tim Ktytor’s getting some spring cleaning done at his Lake Sakakawea cabin:

Safe to say Tim’s probably caught a few fish on the #11 Original Floating Rapala — your secret’s out, man!

Wonder if he switches it to a #9 Rapala Jigging Rap during fall cleanup?

Would you wear these pike-skin boots?

Solid April Fools joke pulled off by TW fan Brent Meyers.


1. WI: May/Bootz win AIM Fox River event.

Sam May and Matt Bootz brought in 40.62 lbs [!] to take home a $9K payday. Caught ’em banging bottom with Rapala Shad Raps and #7 Storm Smash Shads near the dam. Congrats!

2. NWT pro Dylan Nussbaum gets Rapala.

Know Dylan’s been fishing with Rapala baits long before they were ever a sponsor of his — he actually used ’em in several big wins last season. Congrats to both!

3. MB: Fishing license sales up 13%.

Like Hooked Magazine editor Don Lamont said, “Fishing is cool again!”

> The department expects the final tally on license sales for 2018 will break the 190K mark for the 4th year in a row.

Would love to see the breakdown of non-resident vs resident licenses sold, ‘cuz a whoooole lot of U.S. folks (me included) love driving north for the maple syrup freakishly-big fish.

4. MN: Silver carp found in St. Croix River.

Caught by a commercial fisher. The good news: “There was 1 invasive carp out of the hundreds of fish handled in the haul.” No breeding populations have been detected in MN waters yet….

5. Do-It Molds has smaller sizes…

…in their new Freestyle Jig mold. Has 6 cavities (1/32, 1/16, 3/32, 1/8, 5/32, 3/16) that allow bigger hooks with smaller heads.

Why that matters?

> Forrest Leitch: “I absolutely love pitching big minnows on a 1/16-oz jig in the spring time and swimming it over scattered cabbage…but it can be tough to find a jig on the market that light with a hook big enough for leaning into an angry post-spawn 28-incher.”

If your a hands-on kind of guy (or gal!) you’ll for sure wanna check out Do-It Molds — they’ve got all the goods to pour your own jigheads, soft-plastics and create your own baits. Awesome way to kill time waiting for ice-out.

6. Looking for Midwest fishing reports?

The crew from AMSOIL is kicking out a ton of current videos — all in one spot. The newest Midwest Fishing Reports are out now:

8. Mission Tackle Walleye Slayer Jigs on sale.Have ’em 25% off. Diggin’ their “flash-foil finish” and stout hooks:

Sounds far from relaxing.

> “They are highly susceptible to fluctuations in water temperature that occur in the winter and are easily killed when this happens.”

Yup, GA = Georgia. Believe it’s the southernmost point of walleye’s range:

> “In 2002, GA DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division launched a walleye stocking program that produces nearly 600K fingerlings each year….”

Tip of the Day

Ever try pulling Lindy Rigs at 1.5-2.0 mph? Not spinners…Lindy Rigs (plain hook with a minnow, ‘crawler or leech) behind a big 1.5- to 3-oz bottom-bouncer.

Something Jon Thelen does to cover water for spring reservoir walleyes when others are crawling along at just 0.5-0.8 mph. Says those fish are river fish at heart and moving with the current, so they’re used to chasing down bait:

Meme of the Day

Been a weird spring…hang in there:

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Central MN guide Matt Klug getting his Blackfish on in some freakin’ nasty conditions! Had 25-35 mph winds — with blowing snow and sleet — but the fish were still biting! #Diehard

Matt’s rockin’ the “black/slate blue” Blackfish Apogee Thermal Soft-Shell — has “Air-Trap Technology [that] uses pockets of air to retain your body heat.”

Remember back in the day when air-trap technology meant passing…ugh…flatulence in your waders? Lol.

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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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