Biggest Erie walleye, Walleye plastics on ice, Smallest augers ever

Today’s Top 5

Have you a look at a $100K walleye!!!

First off gotta mention that some funny business allegedly went down during the Lake Erie Fall Brawl…seems like 2 of the fishermen in the top 5 (including 1st) were DQd after a polygraph test.

So…James Atkinson Jr’s 12.395-lber (31.5″) got bumped up into the top spot — caught it with just 2 days left in the Brawl — winning himself a brand spankin’ new $100K Warrior Boat that was all sorts of decked-out! Insane fish:

James caught the freak o’ nature on a lure he custom-painted the day before he caught that fish. Here’s a look at ‘er before all the toothmarks:

Believe he’s a Target Walleye reader? If so, here’s a few names you might wanna consider for that color, man:

  • Brick
  • Payday
  • Brawler
  • Cha-Ching
  • Benji

…or something along those lines lol.

BIG congrats dude!!!

Did you know 3″ augers were a thing?

Came across this 4″ RAZR Scout at the ice show and had to do a double-take:

Apparently there’s 3″ models [!] floating around out there too! Guess the ice-tourney guys/gals go nutso over ’em ‘cuz:

1) They use ’em for prefishing so others can’t see where they’re drilling.

2) Holes are just big enough to sneak an underwater camera down, which is how the majority of those diehards prefish…never drop a line!

3) You can of course drill a zillion holes on 1 battery.

More on all that coming up later….

Ever try ice fishing ‘eyes with plastics??

I know a lot of people have (finally) been playing ’round with plastics while ice fishing for panfish, but they can work just as good-er for walleyes….

Walters typically come through in small pods, so lot of times you can boost the number of fish you catch simply by being able to instantly drop back down on ’em…instead of dinking around with live bait.

Of course I wouldn’t mess with it on an “off” bite, but can work awesome when fishing jigging spoons more aggressively — constantly keeping ’em moving.

The particular combo below is an Impulse Minnow Head threaded onto the hook shank of a 3/8-oz “red dot glow” PK Spoon:

Pull the treble hook off and thread the shank through the middle of the Impulse Minnow Head, so the hook eye just pokes through the top. You can fish all day with this setup since the fish can’t pull the threaded minnow head off.

Recommend pre-rigging several different spoons from the comfort of your kitchen table ‘cuz split-rings and cold fingers don’t mix.

Or maybe get a Northland Minnow Head Hook so you don’t run out of Band-Aids — also helps keep the swinging motion of the hook since the plastic can’t cover up the split-ring to restrict that motion:

Give plastics a shot the next time you’re on a decent bite. The best way to boost your confidence using the “fake” stuff is when you’re already on fish….

Quick ice tip: Cold-front walleyes.

Here in MN we usually get one major cold snap — with single-digit temps — that finally locks the lakes up with fishable ice. No doubt you’ll be rarin’ to get out there, but the fish could be sluggish after that first nasty front of the season.

Gotta slow down: Not necessarily how you’re jigging — try slowing down the action of the bait. Deadsticks and sloooow, buttery-fluttery spoons work great when things get frigid.

One of those sticks o’ butter is the Lindy Quiver Spoon ‘cuz it’s made out of tin [!] and flutters back down really slow — looks like an easy meal for Mr. Walter. #Works

“When they said they were biting close to the bank…I don’t think this is what they meant!”

– Hilarious caption from this Eskimo spotted on the Midwest Angler FB page:

Pretty good place to look for a “greenback” lol.

News

1. MN: Women Ice Angler Project headed to Minnetonka.

This is a women’s ice fishing group that’s met up on a different lake to fish every winter since 2015. Started as a one-time media event to create positive images of women ice fishing independently.

> Barb Carey: “Because I see how women’s lives are changed…see how all of a sudden they’re backing their boat in, they’re going fishing, they have confidence and pride in doing things they never thought they could do.”

Thanks for all you do to help grow the industry, Barb!

This year the ladies will be staying on the ice for 5 days straight [!] fishing out of and sleeping in Clam X-600 Thermal Hub shacks. Doable ‘cuz those hubs give you the option to add a removable floor = no more cold feet, or having to steal those foam floor mats from your kid’s daycare (lol). Super cool idea:

2. Berkley expanding its contingency program for 2020.

Will include 30+ walleye tourneys (AIM, MWC, and MT Walleye Circuit). Chance to win extra cash for using baits you’re probably already using.

3. #Digital drove solid Q4 for Johnson Outdoors.

Johnson Outdoors (owns Humminbird and Minn Kota) had a 14% increase in sales for Q4. Fishing biz folks might wanna pay attention to this quote:

> “In our North American business, gains were driven by emphasis on digital marketing, resulting in positive trends in retail and e-commerce sales.”

4. MN’s launching an Outdoor Recreation Task Force.Might have something to do with the fact that outdoor activities make up a big chunk of the $15.3 billion tourism economy in Minnie:

> “The group will make recommendations about how MN can connect more people to the health and wellness benefits of outdoor recreation, improve equitable access to outdoor recreation, and better support the state’s thriving outdoor recreation economy.”

Other states are doin’ it too:

> “…16 states have created offices or commissions on outdoor recreation as a way to collaborate across agency and organizational boundaries to expand the benefits of outdoor recreation for the economy, environmental stewardship, and quality of life.”

5. WY Game and Fish wants to get rid of small lake trout.

In Flaming Gorge Rez. Currently have the highest-ever-documented amount of lakers under 28″ and say:

> “…their high-numbers are taxing their own food supply resulting in slower growth during the years lake trout should be growing quickly. If a population becomes too large for their environment, growth rates decrease and prey resources become limited.”

This is the same fishery where they’re trying to wipe out burbot ‘cuz it’s an “invasive species and voracious predator that eats sport fish that would otherwise be available for anglers to catch.”

6. AIM gets Berkley.

Newest sponsor of the catch-record-release tourney series that’s taking off like [fire emoji].

7. Lund has new Pro Guide models.

Pumped to hear they now have 1675 and 1775 Pro Guides. #TillerLife

> “…twin-plated bow for added durability in rough waters and Lund’s patented IPS Hull for the ultimate in performance. The reverse chines on the outside edge and pronounced center keel deliver precise boat control while the flat center pad provides for blazing hole shot and maximum engine performance.”

Also pretty cool to hear that Lund product manager Rory Wiebe runs a tiller:

> “…allows precise control so they can perfectly stay on their desired spot and ultimately catch more fish. Even when your battling the wind, you can make precise adjustments quickly to counter the wind and waves to stay on the fish, plus, the wide-open layout allows for completely free range of movement throughout the boat without anything getting in the way for your yourself or other anglers. It’s truly the ultimate fishing machine.”

8. MotorGuide part of Brunswick’s new Advanced Systems Group.

9. MN: $150K ice-fishing extravaganza happenin’ Jan 25.

On Gull Lake in Nisswa. Can expect 10,000+ people to fish for a chance at the $150K in prizes. Heck of a time if you’re into this kind of thing:

10. Lure Lock partners with NPAA.

11. SC: Boat registration changing to every year.

Instead of every 3 years. Will now be paid on the boat owner’s county property tax bill like they apparently do for cars already.

All items are 20% off [!] thru Dec 23 with code HOLIDAY at checkout:

We’re getting more stuff back in stock every day — including those hoodies you keep asking about! — so keep hitting back if you’re waiting on a piece….

Fishin’ Vlog of the Day

When fishing YouTuber Jay Siemens does it, he does it big. And this vid from hitting Lake Manitoba’s southern basin is no different.

Heard from locals the lake had fallen off the fishin’ map years ago as its walleye and perch populations crashed? I don’t know much about the history of the fishery, but can tell you this: There’s a pile of fatties in there RIGHT NOW:

Few TargetWalleye.com Highlights

Tip of the Day

Are you letting your jigging spoon sit too long?

Bringing back this solid write-up from Jason Mitchell:

> “One of the most common mistakes anglers make is letting the lure settle too much between strokes. The longer the lure hangs, the more the lure turns.

> “On the next stroke, the lure comes off a different direction and this direction is unpredictable. One second the lure is 6” in front of the fish and then the lure shoots towards the fish disappearing…game over.

> “Remember that walleyes don’t back up that well and they need room to turn around, this is why staying in front of the fish is so crucial.

> “Don’t let the lure settle at the bottom of the jig stroke. Start your up stroke before the lure settles so that the lure dances and the cadence and direction of the dart or swing becomes locked into one direction and becomes predictable. The target becomes much easier for fish to hit.

> “The moves that pull fish into the cone angle from 20′ away often have to change as a fish gets close. This understanding of how to use tempo and cadence to find fish while reading your electronics to trigger fish will help you catch a lot more walleyes this winter.”

You can keep reading Jason’s walleye-infested article by clicking here.

Quote of the Day

“I’ve had so much fun fishing — and making a living fishing — that it didn’t even bother me that much when doctors told me I had 18-24 months to live.”

– That’s Tommy Skarlis talkin’ during a recent seminar at Hank’s Live Bait and Tackle in Waterloo, IA. Came across the quote in this awesome write-up about Tommy that’s for sure worth a read.

Keep doing you, man, and bless you!

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Marc Tremblay (@wallyfishing_marc) has already been putting the new Yo-Zuri Rattl’N Vibe Mini to work on the hardwater:

Can’t freakin’ wait to try that “UV matte zombi” color!!

Sign up another fish-head!

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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 brett@targetwalleye.com
To send us walleye pics, ice shots or whatever, just respond to this email or click here to email us. Or post it on the Target Walleye Facebook page.

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