Target Walleye/Ice email

Giant walleye caught, Flat Jig wins Champions Tour, Walleyes move upwind

Today’s Top 5

Rapala Flat Jig wins artificial-only Champions Tour!

And you’ll never believe (okay maybe you will) who took home the ‘dubyah’…again…. #RealNameNoGimmicks

20 year-old fish-head Dylan Nussbaum won the first ever MLF format (catch, record, release) artificial-only walleye tourney on Mille Lacs with 67-15 on 26 fish (that’s a 2-10 avg). Note: He’s from PA and has never fished Mille Lacs before…!

Here’s a face you better get used to seeing — also a photo summary of what it feels like chatting with Al Lindner (right) a few minutes before winning $10K:

Dylan caught ’em fishing a #6 “flake parrot” Rapala Flat Jig in 10′ on small gravel humps — with scattered weeds on top — where walleyes were feeding on perch:

That #6 Flat Jig weighs 1 3/16 oz [!] — runs 80% heavier than similar-length Jigging Raps — making it THE option for heavy current or ultra-deep water…. So WTHeck was Dylan doin’ using it on shallow 7-10′ gravel?!

Said running big, heavy baits up shallow is something they do a ton back home in PA.

Was watching him fish the bait and noticed he paused a bit longer between snaps than what would be considered “normal.” Me being a fish-nerd, timed his rips and had 1.6-2.0 seconds between (most) snaps.

That Rapala Flat Jig is way less “darty” than a Jigging Rap, and instead glides 4-8′ out to the sides — the longer pause lets it shoot out farther. It’s a little different look than most hard-bodied jigging baits, and one that obviously works…!

I hopped in Dylan’s Lund 2075 Pro-V after the tourney and got a recap of his day:

Sure we’ll be seeing you again soon — congrats dude!

Reminder: MLF format = every fish over 1 lb counts, catch weigh release, most weight wins.

Drake Herd “sharpshoots” his way to 2nd place.

Drake Herd made a HUGE comeback in the second half of the MLF-format walleye Champions Tour…landing just 5 oz outta 1st place! Guy was a freakin’ machine — every time I’d refresh the ScoreTracker Live app, he’d have another fish (or 2) plugged in. Don’t think he stopped to take a breath until he was back on the dock:

Caught ’em “sharpshooting” a custom-painted #9 Rapala Jigging Rap on 6-lb fluoro. Basically ran his big 250-hp tiller the entire day — driving around at 2.5-3.0 mph graphing fish in the rocks — would pitch to ’em and jig 3-4 times before moving on:

Was a “perch” color Jigging Rap custom painted by Drake’s company Renegade Outdoor Innovations. Thing looks filthy:

Let me know if you’ve got a few extra laying around, man. 😉

Full results from the Champions Tour walleye event here on

Few other interesting things ’bout the Champions Tour.

Guys fish solo — other than an official riding along to weigh/record each catch — which makes landing fish interesting. Can use nets, but once the fish is out of the net it can’t touch anything in the boat (floor, windshield, etc) else they get a 2-minute penalty…meaning they aren’t allowed to do anything for 2 minutes.

Robert Cardenas “successfully” solo-landed a 5-lber…didn’t cost him any time, but did cost him a rod. #WorthIt?

Couple other things that = 2-min penalty:

> Fish must be released below the gunnel/side of the boat — no “throwing” them back. Felt a tiny-bit bad for the guy fishin’ outta a bass boat lol.

> Littering. Of course garbage but also baits. If you cast out and lose the bait, it’s a 2-min penalty…even if you break off on a fish. #DoubleOuch

Here’s walleye pro Mark Courts’s take on MLF-format tourneys finally coming to the walleye world:

This format is far from relaxing, but the most fun I’ve ever had…both fishing in ’em or even just following along from home.

Al Lindner and I didn’t fish this event, but were able to sneak in a few hooksets — between interviewing guys — like this 28″ mud melon that T-boned a #9 “parrot” color Rapala Jigging Rap:

Classic Bass dropped a tentative schedule for next year (at the rules meeting) including 5 regular-season walleye events and a year-end championship. Was going to leak it here, but figured I’d better get their blessing first in case it’s top secret….

Massive 34.5″ walleye caught!

One of the longest walleye I’ve ever seen — especially with video evidence — was plucked outta the South Saskatchewan River by TW fan Dustin Garthus. Went a staggering 34.5″ (12 lb 3 oz) and was caught working a point in 20-25′ with a #7 Rapala Jigging Rap. #MicDrop

Congrats dude! Few things I noticed in the pic:

> That walleye looks like a dang oak tree!!

> Dustin’s sneakin’ around making his own maps with AutoChart Live.

> He rocks the ‘stache better than you or I ever could…dare say the walleye-version of Seth Feider?

> Got his good-luck Target Walleye Ice Blue Hoodie on, which is marked down to just $20 ’til they’re gone — makin’ room for the new stuff!

Will have more outrageously-big walleyes from Dustin in Friday’s TW email.

“Once we burned through 8 dozen minnows we caught them on plastic just fine!”

– That’s Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson talking ’bout why his hands probably look like this at the end of each fishin’ day:

Gussy’s been absolutely whackin’ ’em on Lake of the Woods in between bass tourneys — both guiding and fun fishing:

> Gussy: “…75-100 fish days are pretty easy with plenty of eaters and several big fish mixed in each day…it’s a fun place to be! The weather’s starting to turn so the Simms gear really starts to shine here in ON’s Sunset Country.”

> “If you run out of minnows, want to target bigger fish, or simply don’t want to use live bait…a 3/8-oz Northland Thumper Jig and Impulse Smelt Minnow will catch ’em.”

How many you think he stuck on this one?

No doubt they’re on the chew when you’ve gotta 26″ walleye puking up an 11″ burbot [shocked emoji]:

Even stuck a chunk on a Shane’s Baits umbrella rig (check your local regs!):

Love when bassin’ techniques cross over to the walleye world. Keep after ’em dude!


Back with the regular news section on Friday!

Tip of the Day

> …the larger bars with immediate access into both deep water and shoreline flats are prime locations. The huge flats associated with these structures have room for lots of fish to spread out while they roam around looking for easy feeding opportunities.

> …always a few “false starts” in the early fall where it begins to look like the shallow-water fall patterns have begun and then, without warning, the fish move back out to the main lake.

> In the shallows…when the wind blows, we concentrate on the shallow breaklines, paying particular attention to weedbeds and areas of rocks and gravel. Wind speed and direction are equally important, and I tend to favor areas where the wind is moving parallel or slightly into the shoreline.

> …Fish will usually travel moving into the current that’s generated by waves. So if the wind blows from the same direction for a sustained period, you should be expecting fish to move slowly ahead into the current…stop to feed as they encounter pockets of baitfish that gather on points, inside turns or in weedbeds.

> Always check locations further up wind before you leave the area. Over the course of a few days, [schools] of fish can assemble up current from where the original school of fish was located.

> …We’ll sometimes troll the crankbaits as a way to locate fish. Once we find them, we’ll work the area more thoroughly with the jigs. Trolling speed for most of the crankbaits is between 2.5-3.5 mph and we try to stay very close or even slightly into the weeds.

> When we fish jigs or live-bait rigs in the shallows, it’s important to check all of the angles. Fish the inside and outside edges of weedbeds, and occasionally check the flats just outside the deeper weed edges.

> Calmer days in this early-fall period generally call for fishing the deeper structures…in the deepest heaviest weeds, further out on the flats, or on main-lake bars that connect to shoreline structure.

Full Jeff Sundin write-up here.

Meme of the Day

Warning: You are now entering arguably the best fishing of the season:

*and women of course!

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

IG user @aliengiirl with a thick Manitoba greenback ghostback:

Sign up another fish-head!

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