Target Walleye/Ice email

Hoyer wins it all, High speed Side Imaging, Big minnow SZN

The best walleye and ice fishing pics, tips, gear hacks, and news year round
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Today’s Top 5

John Hoyer wins it ALL. 🏆

Fish-head John Hoyer is gettin’ pretty dang good at hoisting up oversized checks…. This time he got ‘er done – again – at the biggest stage in walleye fishing: The National Walleye Tour Championship on Devils Lake, ND. He brought home the ‘dubyah’ with a 3-day bag of 93.06 lbs (15 fish) while also securing the AOY title = landing an unbelievable $202,790 payday! #ChaChing

Here’s some info on his winning baits from this press release:


> He rotated through three presentations dictated by the mood of the fish and changing conditions – a 3.8” PowerBait The Champ Swimmer (fire perch) on a 1/2-oz Fusion19 Swimbait Jighead and a 3.5” Berkley Power Switch (firetiger) mainly, and a 1/4-oz jig with a nightcrawler when the fishing got tough.

> “For the Champ Swimmer, I used a 7-foot medium-heavy Fenwick World Class Rod and Abu Garcia MGX 30 reel with 10-lb Berkley Fireline in Flame Green to a 15-lb Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon leader.


> “For the Power Switch, I used a medium-fast action Fenwick World Class rod, the same Abu Garcia MGX 30 reel and 10-lb Fireline flame green with a 12-lb leader.


> “Finally, my bigger fish came on the nightcrawler rig with a medium-fast Fenwick World Class rod with a 10-lb fluorocarbon leader.”


I will hit ya with more specific details on his win soon-ish.


Btw I heard after the win, Hoyer was spotted walking into the local sushi stop all like:

😅 Congrats man!

High speed Side Imaging?! 🧐

We’ve shared videos in here before on how folks do high-speed graphing with traditional 2D sonar to cover tons of water and literally find fish while on plane. But this is the first time I’ve ever heard of anyone being able to do high-speed graphing with Side Imaging….


You’re not going to graph fish doing this, but Jamie Bruce says he is able to find structure, hard-to-soft bottom transitions, etc while running over 40 mph! 😦 And he has the video to prove it.


Full rundown of his setup (transducer placement, settings, power considerations, and everything else) posted on his YouTube channel:

Your unit might already be able to do this the way it’s currently set up…but have you looked to see? ‘Cuz I’m realizing I haven’t even tried it despite being someone who does occasionally graph at 18-22 mph with my 2D sonar….

It’s big minnow SZN!

I bring back this OG write-up each fall back because the best chubbin’ bite is coming soon and I want you to be prepared – it’s exactly how a bunch of fall derbies are going to be won from here on out. Full post here, few quickie excerpts below:


> “You can catch fish all year doing this, but I really get excited for the big-minnow bite once the water has cooled down to 62 degrees…ideally 58-60. It stays good until temps hit 45 or so…after that the fish have already fed heavy for a couple of weeks and are now transitioning to winter patterns. You can still catch ’em, just not nearly as many.


> “Many weeds start to die off when the water temps drop below 68 degrees. That’s why you’ll notice piles of weeds floating around out there. A lot of the baitfish have pulled out of those dying weeds and are now schooled up in open water. The wind positions the baitfish on structure and the fish follow.


> “Pay attention to which direction the wind has been blowing from in the days leading up to your trip. Even fishing in deep water such as 35-50′ the fish will still typically be stacked on the windblown sides of underwater points, bars and breaks.”

> “Walleye prefer a larger minnow in the fall when the water temps are on the drop. It’s the 4-7″ redtails and creek chubs that seem to work best most days, but sometimes even bigger.


> “Why creek chubs and redtails? Because they’re hardy minnows that will often swim right along with the boat. There’s times you’ll actually feel them ‘getting excited’ down there the moment before a walleye smacks them.


> “You can catch the occasional fish on a sucker minnow, but they’re usually too lethargic for this technique and will end up being drug behind the boat [versus lively darting from side to side.]


> “I run a 1/2- to 1-oz egg sinker depending on minnow size, wind and depth. The 3/4-oz seems to be good all around, but I bump up to a 1-oz anytime I’m fishing 30′ or deeper. The bigger sinker also helps to anchor that minnow and keep it in the strike zone.”

> “Egg sinkers because they’re super dense for their size and work perfect for this application. I’m not dragging them on bottom, I’m trying to fish the sinker like a jig – keeping it 6-18″ off bottom and as vertical as possible. Occasionally drop it down to tap bottom and raise it back up.


> “Trolling between 0.3-0.8 mph covers most scenarios for pulling big minnows in the fall. When it’s calmer I’ll start off on the slow end of that to stay right over the tops of fish. If the wind is blowing there will be a current that seems to get everything moving down there [on the bottom] – that’s when I’ll pick up the speed.”


Keep reading here.

Ever try tail-hooking your redtails or creek chubs???

There’s a TON of technique variations when it comes to rigging big minnows – you can make it as simple or difficult as you want. One of the tweaks is tail-hooking your chubs to get more action out of ’em, which seems to work especially well on calmer, sunshiny days…or really any time you’re getting turned down by multiple marks on the graph.


The tail-hooking trick has been around as long as folks have been soaking big minnows, but a lot of diehard tourney nuts are hesitant to talk about it…. Seems like the perfect reason to “out” it to the rest of us fish-heads. 😏

Here’s some important things to keep in mind from big-chubber Travis Sorokie:


> “Tends to work best when sitting right on top of fish or barely crawling along…otherwise the chubs will die more quickly from being pulled backwards.


> “I like tail-hooking chubs with a longer 5-7′ leader when the fish are a little more aggressive and feeding. The minnows struggle so much more when you tail hook ’em – can actually feel that redtail get nervous and try to get away when a fish is near.


> “That’s when I’ll sometimes open my bail up and let the minnow go for 10 seconds…stop the line with my finger to feel if a walleye picked it up…lot of times they’ll chase the minnow down and smoke it.


> “Also find I have a better hook-up ratio when tail-hooking big minnows. Fish are gonna hit the chubs head first…so that hook is already in a good position to hook the fish in the top of the mouth…don’t need to let them take it as long when setting the hook.”


If you visual learners want some more specifics on the tail-hooking trick, I talked about it in this video breakdown of my complete fall chubbin’ program:

***Disclaimer: While pulling chubs by their tails could potentially save your fishing day…recent studies have shown that pulling other variations of tails are likely to be bad for your overall health, and may lead to painful and embarrassing side effects. Please use this trick in moderation and when in doubt, consult your local Target Walleye for safer alternatives.


Mono vs braid: Rigging BIG chubs for fall walleyes.

A lot of folks hopped on the braided-line bandwagon and never left…BUT there’s times when mono can out-produce, out-catch and out-kick braid’s butt (lol).

Here’s tourney-nut Jake Caughey talkin’ why he runs mono when soaking big redtails and creek chubs for fall walleyes:


1. Apparently the NWT dished-out fines and penalties…


…to multiple anglers for violating tournament rules at a couple of different events?? I don’t know all the details. Only things I’ve seen have been rumors and folks speculating. He-said-she-said kind of stuff.


To the folks that reached out, I’m not doubting you – I’m just doing my own processing.


So far there’s been no official release that gives any kind of hard facts on what’s true or not. If rules violations did happen, I’m not sure why there wouldn’t be a detailed explanation put out instead of letting rumors build and compound off of each other. If you ever played the telephone game at school as a kid, you know what I mean…. Sure it could give the sport a black eye (temporarily) but to me suffering thru a black eye sounds better than folks forever being suspicious about or dealing with unfair competition.

That’s all I’ve got for now….


2. ND: Devils Lake walleye survey #s remain near record.


> …this year’s survey produced an avg catch of 32.4 walleyes per net. That’s down only slightly from 2022 [35.3] but significantly higher than the long-term avg of 22 walleyes per net….


> “The high walleye abundance…results from consecutive strong year-classes since 2015.


> …this year’s survey tallied 11.6 walleyes per net in the 10-15” range…up from the avg of 9.9. The abundance of 15-20” walleyes, at 12.4 fish per net, was double the long-term avg of 6.2 and up slightly from 12.3 walleyes per net in 2022.


> The survey sampled 1.9 walleyes per net in the 20-25” rang…up from the avg of 1.3. The number of 25-30” walleyes, at 0.5 per net, was above the long-term avg of 0.3.


3. Garmin introduces the GPSMAP 9000 series.


> Available with 19”, 22”, 24” or 27” touchscreen displays, these all-in-one chartplotters offer stunning 4K resolution with edge-to-edge clarity, powered by a processor that’s seven-times faster than previous generations.


These are obviously geared towards big saltwater rigs…but you know there’s going to be some walleye pros sniping fish off the big screen in 4K high definition. 🫢


4. I could see this new “bass bait” being…


…absolute 🔥 for sniping big walleyes with forward-facing sonar. It’s called the 6th Sense Panorama and appears to be selling out just as quickly as it’s trickling into retailers.

Smallest size it comes in is 5” but you/we already know big walleyes have zero problem taking that down.


If pics are worth 1,000 words, then how much is this vid worth? 😳

Here’s what 6th Sense posted about it on their site:


> When we designed the Panorama, our goal was to create the most realistic and universal soft-plastic that matches all sizes and colors of any forage, anywhere.


> We built this bait to have a super realistic body design while maintaining the perfect plastic consistency. This allows the Panorama to have fluid movement in the water no matter how you choose to rig it. Whether you’re dragging it on the bottom, swimming it for suspended fish or using it as a trailer….


I mean I know a jig and a half of a ‘crawler will catch ‘em 😅 but always gotta be playing with new tricks and treat, right?


5. “World’s Greatest Fishing and Hunting Auction” is LIVE.


Presented by non-profit MN-FISH.


6. MN: Fishing with Vets event on LOW, Oct 6-8.


7. MN: Speaking of Lake of the Woods…


Here’s a great highlight video from this year’s 8th-annual David A. Andersen Memorial walleye tournament:

8. MI: Invasive carp DNA found in the St. Joseph River.


> The sample was taken as a part of routine surveillance by the DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The DNR says 1 out of the 220 water samples collected in June tested positive.


> “A positive eDNA sample does not necessarily indicate the presence of live fish…it is possible for genetic material to be introduced from other sources, such as boats or fishing equipment used in another state where invasive carp are present, then transported and used in MI waters.”


9. A couple of Lindner rigs are up for sale.


James Lindner’s 2075 Pro V Bass XS, and Jeff Simpson’s 1875 Impact XS. Both absolutely decked-out, of course.


10. The latest “Top 5” video of the week! 🍿


In case you missed episode 57 posted on our YouTube channel – here she be:

Tip of the Day

Crankbaits don’t dive as deep when it’s windy.


Ever been trolling downwind and caught fish, turned right around and couldn’t get ’em to bite? Might actually be some truth to blaming it on the wind, though it’s got nothing to do with your poor boat control lol.


Learn ya some knowledge from Mr. Precision Trolling Data himself, Mark Romanack:

Meme of the Day

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

Seriously tho 👀 if/when you’re storing your boat…make sure you give your rig a healthy dose of Sea Foam Marine Pro = cleans and lubricates your motor, helps prevent corrosion caused by ethanol and water, and stabilizes tank fuel up to 2 yrs! It’s easy.


If you can’t find Marine PRO near you, original Sea Foam still works great in ’em to dissolve fuel residues AND for fuel stabilization. May be the #1 automotive additive in the US, but it was originally invented for outboard motors.

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

Love this shot from @derelict_fishing of a Lake Oahe, SD walleye that has all them teeth, but no toothbrush. #ornery

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Target Walleye – walleye during open water and all species during hardwater – is brought to you by Al Lindner, Jim Kalkofen, Jay Kumar, Brett McComas and other diehard fish-heads like you!
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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