1_TargetWalleye blasts

Pike of a lifetime, Crappies you can’t graph, Record white bass caught

Today’s Top 4

Pike of a lifetime iced!

Team Canada Pro’s Larry Larivière iced a 32-lb Québec water wolf that measured a ridiculous 47″ x 24″. Best part is he got the whole battle on video:

Wrassled her in while flaggin’ a Northland Quick-Strike Predator Rig and dead cisco:
They also have a fluorocarbon version of the rig here. Amazing fish, Larry!

Record white bass caught.

Blake LaFleur just iced the 2-lb line-class world record white bass out of Devils Lake, ND. She weighed 4.27 and 4.32 lbs (18.5″ x 16″) on two different scales:

The fish ate a 1/16-oz Northland Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon on Asso Micron Three — an Italian mono rated at 1.5 lbs! Said he broke the first six knots he tried to tie — yikes!!

> “The 6″ hole was another problem. When the head finally pointed up, it became wedged in the hole. I plunged my hand in…all the way to my armpit and grabbed it.”

 

Blake’s been specifically going after this record for years — guy knows his stuff:

 

> “They traditionally feed on larvae in the lake bottom all winter, and to get bass to bite a Buck-Shot means annoying them so their instinctive, natural aggression takes over and they strike.

 

> “When the flasher screen shows 10-12′ of bass, that’s when action really picks up. We call this the ‘mob’ and when the rapidly moving school arrives, it is game-on.

 

> “These monster white bass bulldog for 20 seconds or more, screaming through the rest of the mob, and that triggers the entire school.”

 

He likes to alternate between the Northland Buck-Shot and the Clam Blade Spoon until he figures out what they want — or don’t want — bad enough to eat.

You can read the full story on hunting for the record here. Congrats man!

Up-size baits for BIG fussy bluegills.

You’d think downsizing would be best when big bluegills get fussy, but sometimes Brad Hawthorne likes to do the opposite and play keep-away with bigger-profile baits.

One of his favorites is the 1/32-oz VMC Flash Champ Spoon. Brad throws 3-4 euro larvae on the treble to cover up the hook points. Then it’ll pass the sniff test if a fish comes up to study the bait:

Brad and panfish-nut Kee Kong recently got on some jurassic-sized ‘gills. We’ve never seen so many gigantic bulls caught back-to-back, it’s for sure worth a watch:

Icy slush melons of the week!!

TW fan Cole Thalman was runnin’-n-gunnin’ a Winnipeg pressure ridge with a Northland Rippin’ Shad (glow perch) to ice this paunchy slush melon:

Adriana V. cracked this plump Lake of the Woods walter fishing out of Sunset Lodge:

Bunch ‘o mud stuck to the belly of this burbot. Brandon C. caught her on a 5/8-oz Trout-N-Pout Spoon (green glow). Thing looks like it grew arms and crawled right out of the lake bottom…that burbot is a hot mess too lol:

Andrew H. added 2.08-lbs (15″) of SoDak wall decor thanks to a trusty PK Spoon:

Okay, one open-water chunk is making it in here…. Nate Gilkey thwacked this river monster while pitching to shallow-sand flats with a 1/8-oz Larson’s Quality Jigs Teardrop (plum crazy purple) with a BFish’N Tackle Ringworm (oystershell):

News

1. MN: Catch and release on Mille Lacs this summer?

> “A member of the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Council confirmed…that the DNR announced to the council on Wednesday that this summer will again be catch and release.

 

> “Many anglers and businesses have been unhappy with the tight restrictions because they say walleye fishing is what drives people to Mille Lacs.”

 

One question: Do you still play golf even though you can’t eat the golf balls? #FUN

2. SD: NAIFC coming to Lake Poinsett.

> “These tourneys generally draw anglers from 6 to 8 states, but have had up to 14 states represented at some of them.”

 

Tough to imagine that teams traveling from across the country have a shot at beating the local sticks, but it can/does happen.

3. WI: Pewaukee Lake fish crib program.

Our kind of nature hike is hopping around marking waypoints next to each of those buggers. Anyone else wish fish cribs were legal in their state? [sad emoji]

 

4. MN: Extended walleye season on LOW.

Rest of the state (besides certain border waters) closes on Feb 26. #RoadTrip

5. Keith Kavajecz ION X review.

Said he can’t tell you how many holes he can get out of a full charge because he hasn’t ran out of juice on a trip yet. Pretty cool!

6. The “population pyramid.”

GREAT info on selective harvest from Uncut Angling’s Aaron Wiebe. #ListenUp

Aaron was crackin’ those thick tiger stripes on an Acme Rattlemaster Kastmaster, which he likes to tweak by swapping the extra snap and split ring, to give the treble hook a little more swing. Also lets you pop the hook off to thread a minnow head (or plastic) over the shank.

 

Have a shot at winning this pile of Lunkerhunt ice-fishing loot! They make quality stuff that works as good as it looks! Just enter your email addy, then share the link you get for even more chances to win. Good luck!

Didja get the last TW?

If you missed the last Target Walleye/ice — thanks to us using the word “romantic” in the subject line — you can check it right here:

> Black spots in fish, DIY quick set rigs, Fishing is romantic

 

Fishing Reports

1. MN: Lake of the Woods.

Lake of the Woods has a pile of walleyes and state record-sized burbot, but don’t forget about the little slice of crappie heaven at the NW Angle. Unless you hate catching crappies in the 12-16″ range, with a legit shot at a 17-incher:

2. ND: Devils Lake.

> Perch have been hungry now that we’ve had some s weather. Some are fishing the deep basins in 35’+, while others are working inside turn on the shallow mud flats in 14-16′. Rattling spoons (the smaller, the better) have been working the best.

 

> The walleye bite has been picking up in the early morning and late afternoon on glow/UV rattle spoons. You will find a few walleye mixed in when perch-fishing the basins, but focus on structure-based areas (rocks, trees, sunken roads, old shorelines, etc.) to find these fish.

 

You can read more on Tanner Cherney’s perchin’ techniques here.

Tip of the Day

How to catch late-ice crappies you can’t graph.

Despite what the calender says, “late ice” will be showing up sooner than expected. When the water starts to run back into the holes, panfish make a break for skinny water. Here’s how Jason Mitchell catches crappies you probably don’t even know are there:

> Often those fish will be suspended just under the ice where they won’t even show up on your electronics. Too often anglers get in the habit of dropping their bait right down to the bottom and right past these fish.

 

> Crappies may come in so high that they actually need to roll sideways to hit the bait to avoid bumping into the ice above. This is one of the best opportunities you’re going to get for aggressively feeding crappies each winter.

 

> Target these high-riders by fishing them from the top down — using a long rod to dip the bait just 1-2′ under the ice before you move on, never needing to touch the reel in-between holes.

 

> I like to fish horizontal jigs and longer-profile soft plastics this time of year so that they glide and swim like a small minnow vs quivering like an insect or invertebrate.

 

> Slide the palomar knot towards the jig — which goes against everything you’ve read. But causes the jig to really dart and slide out more on the stroke.

 

One of Jason’s favorites is the Clam Drop-Kick Jig. No matter which tungsten jig you’re using, it’s important to make sure they’re tuned, just like you would a crankbait in the open water. Thanks for the info, Jason!

Quote of the Day

Tip-ups are like your wingman.

Dave Csanda wondering how anyone can afford NOT to fish with a tip-up in states that allow an extra line.

Make sure to bring your own flags if you’re fishing with Pat Kalmerton, saw him threaten a walleye once just for trying to steal his bait:

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

The Wheezy Outdoors crew getting their Acme Hyper Glide on:

#TasteTheRainbow
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