Target Walleye/Ice email

Behind the scenes pre-fishing at the Saginaw Bay NWT

Heads up: I’m in Bay City, MI for the NWT on Saginaw Bay — firing this off then rushing to the rules meeting. Might be the only Target Walleye email this week, back to the regular schedule next week. Thx for reading!

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Today’s Top 5

As seen on Saginaw Bay.

Been seeing a little bit of everything caught while pre-fishing Saginaw Bay the last few days. The multi-species game definitely keeps it interesting….

Bet Eric Olson wishes he could sneak a couple of these in the weigh bag:

Tommy Kemos caught himself a blimp! 5 of those on tourney day would probably go 3- or 4-ozs:

Too bad this isn’t a catfish derby ‘cuz we’re dialed:

Of course there’s a pile of walleyes being caught — just a matter of getting those right bites like this Saginaw Bay giant wrastled in by Robert Cardenas. That graph looks a little…ugh, suspect…. #LowranceBird?

What do you think it’s gonna take to win her on Saginaw Bay this Thurs and Fri (5-fish bags, 2-day tourney)? Here’s statmaster John Balla’s calculated guess:

Light winds:

1st: 43-45 lbs
10th: 34-36 lbs
25th: 30-32 lbs

Big winds:

1st: 40-42 lbs
10th: 33-35 lbs
25th: 28-30 lbs

Watch the weigh-ins live right here on Thurs and Fri.

Why every fisherman needs foam pool noodles.

And it’s not because we’re getting too old/tired/sore to actually swim…. Some tourney pros have been using ’em to give their fish extra cushioning in the livewell in rough water. Especially awesome idea for you Great Lakes guys:

Helps eliminate the gap between the water and the top of the livewell = the water/fish slosh around less…don’t smack their heads off the “ceiling.”

Bonus snippet: You can use the leftover noodles to make the ultimate spaghetti DIY leader holder. As Ross Robertson says, “Because tangles suck:”

Planer boards make the world Saginaw Bay go round.

Definitely not just a Great Lakes thing, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a boat ’round here without a pile of Off Shore Tackle Planer Boards:

Main reason is being able to run multiple lines (normally 3 each, 2 during the NWT tourney) but also for getting baits away from the boat in ultra-clear water. Can see down 20-ish feet in some areas here, wonder how far a walleye can see?

Safe to say Robert Cardenas digs ’em:

Planer boards can seem intimidating to someone that’s never ran ’em, but it’s easy as clipping a couple of snaps on the line and sending ’em out. Recommend hopping in the boat with someone and getting their planer board 101 course to see for yourself.

Few random planer board tips from chatting with Mike Olson of Fish Addictions TV:

> Tattle flags: Spring loaded tension so if there’s a change of weight it goes down. Help make sure 1) you’re not dragging around a small fish, 2) the baits aren’t fouled and 3) can help detect bites in rough water. Gotta leave enough slack between your front and back snaps so the tattle flag can go down.
> Best all-around line is 10-lb mono…strong enough to hook into big fish but small enough diameter your dive depths aren’t affected. Mono ‘cuz you need the forgiveness in the line when a big fish hits.
> Stretches enough to keep baits from “surging.” Happens when the boat surges forward — from big waves — and rushes that planer board forward. Mono absorbs a lot of the shock so the baits run steady. Some surge is okay but a lot isn’t natural.

> Fish the boards out! Turn the reel’s clicker on, but instead of just opening up the spool, you loosen the drag enough so the board slowly works its way out. By keeping tension on the board you’re running the bait the whole time. As a tournament angler it’s all about how long you can keep your baits in the water — can set other lines while one is working out.

> Especially important with running blades…otherwise the bait could foul with weeds or snag the bottom before you even get going.

Crazy how many “extra” fish you can catch while fishing ’em out too. Not sure if it’s just the extra time in the water or if it’s the way those baits are changing direction and hitting structure at a different angle.

Whether you’re a board troller or long line cranks, gotta check out the Precision Trolling app AKA “the troller’s Bible.” Incredible tool that takes out most of the guesswork. Hardest thing you need to do is just make sure your baits are running true and in an area that holds fish.

Speaking of tuning baits…Off Shore Tackle just dropped the EZ Crankbait Tuner. Showed you a sneak peek earlier, but they’re finally (!) for sale here.

> “You’ll be able to adjust how much pressure you put on the eye of the bait to make precise adjustments. It’s plastic so you don’t have to worry about damaging the bait. We’ve been fine tuning it (no pun intended) the last couple years and it works great whether casting or trolling.”

Check it in action:

The fisherman’s standoff.

Absolutely love snoopin’ around baitshops and getting the scoop on what locals are runnin’. Like this stacked selection of trolling spoons at Frank’s Great Outdoors — one of those local techniques I’ll be bringing back home with me:

Crazy how you can be just a half-days drive away from home yet guys are running baits/techniques we’ve never even seen before…and it’s normal there.

Probably one reason NWT pros hardly ever pass up a bait shop…and they usually grab a basket right when they walk through the door lol.

Never seen that color before? Buy it. Heard someone’s catching ’em on a something different? Get ’em. You catch a good fish on a certain bait? Clear the peg.

My favorite is watching those awkward “standoffs” between tourney guys: Both in a certain aisle wanting to grab baits, but refusing to make a move ‘cuz they don’t want the others to see what they’re buying. #Awkward

Sometime gets to the point where guys will coordinate taking turns in an aisle, else everyone would be standing there all day lol. Watch out for eavesdroppers, corner creepers and basket peepers….

Life on the road…

When you put on as many miles as the NWT pros, this becomes a common sight. #BugSplatter #RoadTrips

Got the inside to match — here’s a quick glimpse things you can expect to see. #Controlled Chaos

1) Launch passes
2) Google maps
3) Vitamins
4) Wireless mic
5) Energy drinks
6) Aleve
7) Batteries charging
8) Trolling motor remote
9) Sunglasses cleaning cloth

Trucks may be their lifelines, but it’s the boats that stay in showroom condition:

Quote of the Day

Feel like I’m crossing railroad tracks with a train coming.

– What Mike Olson said while “playing chicken” near a shipping channel:

Fish aren’t the only big things floating ’round Saginaw Bay:

Meme of the Day

Today’s ‘Eye Candy



WTHeck are pasties?!

First off: Don’t call ’em “peysties” — it’s pronounced “pæsties” — else they’ll know you’re a tourist. It’s a “Yooper” food in MI’s Upper Peninsula…basically a portable pot pie. Miners would wrap ’em up in their lunch bucket and heat ’em over the fire on a shovel…underground:

Btw – was told not to order ’em with gravy…that’s for Canadians (ketchup only).

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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
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