Worst fishing nightmare, Slabs of the week, Panfish locations now

Today’s Top 4

Slabs of the week!

Paper-mouths? More like cardboard-mouths!

Check the height on this Upper Red Lake, MN slab caught by Ana Leschishin (@ana_on_ice) on a “glow red shiner” color VMC Rattle Spoon. Ladies leaned into the ‘eyes, but caught and released several bonus hubcaps too — love it:

 

Didja know dat up derr in Manitoba, it’s waaaay more den jus’ monster greenback walleye? Brandon Pilgrim (@pilgrim_outdoors) snatched him some salt ‘n pepper outta Whiteshell Provincial Park in southeastern MB:

 

Wyatt Williams (@wyatttttearp) iced this 15.25″ slabradoodle near Bemidji, MN using the always-fishy #5 Rapala Jigging Rap:

This is literally my worst fishin’ nightmare…

WARNING:

From WI guide Bret Alexander:

> [While netting a customer’s new PB walleye] I scooped the fish into the net and the lure flew out of the walleye’s mouth…flew into my left eye.

> After two surgeries to repair the damage, now it’s time to heal. As of right now I have no eyesight in my left eye but doctors feel they can get it back with a few more surgeries down the road.

> From this point forward I will always be wearing some type of eye protection — day or night — while fishing.

Seriously scary how fast life can throw you a curveball knuckleball:

Prayers for a healthy recovery, man, and thank you for sharing this!

Early-season hardwater panfish locations.

Early-season panfish can be scattered and not “set up” yet. Sure you might pluck one here or there, but dialing-in that first reeeeally good bite can be frustrating….

That’s why we reached out to Ice Force pro Kee Kong — to get the lowdown on his early-season (first month of the hard stuff) plan of attack for big pannies. Hit the full write-up here on TargetWalleye.com, few excerpts below:

> Kee: “I think my early-ice approach is a little unconventional compared to some guys, but getting away from the norm seems to pay off.”

Pay off is right:

Location

Instead of drilling out entire weed flats, Kee focuses on sharper breaklines that butt up close to ’em. Less drilling = more fishing time. A lot of times ‘gills and crappies will be hanging close together in these areas. #2for1s

> “I really like the first or second break off weed flats in the 10-16′ range. The money spot is the break in between the weed flat and a basin. A lot of early-ice panfish are slowly transitioning to their mid-winter haunts, so this is a great ambush point.

> “A lot of guys will start right in the basin, but most of those fish haven’t moved deep if there’s still decent weed growth shallow.

> “Even though I’m usually not fishing right in the weeds, the kind of growth matters. Cabbage is king, but in a lake with tons of it I’m looking for irregularities within…milfoil or coontail.

> “Fishing this way is cool because as the season goes on you kind of get a feel for when the majority of the fish have vacated the shallow stuff and moved out into deeper basins.”

Gear

> “I run a 500-size Shimano Sienna paired with 3-lb Sufix Ice Magic mono…3-lb because it can handle bigger fish and saves time on having to re-tie.

> “Lighter tungsten jigs like a 1/32-oz VMC Tungsten Tubby Jig are my go-to for both crappies and ‘gills.”

Likes the smaller tungsten ‘cuz it’s 1) easier for fish to inhale, and 2) you can visually see “up-bites” better due to less pressure on the rod tip.

> “I like fishing plastics more than waxies or spikes early in the year because I’m in search mode…allows me to be waaaay more efficient. My go-to is a purple Dave’s Wedgee…super durable and has a nice subtle action.

> “Purple is the deal — not a ton of true purple plastics on the market — but it can represent a lot of different things (minnows, bugs, etc). Crushes in both clear and stained water.”

How’s this for some cheap break-through insurance?

Oh, and caption game strong [flexing emoji]:

Btw – If you’re looking for a fish-sexier way of keeping your rig OFF the bottom of the lake…might wanna check out Nebulus. Not a Target Walleye sponsor or anything…but one of those pieces of equipment that could for sure save a life.

Starts out looking like a handbag (left) but turns into an 18 cubic foot inflatable-orange raft thingamajigger (right) when the cord is pulled. Supports up to 3 adults and a submerged snowmobile or ATV! You’d think all sleds/ATVs across the ice belt would just come with one:

News

1. MI: Uranium spill on the Detroit River.

No wonder the fall bite’s been the bomb….

2. MT senator proposes $10K fine for zeebz?

> Sen. Mike Cuffe, R-Eureka…submitted the bill request earlier in the day. If enacted, drivers of vehicles found transporting watercraft carrying invasive quagga or zebra mussels could face [a $10K fine] and have their vehicle and trailer impounded until they post bond and the watercraft is cleaned.

We always joke about the slap-on-the-wrist fines, but dang that’s aggressive….

3. Could these new Garmin graphs get ANY bigger?

Okay, not really…but at this rate we might get there one day.

4. Apparently blue-green algae can kill zeebz.

> …researchers at Wayne State U found that chemicals produced by blue-green algae, also called cyanobacteria, are toxic to larvae of invasive zebra and quagga mussels.

> The goal…is to see if we can possibly isolate a chemical…that would be detrimental to zebra and quagga mussels only….

5. How slick is this built-in spring bobber?

First I had ever seen the Beaver Dam Titanium Tip Stick Rod — had to do a double-take at the post:

I like the idea of being able to store the rod w/out folding the thing in half.

6. MN: Tony Roach is speaking in Brainerd…

…at the Walleye Alliance meeting Dec 12. I’ll be heckling in the back. 😉

7. Here’s how Asian carp spread from 1973-2019.

Saw this crazy graphic in the last BassBlaster email, and had to share:

Can you imagine a zebra mussel graphic?! [shocked emoji]

8. Traditions Media adds 2 to the team.

Kristine Fischer and Lee Rose Koza. Traditions Media is an outdoors-focused (fishing and hunting) media company that calls themselves “The Anti-Agency…Agency” lol. Love that. Congrats to all!

9. Is this why Cabela’s sold to Bass Pro? (video)

The Cabela’s part starts at 5:18 and sort of makes it sound like Cabela’s was forced to sell out by big-money New York City guys that owned a stake (11%) in the company. No idea if that’s actually the case, but if so it for sure wouldn’t be the first time something like that happened in financial world….

10. Shimano has new Sedona Ice Combos.

Everything from 24″ UL to 40″ MH whoopin’ sticks.

FishUSA already has ’em in stock here.

11. ND’s fish-house regs.

12. WI’s hiring investigative wardens.

I don’t know exactly what they are, but it sounds sweeeet.

13. So you wanna “fish” full-time?

Then one of the events you should really have penciled-in on the calendar = the NPAA annual conference comin’ up Jan 3-5 in Wisconsin Dells.

Great chance to network with pros who’ve had success on and off the water, and learn about the business side of the sport:

Couple of this year’s featured speakers are big-time bass pro Mike Iaconelli and Bass Pro Shops owner Johnny Morris — lot more info here.

14. WY has a Master Angler program too.

15. Check NFL’er Frank Ragnow’s cleats.

Detroit Lions center and avid outdoorsman:

> “For #MyCauseMyCleats this year I will be repping American Foundation For Suicide Prevention cleats in honor of my late friend Brady Hed and his family. He loved to fish….”

16. NJ gov pledges $13 mil to fight algal blooms.

I’d fight an algal bloom right in the face for $20.

17. Lowe Boats’ new GM came from Harley Davidson.

18. MN: If you’re going to the St. Paul Ice Show…

…the next few days, swing by the Humminbird booth (#211) for a chance to win an ICE HELIX 7 G3N All-Season — a killer hardwater unit that also includes everything you need to use it on your boat during the open-water season.

It’s a show-exclusive dealio, so no link for the giveaway, but wanted to give you a heads-up. Good luck wrasslin’ the unit away from these dudes tho lol:

TargetWalleye.com Highlights

> Records nearly broken, How Roach gets cranky, Braid vs mono

> What to do if you fall in, 16-lb walleye, Bigguns from the bank

Note: The FishUSA links in this email are affiliate links, meaning if you go through them to make a purchase we might earn a commission…at no cost to you. Click here if you want to learn a little more about links in TW.

Tip of the Day

Tip-up spooling hack using a power drill.

Great trick for spooling up those Beaver Dam tip-ups. Joel Nelson didn’t invent it, but he did do a good job of showing how it’s done. Sure beats the old-school way that gives you carpal tunnel:

Meme of the Day

Got any fishing buddies that like to “round up?” Lol:

Or maybe a bump-board for you Canadian Master Anglers….

Today’s ‘Eye Candy

You think this one wanted Tanner Jacobson’s “pink tiger UV” color Rapala Rippin’ Rap? #ChokedIt #NightLife

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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
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