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Today's Top 5

ChatterBait walleyes still flying under the radar...for now....

Man, I was hesitant to share this awesome Z-Man write-up because I’m not sure I want more folks throwing ChatterBait bladed jigs specifically for walleye around here LOL. 😅 Selfish, I know. So FINE...I’ll sprinkle some breadcrumbs in here, but you should really consider reading the full write-up and giving them a go. Or don’t (lol) because I’d like to keep a few of these bassy-er walleye techniques to myself hahaha.

> Dylan Nussbaum: “If you think about it, a ChatterBait bladed jig makes total sense for walleyes. Walleyes love vibration, they’re drawn to it, especially those lower frequency thumps and pulses. They almost always respond positively to flash – those reflective, on-off strobe light visuals.

> “Some of the best walleye baits all share in common a rare ability to move erratically, randomly. Look at the movements of a suspending jerkbait, for example. Or a heavy, jigging style glidebait. Both lures dart and slash in unpredictable directions – just as a live perch or minnow kicks and jukes unpredictably as they’re being hunted. Walleyes, especially big ones, respond forcefully to this type of action – and when you add a flash and vibration to an already erratic lure, you’ve got an unbeatable combination.

> “When I retrieve an Eye Strike ChatterBait or a ChatterBait WillowVibe – especially when I speed up or slow down my retrieve – the lure often darts randomly, right or left, before returning to center. Add your favorite swimbait or other soft-plastic tail, and you’ve got the total walleye package.”

> Even though anglers have been catching big walleyes on ChatterBaits for years, often by accident, walleye specialists continue underrating bladed jigs because they’ve been programmed to think of them in terms of bass only. But put the blade in the water and there’s no doubt walleyes sense it via lateral line – a ChatterBait likely emits the most powerful low frequency vibrations of any artificial lure.

> Dylan Nussbaum: “One of the best bladed jig patterns I’ve found is casting it onto rock structure in 10’ or less. I’m almost always pairing a 3/8-oz WillowVibe with a 3” Slim SwimZ or MinnowZ, for a profile that matches our local forage (perch, shad, baby white bass.) One of the best retrieves I have found is slow and steady. Reel just fast enough to activate the willowleaf blade. Occasionally, pause and let your bait fall back to the bottom.”

That’s just a little preview...there’s waaaay more info in the full write-up. They pick the brains of some 🔨s from all across the walleye world, including Dylan Nussbaum (PA), Jamie Bruce (ON), Troy Peterson (WI), Mort Bank (ND), and Ted Peck (river rat)

Remember that crooked walleye we shared last week?

It was posted by Bob Kirkpatrick who said his wife Linda caught it on Tobin Lake, SK on Sept 20...and then 6 days later his buddy caught the same fish on the same spot:

Well it was just caught AGAIN during day 1 of the Vanity Cup – that makes 3 times in just a 10-day span, so the thing must frequent a community hole hahah! Pic is from the Saskatchewan Sportfish Research Group:

I always love reading about tagged fish and their journeys...where they were caught compared to last time, how much longer/heavier they grew, etc. One of the reasons those fish recapture stories are possible up derr in SK is from the Saskatchewan Sportfish Research Group. They were at the Vanity Cup on Tobin Lake tagging and releasing fish that teams brought in – here’s what they said about day 1 of year’s derby:

> “What a great day 1 at the Vanity Cup on Tobin Lake! We had 15 previously tagged fish come through the weigh station...a new record for the program! These fish were tagged at the Vanity Cup in 2019, 2021, 2022, and the Premier's Cup in 2023. My favourite = F2235...a 75.5 cm, 4650 gram (10.2 lb) tank we tagged at the Vanity Cup back in 2021. Great to see this beast again!”

We shared one of those cool recapture stories last March where tagged “walleye 6192” had put on over 60 miles between it's 3 capture locations...tho you know that thing didn’t swim in a straight line and probably had multiple “spirit journeys” along the way:

I finally got some more wood to keep the house warm this winter.

I managed to scrape up a 3rd-place solo finish at the Walleye Alliance Fall Classic on Pelican Lake (Breezy Point, MN) over the weekend!

Such a fun, well-ran event by a team of folks who work their tails off to better walleye fishing in the Brainerd Lakes Area. 🙌

This derby is a 5-fish limit and only 1 of those can be over 20” long. All 4 of my ‘unders’ were B-E-A-Utiful 19” to 19.75” fish, but unfortunately my ‘over’ was a skinny 23-incher for a total of 12.56 lbs. Just could not get a BIG bite. 😅 But hey, I’ll take it!

Despite what the calendar says, water temps in the mid-60s still had fish in late-summer patterns. I was junk fishing and running all over the dang lake picking up one here and one there. Ended up catching about 30 of ‘em with a 1-2-3 punch of confidence baits in 10-18’ around cabbage and coontail weeds.

Here’s the setups I was cycling thru:

Quick-ish rundown from left to right:

1) A #7 Rapala Jigging Rap (glow green tiger) with a VMC Bladed Hybrid Treble. Leaning on ‘em with a 7' 1" medium, fast-action 2B Fishing Genesis spinning rod and size-30 Abu Garcia Revo Rocket (7.6:1 gear ratio and brings in 43” of line per crank!). I was running 10-lb Sufix Advance Mono main line (low-vis green) a #10 VMC Rolling Swivel...about a 14” 12-lb fluorocarbon a #0 VMC Crankbait Snap where I attach the J-Rap.

2) A 3/16-oz VMC Ned Rig Jig with a pinched-off nightcrawler. There is no other jig that can keep the ‘crawler pinned to the top (not sliding down) like it thx to its “beveled edge conical keeper.” And I absolutely love the hook. I was throwing this at sparser weed clumps or where the main weededge tapers off.

I throw this little snack on the 7' 4" medium light, fast-action Elliott Identity 'Rig & Jig' and words can’t begin to express how incredible it fishes and feels. I use 6-lb Sufix Performance Braid for my main line because it lets me cast those lighter baits about 20’ further if I need to. Then about a 7-ish foot leader of 8-lb fluoro.

3) When poking around deeper in the weeds – or on top of ‘em – I’d throw the same 3/16-oz VMC Ned Rig Jig (except in chartreuse) paired with a 4” Z-Man Big TRD (green pumpkin goby). Can just fish so much more efficiently with plastics in the weeds. If it gets hung up, I snap it out of ‘em with the stout 7’ 1” medium, extra-fast Elliott rod. For this setup I love running 10-lb Sufix 832 Advanced Superline with about a 7-ish foot leader of 10-lb fluoro.


Massive props to NWT pro Jake Caughey and Dan Steffen (left) on dominating with a perfect 16.58-lb bag 🤯 that included ‘big fish’ of the derby with a 7.14-lber! And to NWT pro Will Pappenfus and Nick Cekalla (right) whose 2nd-place bag went 14.21 lbs which would normally win any other year lol.

These fellas CRUSHED it! 🔨 And if you're somehow able to get them to tell you exactly what they were using and how/where they caught their fish...more power to ya. 😅

Snap jigging shallow walleyes (NO fancy electronics needed).

One of my absolute favorite ways to catch shallow, aggressive walleyes all year long!

And the type of bite where you'll actually catch more fish if you do NOT use forward-facing sonar. 👀

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

In case you missed episode 58 posted on our YouTube channel – brought to you by our friends at Sea Foam – here she be:


1. SK: Jon Zapski and Adam George win $100K Vanity Cup.

Can you imagine winning $100,000 [!!!] in a walleye tournament?!?! 🤯 INSANE.

Amazing job guys! Only reason this isn’t a “Top Item” in today’s TW is ‘cuz I couldn’t find any details on their winning program. Will follow up if I’m able to track down a pattern.

2. 2024 AIM schedules are out. 🗓️


Apr 14: Mississippi River Pools 3-4 – Hager City, WI

May 19: Big Stone Lake – Ortonville, MN

June 9: Mille Lacs – Isle, MN

July 21: Leech Lake – Walker, MN

Aug 23-24: Championship TBD


Apr 7: Fox River – Green Bay, WI

Apr 21: Wolf River Chain of Lakes – Winneconne, WI

May 19: Petenwell Flowage – Arkdale, WI

July 14: Bay of Green Bay – Oconto, WI

Aug 2-3: Championship – Lake Winnebago – Oshkosh, WI

North Dakota:

Apr 28: Missouri River – Bismarck, ND

May 12: Lake Audubon– Cole Harbor, ND

June 16: Lake Sakakawea – Garrison, ND

Aug 11: Lake Sakakawea – Parshall, ND

Sept 6-7: Championship – Devils Lake, ND

3. WI: 14K walleye stocked into the Menominee River.

4. Eurotackle has new colors in the Z-Darter V2.

From top to bottom here's goby, purple tiger glow, and goldy:

5. Team USA goes for world fishing title in Europe.

> Team USA will compete for gold at the World Boat Angling Championship in Riga, Latvia Oct 5-7. The tournament is put on by the International Sport Fishing Federation.

> Teams representing countries around the world will compete for gold, silver, and bronze medals. The target species for this event are predators. On this particular body of water in Latvia that means European perch, northern pike, and Zander.

Btw I came across a post from John Hoyer earlier today that said:

> "The World Predator Boat fishing championship starts tomorrow morning. @maxwilsonfishing, @ryanbuddie, @nicholas_schertz, and I have been having fun honing our zander and perch game. The format is most cm of legal sized fish wins. 3 days against honestly some of the very best anglers in the world. We were humbled last year in the Czech tourney, hoping for a little payback on the fish this year."

6. MN: Perch Lake reconnects with St. Louis River Estuary.

> Over the decades, the 30-acre lake filled with muck and gradually became inhospitable to living creatures, with too little oxygen for fish to survive.

> Perch Lake has been dredged, deepened and reconnected to the St. Louis River Estuary after a century of being separated by a railroad track and Minnesota HWY 23. The 3-yr, $7 mil project includes a new culvert passage that will allow more water, fish and people in boats to move between the lake and river.

7. 🥶: “Wonder Bread” isn’t just for walleyes.

For whatever reason (not sure what it’s supposed to look like) walleyes loooove the “Wonder Bread” color. And until now, I haven’t really noticed too many panfish baits in the fishy pattern. Just came across this post from Eurotackle:

> “Soon you'll be able to pair all your Micro Finesse Wonder Bread soft lures with the new ESR Nano Wonder Bread, and more!”

And get this: Those ESR (Enhanced Sonar Return) Nano Tungsten Jigs are specifically designed to show up better on your sonar – whether you’re rocking ‘live imaging’ or a traditional flasher – thx to the inclined flat surface on the top which is to help “sonar waves return bright and precise images to transducers.”

8. 🥶: Acme has a new mini 1” Ice Hyper-Rattle.

> The Hyper-Rattle has been crushing fish in both ice and open water for years. Heading into the 2023 ice season, the HR3 1” is born. Crappie, perch, bluegill and walleye better beware! High-definition and high-durability finishes with glow and UV paint. Balanced, life-like action swimming presentation that the Hyper-Rattle is known for!

Looks even better with a jumbotron attached to it:

9. Ben Speciale inducted into NMMA hall of fame.

President of the Yamaha U.S. Marine Business Unit.

10. ASA hosted a ‘Women in the Fishing Industry’ event.

11. Gunpowder adds 3 new hires to team.

Josh Ward, Michelle Gandola and Alex Gaziano.

12. Why the Z-Man TRD works soooo well....

...according to the guy who actually designed it = Drew Reese.

Pretty interesting video with Drew talking about the inspiration for the design. Apparently there was a UC Berkeley study done where they had found bass preferred eating crayfish that had their pincher(s) removed...and even more so preferred when they had the pinchers and legs removed...and even more-er so when everything was removed from the crayfish besides its 2 little whiskers LOL and that’s the one that the fish in the tank would choose to eat.

Tip of the Day

How Tom Boley is catching river Walleye Now.

I know I've got to start including more content for you river rats! So here's how Tom Boley has been attacking wingdam fish with an ACME V-Rod Blade Bait. 🎯

Meme of the Day

Some big weather changes rolling thru the next couple days...for sure going to change things. Thinking of my buddies that are fishing derbies this weekend lol.

Parting Shot

Wow! Alexa Tetrault is 36-weeks pregnant and still getting after the Lake Champlain walleyes – love it!! 🙌


We live in some wild times!

First there were flamingos 🦩 seen on Lake Petenwell in central Wisconsin. 🧀

And now there’s wild jaguars 🐆 roaming around in Arizona. 🇺🇸

Sheesh! Here I thought it was crazy that Texas had a fishable population of big walleyes (Top Item #2) hahaha!

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Who is Target Walleye

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 [email protected]

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