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Mark Martin Wins In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail
Tournament and $50,000 in Chamberlain, South Dakota
See Story
Mark Martin  1990 PWT World Champion Chamberlain, S.D. Pro angler Mark Martin of Twin Lake, Michigan, weighed 18 fish for 37.26 pounds to capture the three-day In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) tournament and the $50,000 first prize on the Missouri River in Chamberlain, South Dakota.
The win at the April 25  27 event is Martin’s second on the tour since its start in 1990, when he won the Championship on Lake of the Woods, Minnesota. Since then, Martin has been the only pro to fish every PWT tournament, scoring 13 top-10 finishes and competing in every Championship event. 
Finding those October walleyes 
by Mark Martin
In fall, walleyes can be anywhere—say, six inches under the surface in 80 feet of water or tight to bottom in 10 feet. Sound challenging? It can be, unless you know how walleyes drift off of structure and suspend in the vicinity of bait. Finding them is a looking game with quality electronics; catching them is a straining game with planer boards, spinners and crankbaits. The pattern holds true wherever you are, from Great Lakes to inland waters, and wherever walleyes are chasing baitfish. Which, it turns out, is everywhere.

The Baiting Game
The bait connection betrays the walleye’s presence. In fall, when walleyes ramp up their feeding before winter, the fish will never be far from food. On the Great Lakes, you might see enormous pods of one- to three-inch gizzard shad skittering on the surface or as big blobs on a locator. Shiners and the like herd up as well on inland waters, and predators are never far behind.

How do you find them? Start looking for structure on a map and then with electronics. Points, humps and weed edges are all fair game. 

Lowrance X-15MT
Lowrance’s new X-15
But when you look with a quality locator that pinpoints fish and bait, such as Lowrance’s LCX 15MT, the key is to veer away from the structure and look over open water. If you’ve seen fish on structure at a certain level—15 feet, for instance you can bet they’ll be at that same depth over open water, from hundreds of yards to half a mile away from the structure. 
Walleyes will do this day and night. The most important thing to remember is not to glue yourself to structure the walleyes will wander away from it if bait is present.

Search Mode
The best way to enter into search mode is to start trolling. This way you can cover water and zigzag to find fish. It would be far too time-consuming to jig or live-bait rig. Trolling, on the other hand, spreads lines to the sides of the boat and behind it—the better to cover a swath of water at different depths.

I always try to maximize my efforts with the most rods possible and the greatest coverage. Enter planer boards, the handy devices that veer lines away from the boat. With them, you can run more rods without tangling and pull lures through more territory. 

Church Planer board TX-12
Church TX-12 Planer board
My new favorites for boards are from Church Tackle, which now makes smaller, more manageable models that still track well away from the boat. The TX-6, which is about the size of a deck of cards, is great for pulling crankbaits or spinners with snap weights of up to one ounce. 
Anything heavier will sink the board. Even small fish or a piece of weed will sink it, which is a big help when you’re trying to keep your lures clean. A large fish will sink the little board like a bobber—something I love to see. With the TX-12, which is twice the size of the TX-6, you can get away with weight to two ounces, which you might need for deep spinnering.
Which brings us to my two favorite offerings in fall. While few people fish spinners after summertime, the reliable crawler harness keeps working through October and even into November. You can boost up a size or two with your spinners in fall to tempt more big fish. If, for instance, you were using No. 2 blades in summer, you now might want to try Nos. 4 and 5. The heavier thrum is often just what the walleyes want when they’re starting to feed with gusto before winter. 
Northlands Holographic baitfish blades
Northlands Holographic
Baitfish blades
If, for instance, you were using No. 2 blades in summer, you now might want to try Nos. 4 and 5. The heavier thrum is often just what the walleyes want when they’re starting to feed with gusto before winter. And since baitfish, more than bugs, are the main course of fall walleyes, try Northland’s holographic blades. 
And since baitfish, more than bugs, are the main course of fall walleyes, try Northland’s holographic blades. They come in silver shiner, gold shiner, golden perch and more colors to mimic baitfish.
Rapala Shad Rap
Rapala Shad Rap
Rapala Tail Dancer
Rapala Tail Dancer
By November, though, I normally start switching to crankbaits. You can move them faster and cover more water (2.0 or 2.3 mph for cranks vs. 1.1 mph for crawlers), and since the fish are so keyed on baitfish, cranks will often do the job even better. Experiment with cranks and crawlers to find out. For the lures themselves, it’s hard to beat Rapala Husky Jerks (in shallow and deep-running versions), Tail Dancers and Shad Raps. Again, match the colors to the prevalent baitfish and conditions—silvers around shiners and shad, brighter fluorescents in darker or stained water. You can trick out your lures with additional color with holoform tap from WTP, formerly known as Witchcraft. Add a strip of silver or glow to the lure’s sides, something that’s particularly effective at night.
If the structure is particularly steep or difficult to follow, you might want to try leadcore. I like it if I’m on a break that twists and turns and I’d have too much line out with boards. Even in 45 feet of water, you can often get down to the fish zone with 75 to 85 feet of line out

Walleyes Inc. website is maintained by Randy Tyler Fishing the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Circuit, Masters Walleye Circuit and the Team Walleye Circuit. All rights reserved.Copyright 1999/2000
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