If the thought of rising before daylight and driving a four-wheeler or snowmobile onto frozen Saginaw Bay after one of the tastiest fish species in the state sends chills up and down your spine, and not just because it’s cold, sharpen those spuds and hooks. Pro walleye angler Mark Martin’s 8th annual Ice Fishing Vacation School is coming again, from February 7-10.
Martin, an annual contender in North America’s biggest walleye tournament series presented by Anglers Insight Marketing, with two stops in Michigan this summer, will be on the ice along with two other top AIM pros, instructing up to 25 students during three days of intense angling action. And, there are still spots available.
As of this writing, Saginaw Bay ice conditions are great, and rumors of a monster walleye more than three feet long landed this winter already are making the rounds along the bay’s shore.
It’s Martin’s goal to show you how to catch similar walleye, as well as the more normal-sized inhabitants of the bay. Martin kicks off the school with a free fishing seminar at 3 p.m. on February 7, at Frank’s Great Outdoors store, 1212 N. M-13, north of Linwood.
Martin, of Twin Lake, north of Muskegon, is teamed with fellow AIM anglers Mark Brumbaugh, Mike Gofron and about 15 assistants to school you in the art of icing walleyes. Pros and assistants keep in contact to help steer students to either the right technique, or the right spot.
You’ll learn how to land these toothy giants safely while avoiding the pitfalls, literal and otherwise, that being out on the bay in Antarctic-like conditions can bring to the inexperienced.
Students will launch from Linwood Beach Marina, just off M-13 in Linwood. And learn from each other over dinner to improve their techniques.
“We can have good conversation and school time right after fishing ends each day,” Martin said. “We’ll have a room all to ourselves so everyone can ask questions and hear how everyone else did. We’ve found those roundtable discussions are one of the best learning tools there is.”
Cost is $475 per person, for hands-on lessons from three of North America’s best walleye anglers, a free tackle package, and free live bait and special rates on lodging and food.
The school bell rings at 7 a.m. and school is out at 5:30 p.m. Students will fish in groups each guided by a pro, who will take you to an area that’s already been pre-fished by the pros. After the first day’s seminar, pros also will help you pick the tackle and lures that will hopefully produce.
“We’ll be all off the ice just before dark each day, because safety is of the utmost importance,” Martin said.
To register, contact Linwood Beach Marina at (989) 697-4415 and ask for Darla or Scott. If ice conditions are unsafe, your money will be refunded. For more information, read the February edition of Michigan’s own Woods N Water News, available across the state each month.
‘Holey’ Ice Fishing! Mark Martin’s Walleye School Returns to Saginaw Bay, written by Bill Semion, a noted professional outdoor and travel journalist.