Ranger Pro John Hoyer and Co Collin Martin win the 2022 National Walleye Tour Championship

Hoyer’s official day-three weight was 31.73 pounds, giving him a whopping 102.33 for the tournament. For winning the Super Bowl of walleye fishing, the Ranger/Berkley/Simms pro earned an upgraded boat package, for being a part of the Ranger Cup program, Ranger 621FS Pro with a 300-horsepower Mercury outboard, plus $30,000 cash and $3,474 in Anglers Advantage money for a total purse of $129,469. After not qualifying for last year’s championship, he’s now only one of two anglers with two NWT Championship wins. His margin of victory was over 11 pounds.

How Did John Do It?

Lake Erie is the one venue, perhaps the last traditional walleye factory, where trolling still dominates. That all changed this week when John Hoyer unlocked a shallow-water casting program and blew away the competition.

John used the same technique he pioneered to win the Lake Minnetonka Musky Tournament with the fast falling paddle tail.

This time around the vegetation was eelgrass, but otherwise the pattern was the same. Using a Berkley PowerBait The Champ Swimmer.

Hoyer would cast into the eelgrass, snap the bait as hard as possible to clear the grass, and they’d bite it on the fall. His best colors were HD Bluegill and HD Yellow Perch.

“I was letting it freefall as fast as it possibly could, and they would absolutely inhale it,” said the Orono, Minn., native. “I would use a 1/2-ounce up to a 1-ounce Fusion 19 swimbait jighead depending on the current. With the heavier jighead, it falls even faster and they hit it even harder. That snapping action is the most fun way to catch a walleye – end of conversation. To see how fast they come and hit it on ActiveTarget is literally breathtaking. The only rod I used was a 7-foot medium heavy Fenwick World Class. That rod was rigged with 10-pound Fireline and a 15-pound Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon leader.”

John Describes catching the 9 pounder that blew out the weight on day 3.

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