Featured Angler John Hoyer

Meet John Hoyer

John Hoyer has been passionate about fishing since he could hold a fishing pole. Whether it’s trolling for walleyes on the great lakes, burning bucktails on Vermilion for muskies, skipping a Senko under a dock for largemouth, deep cranking for smallmouth on Mille Lacs, going to the end of the ice belt in search of a 2 pound bluegill, or drilling hundreds of holes a day on Devils Lake in search of perch, he has always been excited about the challenge that is patterning fishing.

Almost everyone has a job while on the tour.  Most are guides.  John works hard non-stop.  He can’t help it. It is just the way he is wired.  John says that if you are such a good worker employers will help you schedule around tournaments because they want the quality work and the work ethic.  

John had a history in high school sports.  He was very competitive.  In his first local tournament he fished the MN Musky tour.  He took 4th place.  Then he got musky fever.  The excitement of catching a musky in a tourney was max adrenalin.  He went on a 7-year musky fishing binge.  The big lesson from musky fishing – work ethic.  12 hour day with one fish is good.  He says you usually get a 50% hook to land ratio.  He carried that work ethic to walleye fishing.  He works hard to find and hook big fish each day.

Loves Fishing for Perch

He has always fished for all species.  He loves perch ice fishing.  You spend the majority of time searching for them.  When you find them, it happens fast.  Every time the jig falls the entire school could leave.  When you get into a school, it makes grown men giggle?  That is the thrill of getting on a big school. 

John Goes Pro as a Co-Angler

John started in the Pro’s in 2017 as a co-angler.  He won co-angler of the year because he knew what he was doing.  Co-anglers pay a $500 fee and fish for $6-8,000 in prize money.  They get randomly paired with a Pro.  The team shares the weights.  Each day you get a different Pro.

The great thing about this is that John got to learn from some of the best. He learned many of their secrets.  It also built a bunch of confidence.  The experience validated his own skills and let him know where he stood.  He soon realized he could fish with the best of them.  Being in tournaments lets you learn things like where were the top finishers fishing?

You have to beat the best to be the best.

John’s first goal is to cash a check.  He won the first tourney he fished.  He got paired with 2 good Pros.

John’s first goal is to cash a check.  He won first tourney he fished.  He got paired with 2 good Pros. In 2018 John finished fourth overall – a huge win.  He got good respect because he is good at fishing.

John Goes Full Pro

He got invited to fish on a team and made the jump to Pro.  He did not win any $$ until the second year.  At Prairie Du Chien he took second place. He lost a $60,000 walleye on his last cast.  He was wondering what God was trying to tell him.  He missed an 8-pound walleye that would have won the tourney.  When you turn Pro you pay a $2,000 entry fee to fish for $90,000.

2019 Dream Season

In 2018 in September he entered a Lake Vermillion musky tourney – he won that for a $40K prize.  He caught a 51 incher with 45 minutes left on the last day. 

In the first 2019 tournament at Lake Winnebago – he finished 104th.

He wondered if he had made a bad decision.

Hoyer Wins at Green Bay

Green Bay cold year – He got late on a training day and 75% of the group was out on the lake.  On his way out he passed a river mouth and noticed it was full of fish, so he thought why not?  On the first cast he got a big smally, second cast a 28 in walleye.  His partner Chris got 30 in on his first cast.  This was 6 days before the tourney.  They never fished it again.  No one looks at the river because they are heading for their spots.  Nobody found the spot – on the first day in 7 minutes they got 3 31 inchers, a 27 incher.  That was 2 10 pounders and a 7 pounder.  They got 41.5 pounds on day one!

He got 5 fish on day two – another 40+ pounds.  He won the tourney with 80 pounds.  John says it is hard for him to peacock on the stage when the Lord dropped the bites out of the sky.   It was a humbling experience.

Sioux St Marie the Cabbage Drop

The next tourney was Sioux St Marie.  Fished the whole week.  Trolling flicker minnows next to the cabbage and noticed that the fish were coming out of the cabbage.  So, on the last day of practice with 3 hours left he casted into the cabbage.  Throwing a bulldog paddle tail and crack it through the cabbage all the way to the weed edge.  He let it drop using a heavy weight.  He got a 7-pound walleye.  So, he had to find every cabbage patch in a 10-mile area.  He took second place casting cabbage.

Very gratifying tourney.  Use a ¾ jig head in 10 ft of water.  He had a blister on his hand the size of a silver dollar.  He invented it in his head, and it worked.

Minnetonka Musky Win

The Lake Minnetonka Musky Tournament was coming up. That is John’s home water.  He called Jason his partner.  Try a fast-falling paddle tail for musky.  From perch fishing he knew a big pike came through the perch, fled to the bottom and went deep.  When the lure drops the big fish thinks the lure is bait fleeing.   When the bait falls the predator thinks it is running away.  We need to get some musky size paddle tails and put some weight on them.  He stopped pre-fishing because it was working so well.  They caught 4 fish – two in the last hour and won the tourney.  Back-to-back musky tourney wins!

If you want to catch the biggest pike.  Get a Berkley champ swimmer or a 10-inch paddle tail.  Hang a ¾ ounce bell sinker.  It needs to fall like a rock.  Rip it out of the weed bed and let it fall down.  You will get a big pike.

Make sure you use a leader.  Even fishing for walleye, you will pick up pike.

Hoyer Wins Devils Lake

John fell in love with the lake because of perch ice fishing.  In practice he picked out a bunch of spots.

On day one he landed 20 pounds and another 20 on day two.  Tied for first.  You have to make the top 10 to fish on the final day.  His goal was 25 pounds.  He could keep 8 fish.  He caught two small ones and tossed them.  The next 5 were keepers.  He had only caught 10 to 12 fish by noon.  The very last fish was a one-pound upgrade.  He won by one pound and won the championship.

Most important thing in a tourney is time management.  How long to recognize a spot is not happening.  Second, stay optimistic.  Conditions, lures put it together. Go forward with a process.  Don’t get upset and anxious if it is not happening. 

Don’t just fish memories if they are not working.  Try something new.  Push yourself away from the known. 


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