Keith Kavajecz Chat 2/19/03

Chatman - Ladies and Gentlemen, a warm Walleye Central welcome for Keith Kavajecz!!!
wolf walleye - Clap, clap!!
Swede - Clap, clap!!
Wallydog - Woo hooo!!
ETT - Clap, clap, clap!!!
Juls_OH - Hi Keith, everyone..;-)
Warren Minn - Wooo, wooo, wooo!
Chatman - Clap, clap, clap!!!
Driftr - Hello Keith!!
Keith Kavajecz - Thank you, thank you! *bow, bow*
wolf walleye - Keith do you fish early on the Fox River, by the dam?
Chatman - Long time no see Keith! What has it been, about 2 days!!! LOL!
Keith Kavajecz - I do get to go out once in a while on the Fox River. The trips are mainly to break in boats, but I do stop to vertical jig, and catch and release a few.
wolf walleye - Monsters?
Keith Kavajecz - Yup, two days Ralph. But a lot happened in those two days, with the NPAA elections and all.
Chatman - Congrats by the way, Mr. President!
ETT - Yes, congrats Keith, and best wishes!! 
Gu - hail to the chief!!
Keith Kavajecz - Thanks.
wolf walleye - Congrats Keith!
wolf walleye - I'm a new member of THE N.P.A.A.
Chatman - Lets talk about the N.P.A.A., a bit..
Keith Kavajecz - Hopefully we can get the N.P.A.A. pointed in a good direction. It will take lots of help from the members.
ETT - Keith, how can we help??
Chatman - What types of things might we see from the N.P.A.A. in the near future?
wolf walleye - Yes, just let us know how to help!
Keith Kavajecz - The board will be asking for volunteers on committees, we need to get some members with legal background. (as our old attorney retired) We need help giving a facelift to the web site, and we need everyone to attend the annual meeting. 
Chatman - That is a great direction, membership apathy can kill any organization!
wolf walleye - I think a facelift would be good.
Dan(oh) - Keith, where are the annual meetings usually held?
Warren - Did you already give the web address for the N.P.A.A.?
Keith Kavajecz - In the near future, we will finish up the Members Only Program and Tournament Guide/Directory. We'll plan the annual meeting, hopefully we will be getting some great news about a new Cabela's members program, and of course we have to start looking at the bigger picture and how to promote our members better, from within the organization!
Mech - Keith, What is the best way to use lead-core?
Chatman - What is the N.P.A.A. web site addy?
Warren -
Chatman - There is also a link or two on Walleye Central for the N.P.A.A.
Warren - I hope I did that right...
Keith Kavajecz - The annual meetings are usually in South Dakota. It might be there, might be somewhere else, it really doesn't matter. What matters most is to get the group together, do some educational programs, maybe have a bunch of companies come in an hold team meetings. Maybe even have a fishing outing. Much still has to be planned out.
wolf walleye - Keith, I joined about 2 weeks ago (N.P.A.A.) and I haven't received anything yet. Is that anything to worry about or should I call?
Keith Kavajecz - With lead core there are two methods. Straight lead, with a 10-foot leader, for bottom/structure fishing or spliced lead core (one, two or three colors) for open water fishing. Spliced is the best way and it's the way that won me the championship!
Slapshot - I think with the right promotion and angler support the N.P.A.A. will grow and expand into something we can all hang our hat on! 
Mech - So, do you use both methods Keith?
Keith Kavajecz - Wolf Walleye, there should be nothing to worry about, but don't hesitate to call or e-mail, to check on the status of your membership. By the way, we are getting about 2 or 3 new members a day!!
Chatman - Two or three a day? That's awesome!!
wolf walleye - I signed up as a Registered Pro.
wolf walleye - I just hope I make the cut.
Keith Kavajecz - The reason I decided to run for the board is because I feel there are many of us who are proud to be a part of the N.P.A.A., proud of our number and truly believe, that as a group, we can make a difference in the professionalism of our sport.
wolf walleye - I agree.
Slapshot - I totally agree Keith and I support you and the N.P.A.A. #82
Chatman - Keith, do you troll straight lead core in shallow water like the locals at Lake Pepin do?
Mech - Keith, I will be fishing small tourney on Lake Francis Case this spring. What would you suggest?
Keith Kavajecz - Chatman, straight lead is how I won the championship. I was fishing in 4 to 8 feet of water and using my kicker speed to dictate the depth the lead went, and therefore where my lure went.
Sunshine - Keith, I'm always amazed with the new tackle ideas that you and Gary come up with. Anything new coming soon?
Chatman - What are the advantages to using straight lead core in shallow water like that?
Keith Kavajecz - On Lake Francis Case for lots of fish, pitch a 1/16 Fireball and minnow or Power Jig Worm. For bigger fish you might try vertical jigging some of the deeper channel edges, right close to town. Lastly I'd troll shad raps on lead core on the old channel edges, that's how Backer won last year. 
Wallydog - Keith, the PWT Championship will be held on my home water of Portage Lake and the attached waterways. Have you ever fished here and if so, how did you like it?
Mech - So if you want to get stick baits down deep, 20-30ft, you almost have to use segmented lead?
Slapshot - To help Keith out a bit, I would think using the straight lead in water like that, you can control the depths of your lure so much better with speed changes.
Keith Kavajecz - Sunshine, I just got some new lure colors for Husky Jerks! Some look like they'll be great for Lake Erie! The XPS series of in-line weights, spinner bodies and holographic blades is really catching on big time too! Of course there are other things in the works but I'd have to kill you if I told you them! LOL!!!
Keith Kavajecz - Portage Lake? I have never fished there but I am looking forward to it.
Chatman - How far away from the boat will the lure be and doesn't the boat spook the fish? And are you using divers or stick baits?
Keith Kavajecz - For open water to get stick baits down, segmented lead or Snap Weights work very well.
Gu - What are the XPS series of in-line weights?
Darren - Keith, did you get your new Lowrance products? (LCX104's)
Driftr - I have used lead core in 10' of water at one of my local lakes, it will consistently produce the better fish!
Driftr - Keith, how do you segment?
Keith Kavajecz - Sorry if I can't keep up, just re-do your question if I miss it.
Chatman - It is easy to overwhelm a guest host with 28 users in the room...
Keith Kavajecz - The XPS series? Instead of using a regular in-line sinker, we shaped some to look like a fish, then we put on a holographic finish. You run them ahead of your spinner and it acts as a weight and an attractor.
wolf walleye - What color Husky Jerks, or cant you tell?
Juls_OH - Keith, congratulations on your board member/presidents seat on the N.P.A.A.! Hope to see some good things to come...;-)
Gu - Where do you get these XPS series weights???
Mech - I've ordered a new X-19c for the console of my boat, I also want to install the new FL-10 flasher, will the two interfere? Is there a way to use them both at the same time?
Keith Kavajecz - If you want to know how to segment lead core, you might want to read an article we just put out on It goes through the process in detail.
Driftr - Thanks Keith!
Keith Kavajecz - The new color Husky Jerks? There is a new one with a dark purple top, translucent sides and bright red belly. I like it!
Mech - Thank you for the lead core advise and website addy.
Chatman - Are there also some articles on your Pro Page here Keith? 
wolf walleye - That sounds good.
Keith Kavajecz - You can purchase the XPS series at Bass Pro or The Next Bite.
Gu - Thanks Keith!
wolf walleye - And you don't have to paint them then!
Keith Kavajecz - Yes, we also have articles here, just look for the ones about trolling.
Slapshot - It is a great website Keith!
Keith Kavajecz - No painting, no adding flash tape, it's really meant to replace the inline spinner and small spoon many of us were using.
Chatman - Cool Keith!
wolf walleye - I agree on the web site!
johnnyfisherman - Keith, What are your thoughts on the new Reef Runner shads?
wolf walleye - That cuts down on the fine-tuning.
Keith Kavajecz - The new Rip Shads look good but the walleyes will be the judge. I'm ordering some!
Chatman - I always like having new lures to play with!
Mech - I ordered mine today! (rip-shads)
Swede - Do you use homemade lures Keith?
jfish - Keith, with all the traveling your profession demands, how many days are you home in a year?
ETT - They like 'em a lot Keith!
Keith Kavajecz - Homemade lures? Probably closest thing is tying my own spinners. 
Swede - Ok, but not buying handmade lures?
Keith Kavajecz - I am home about 100 days per year and my family travels with me in the summer to tournaments, so it's not too bad.
Slapshot - That is why I am still single!! ;) LOL!!
jfish - I was just wondering, since I travel a lot and hate being away from the family.
Chatman - It was nice to see the whole family with you last weekend too Keith.
Chatman - Your kids were red hot at the trout pond too!!!
Keith Kavajecz - I do buy some homemade lures. I am looking at buying some hair jigs from a Hutch guy. I used to use them a lot at Red Wing and I don't know why I got away from them.
wolf walleye - The Wolf River is a good place to use them also.
Juls_OH - Hutch has the best!
Keith Kavajecz - That was nice of the guy to let Mikey fish for free Ralph, or I'd have gone home broke!!
Sunshine - Hutch is great and the jigs are awesome!!
Mech - Keith, what is your favorite planer board rod?
Chatman - LOL!!
Gu - Keith, you are one of the best open water and structure crank bait trollers period! Are there any tips for us rookies, on open water and structure trolling, that will help us boat more walleyes? 
johnnyfisherman - Keith, do you invite people to pre-fish Saginaw Bay with you?
Merc Man - Keith, what is your favorite motor and Why?
Keith Kavajecz - I like the 8&1/2 foot Walleye Angler Rod. The extra length allows more board spread and a softer tip for partners to reel in and fight big walleyes.
lotwguy - Good answer!
Mech - Walleye Angler rod? Is that a brand name?
Slapshot - Yes it is a Bass Pro Shops brand.
Mech - Thank You.
Keith Kavajecz - Here is a trolling tip: On open water, fish at or above where you are marking fish on your depth finder. On structure, the dingier the water the closer to the bottom you have to keep your lure. And think behind you when structure trolling, the lure depth not the boat depth is important!
Dutchman - They are sweet trolling rods!
Mech - I've been using 8 1/2 foot medium action down rigger rods, is that similar?
Keith Kavajecz - Saginaw Bay is often a summer tournament and my boys pre-fish with me.
jfish - Keith, with all the different water that you fish, what is your favorite body of water to fish?
Gu - Keith, how often can walleyes be found right under the surface of open water? Any specific times? Clouds, flat water etc.?
Keith Kavajecz - Down rigger rods tend to be a little more flimsy. You'll need a rod with a better backbone to hold the weight of the inline boards, snap weights and the pull of the crank bait.
Mech - Thanks Keith.
johnnyfisherman - Is Northland coming out with any new colors this year? (Jigs)
Keith Kavajecz - My favorite place to fish has to be Fort Peck in Montana. Big fish and lots of scenery!!
Swede - If you got cranks sent to you, would you use them & send an honest reply Keith?
wolf walleye - Not Lake Winnebago, Keith?
Keith Kavajecz - Gu, look for surface fish during summer, on hot muggy days, often associated with a bug hatch or a baitfish hatch.
Keith Kavajecz - I always check out new stuff people send me, and try to give an honest evaluation of it.
Gu - Years ago on Lake Erie, they were right under the surface in April? Any thoughts as to why???
Mech - I see that this year for the PWT in South Dakota, they moved back up to Mobridge. Do you like it better up there or would you rather have stayed in Chamberlain Keith?
Keith Kavajecz - Lake Winnebago is a great place to fish, lots of spots, lots of techniques but it burns my butt too often! That usually happens when you know "too" much about a body of water.
wolf walleye - I know what you mean!!! 
Chatman - LOL!!!
Chatman - Bago is not ever nice to me in a tournament!
Keith Kavajecz - Walleyes are on the surface to feed. By the way, they may have been sitting 16 feet down but in clear water they feed up when the food swims above them. The clearer the water the further they will move.
wolf walleye - Sorry to hear that Chatman.
lotwguy - Keith, I am looking forward to the big show in May up here on Lake Of The Woods, I've enjoyed watching the festivities during the past tourneys. I'm curious as to what your strategy will be up here. I'm not asking for any secrets, just a broad stroke of what you think it will take to win?
Swede - You might use the wrong tools Chatman!! LOL!!
wrg668 - Keith, are fishing out of a Tundra again this year?
Chatman - I love fishing there (Bago), it is just fairly mean to me during tourneys though.
Keith Kavajecz - Obviously I will be looking at the shape of the river and the fish up there. I'll also looking at stuff similar to what Johnny Peterson won on. I think transient fish, also keeping a pretty open mind about cranking up there will be most important.
Keith Kavajecz - Yes I will run a Tundra, no doubt about it. It will be a 21 footer, like last year. I'll have a 250hp OptiMax XS hanging on the back! Rock and Roll!!
lotwguy - I'd guess the river will put out the best weights at that time of year.
Warren - How far would you travel in a tournament, on the chance of a good bite?
Keith Kavajecz - The river may be the place to be, a lot depends on the spring season and current flow.
Mech - Well one thing about Mobridge, you should be able to enjoy some peace and quiet, there isn't hardly anything up there.
Keith Kavajecz - I would drive to the boundary if that's where the winning fish are! Gary Parsons once went more than 100 miles, one way, and won at South Dakota!
johnnierat - Keith do you know if the Gold Cup Line counter reel comes in a left-handed crank and could you tell me how you like the reel?
wrg668 - When did they stop making the Targa 2000, and which boat do you like better? The Tundra or the Targa?
Mech - That's Dedication.
Chatman - That is a lot of seat time!!!
Keith Kavajecz - The Gold Cup series does not have a left-handed reel. I loved the Reel, and won the championship with it! The nice thing is you can combine it with a Walleye Angler Trolling rod for only $79.99, total!!
johnnierat - I saw the combo but I guess I need to crank the other way!
Smeagol - Keith is there any news on the N.P.A.A. and Cabela's?
Keith Kavajecz - WRG668, Tracker asked Gary and I that same question, after we ran the 21 Tundra last year. We said the Tundra was a better rig. They saw no reason to keep the Targa line. I did hear you could special order one though, it really was a great boat!
lotwguy - Just turn it upside down and crank backwards Johnnie!!
Keith Kavajecz - There is still nothing definite with the N.P.A.A. and Cabela's, but it looks good. I will keep everyone posted, they seem like they are really stepping up to be a great sponsor of the N.P.A.A.
Mech - Keith, Do you have a favorite treble hook that you use on your cranks? Do you change them or go with what came from the factory?
Mech - And do you mess with trimming the bills?
Keith Kavajecz - For years I have been using Mustad Triple Grips. I typically run a lure for a while and if it starts to catch fish I switch to Triple Grips so I don't loose any fish that are nice enough to bite. 
johnnierat - What is your suggestion for rod holders? I'm looking to add them to my Alumacraft, TP. But I need flush mounts for when I take the kids swimming. 
Slapshot - Keith as a member of Team Cabela's it sounds like they are going to come up with some nice programs for the N.P.A.A. From what I can tell they are really making a push and this would be a great way!
Willy - Keith, do you ever tie the Triple Grips on your spinner rigs?
Keith Kavajecz - I am not much into trimming lure bills. There is nothing worse than figuring out one crank that catches fish and you can't reproduce it! That lure will, for sure, be the first one you loose.
Mech - Ha! ha!
Keith Kavajecz - As far as rod holders go, I'm not real up on flush mounts. The other thing I do is mount them on the inside of the boat and use a rod holder with a longer throat so they stick up over the gunnel. I like the R.A.M rod holders.
Mech - Keith, Do you have a favorite Hi-Vis line that you use when the need arises?
Keith Kavajecz - I agree, Cabela's seems to want to keep the market in their back yard, that's good for us walleye anglers.
Keith Kavajecz - Since XT Solar is no longer available, I use Solar Fire line for vertical jigging and Solar Sensation for pitching.
Mech - Thank You.
Warren - Keith, will you and the N.P.A.A. be getting more political for things like the Missouri river?
Mech - Great Question!!
Gu - Keith, what is the fastest speed you would ever troll for walleye, and when?
johnnierat - Is there a place one can look to see the different lines and what applications they're best for?
Keith Kavajecz - The N.P.A.A. has a legal committee and we do want to be involved with those issues. We just have to get the members to step up and volunteer to represent us. I, and the other board members, will not be doing it all on our own like Mike McClelland so graciously did for years.
Warren - I was thinking of having postings of representative's connections to contact first.
Mech - I would be glad to help anyway I can!
Keith Kavajecz - How fast is fast? I once trolled 4 to 5 mph on the Mississippi River on Lake Pepin! I actually had my 225 kicked up from idle and had a wake running behind me! I trolled #5 shad raps, on lead core, in 5 to 8 feet of water!! The aggressive walleyes that were striking at the bait.
Slapshot - Same here! I have been on a rampage on my website the past few days because of the Corps meeting involving the Missouri River. Certainly a soft spot for me since I grew up on it and still live on it.
Chatman - That is another local trick at Lake Pepin, they troll really fast sometimes...
lotwguy - That's fast man!
Keith Kavajecz - As to comparing different lines, we are writing articles all the time on techniques and normally mention the lines. Look here at the Pro Pages or on We have a Search feature so you can see all the articles, tips, etc. that relate to lines.
MikeS - Yep, just on the inside of the channel markers at the head of the lake.
spinner - Keith, do you use triple grips on crawler harnesses?
Keith Kavajecz - I use Triple grips on the back hook of an open water spinner, a size 4 hook. I also twist or offset each hook about 20 degrees, but only on spinners.
Gu - Keith, do you think bright or shiny Dipsey Divers scare walleye? That is, vs. dark or plain colors.
MikeS - Or what about clear instead of colored?
spinner - Keith, have you or do you use jets to troll with?
Keith Kavajecz - I think bright ones, like our XPS inline weights might act as attractants at times. Remember, dipsey's are typically only used where there are big populations of fish, (Erie, LOW...) in most places a dipsey or downrigger may spook fish.
Keith Kavajecz - I have used Jets, I used them in Dunkirk last time. These are another good depth control device.
Warren - Keith, would you mind if I posted the Core Of Engineers site for charts of the Mississippi River?
Keith Kavajecz - I don't mind, it's up to Walleye Central I guess.
Chatman - Not a problem here Warren..... 
lotwguy - I thought I was the only person running dipsey's and scorpions on Lake Of The Woods!
Warren -
Swede - Over here you often get hits on down rigger weights, by giant northern pike!!
spinner - Keith, thank you for the info.
Warren - There are no depths on the charts but all the wing dams and stump fields are there.
Keith Kavajecz - Giant notherns? I believe it! By the way, where is over here?
Gu - Keith, what length were your leads when you used the jets on Lake Erie?
Swede - Central Sweden, Europe.
Keith Kavajecz - A typical lead would be 6 to 8 feet long Gu. The same as a dipsey. (I assume you are talking about line from the diver to the lure)
Mech - Keith, what month of the year is the best time for catching big 'eyes' in the north country??
Carroll - Did you get your boat yet Keith?
Chatman - Has Keith missed any questions so far?
Keith Kavajecz - I would say fall is the best time to catch big walleye. The fish are bulking up for winter. In open water (ala Escanaba) look for them on sharp breaks close to deep water (use creek chubs)
Mech - Thank You.
fatboy - Keith, is there much freeboard on that Tundra, with a 250 on the back?
Keith Kavajecz - Got my boat being rigged right now, it has a new "Pro Edition" (maybe not actual name) option package. There is an etched in stripe, even though its aluminum and a fancy live well/oxygen system. 
Dutchman - Keith, What lake maps do you prefer?
Gu - Keith I need to slowdown a big boat while trolling. Would you go with 1 or 2 sea drift anchors?
Keith Kavajecz - The proto-type 21 foot Tundra's we ran last year had 250 EFI's on the back. With the 25-inch transom we had no problems with waves coming in over the back.
fatboy - Thanks, I was just wondering.
lotwguy - Those Tundra's are sweet, I'm stuck in my good ole Targa 1900 for a few more years, it's still working!
Keith Kavajecz - Dutchman, I have been using the Navionics maps (not the Hotmaps) on my GPS's. I do like the Lake Master maps and I talked to the guy at a show this weekend. It looks like they will be available on Lowrance this summer! Otherwise, the best maps are old maps. Ones with lots of notes on them.
Gu321 - Keith do you prefer bearings or bushings on line counter reels??
Keith Kavajecz - The reels I use now have bearings, and they held up great last year!
Mech - Keith, you have every crank currently made in your tow rig? If factors are such that you can ONLY TAKE THREE crank baits out in the boat with you, what are those THREE baits?
Gu321 - Thanks Keith!
Mech - Oh, and it's the last day of the tourney.
Chatman - Wow! The hour is slipping away........
Mech - Also, what size and color please.
wolf walleye - Keith do you ever pitch jigs in the woods, in spring, for pre-spawn walleyes?
Keith Kavajecz - only 3 baits? Of course that depends on where I am but if I could only take 3 for all of walleye fishing, a #7 Shad Rap, #4 Jointed Shad Rap and Deep Jr. Thunderstick are my picks. Notice all are fairly shallow running, I still have my lead with me!!
Chatman - As we wind down has Keith Missed any questions?
Mech - Thanks for being a sport and coming through with a good answer.
Capable Partner - Thanks Keith! Have a safe season!
Den - Good luck Keith!
Chatman - Ladies and Gentlemen, a hearty round of applause for Keith Kavajecz!!!
johnnierat - Thanks Keith. Congratulations and Good Luck in '03!
Gu321 - Good luck Keith!!
wolf walleye - Clap, clap, clap!
Dutchman - Clap, clap!
Gu - Keith, thanks again for all you've done for the sport! Good luck in '03!
Chatman - Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap!!!!!
Darren - Keith, have a good night! I have to pack for the Kansas City show!
Carroll - Clap, clap!
Mech - Clap, clap, clap!
iamwalleye1 - CLAP!!
Warren - Clap, clap!!
Audrey - Clap, clap!
lotwguy - Thanks Keith, see you guys when you're up here to the woods, good luck in '03!!
Juls_OH - Gotta run too, good luck this year Keith, and congratulations again!
Keith Kavajecz - Glad to come on board! I'll have to try to do it more often. Good Walleye Fishing to all next year!!
Gu321 - Clap, clap!!
Chatman - Feel free to stick around as long as you'd like Keith.
fatboy - Keith, piggy season is coming soon! Good luck!
Slapshot - Thanks Keith! Great info as always and I wish you the best on the water this season!!! Just go easy on me? ;)
Chatman - Great chatting with you, it's been too long since you were last here.