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I’m a “Fan” of Turkey Hunting By Gary Howey

  It was twelve or so years ago, when I suggested to my  hunting partner Larry Myhre that we should come up with some type of turkey fan that would help us sneak up on Gobblers. He thought it was a good idea, but said it sounded like work and he was looking for less.

   That next spring, I took one of my turkey fans that I had spread out and dried into the field with me, didn’t have much luck with it and abandoned the idea.

   Since then, I’ve used then every spring and have fooled more long beards with them than I had every thought possible.

   Several years ago, my Outdoor Adventures radio co-host Simon Fuller was operating the camera as I called in a group of young birds using a combination of my calls and the fan. They five of them came into my decoys feeling brave with all of the birds fanned out as they approached my jake and hen decoys.

 As they surrounded my jake decoy, I made the raspy call of an old gobbler, raised the fan and all five of the birds about dirtied themselves as they did their best to get away from my fan.

  On the same hunt, using my fan and calling, I called a hen a long ways and when she came within sight of my decoys lost interest and started to move away. However, when I brought my fan back up, she came within arm’s reach of me and refused to leave, I think she fell in love with my turkey fan. I finally had to chase her away as she was messing up my turkey hunting.

  Later that day as we were heading back towards town with my Honda Pioneer, we spooked a big Tom that took off running across a pasture. Down the road a ways, we spotted two gobblers and a hen bout a 1/2 mile away, in order for the birds to hear and see the fan, we crawled through the pasture, with my fan out in front of us, up to the fence line and started calling. I watched the birds with my binoculars and each time I called, they would gobble but not leave the hen.

  Simon had the camera zeroed in on them as I brought the fan up high and worked it from side to side, hoping to get the birds attention, but to no avail. Suddenly I saw the gobbler, the bird we had spooked as we came in, on the other side of the gobblers and hen and each time I raised the fan, he would head in our direction.

  He ran right past the other birds and came in our direction and each time the fan came up would strut and gobble, coming closer all the time.

  When I said “the birds coming in”, Simon who was still locked on the two gobblers and hen disagreed with me and wasn’t sure what I was talking about. By this time the bird was out a 100 yards or so when I told Simon “can you hold this fan up as I can’t shoot and run it at the same time” that he looked my way and spotted the gobbler out in front of me. [Read more…]

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Setting the Hook The Key to Landing more Fish By Gary Howey

  It’s said that a definition of a fisherman is a jerk on one end of a line waiting for a jerk on the other end.

  You know there’s some truth to that statement!  If you don’t jerk or set the hook properly, you’re going to do a whole lot of jerking, not much catching and then feel like a jerk when you miss the fish.

  It’s happened to all of us, you feel a tug or a little extra weight on the end of your line and you instantly jerk back, which at times works out well!

  There can be quite a bit of difference when and how to set the hook and a lot of it depends on what you’re fishing for, what action rod you’re using and what type line you have on your reel.

  Let’s look at it from the fish’s point of view?  The fish is just lying on or near the bottom when along comes a tasty looking morsel, in this case a jig with a minnow. He  glides up to it, looks it over, decides it’s just what he’s looking for, flares his gills, sucking the bait in only to have it jerked out of the side of his mouth.

  What’s wrong with this picture?  Well to begin with the best place to hook a fish is in the top of the fish’s mouth, the boney part of its mouth, not in the side where there‘s very little bone and a whole lot of soft skin.

  So when you set the hook it’s best to pull straight up, because you have a better chance that your hook will penetrate the top of the mouth.  If you pull to the side, you’re more apt to pull the hook away from the fish or hook him in the soft tissue in the side of the mouth where it can easily pull out.

  If you’re using a live bait rig or jig and feel a fish pick up your bait, your best bet for a good hook set is to reel up the slack line eliminating any bow in your line.  Once you feel the weight of the fish on your line bring the rod tip straight up not side ways, forcing the hook into the top of the fish’s mouth.

The way you set the hook is extremely important with crappies as their mouth is paper thin on the side and a hook set to the side may result in the hook tearing through the side of the mouth.

  By reeling up the slack line, you’re removing the bow in your line, shortening the distance between the end of your rod and the hook, allowing you to drive your hook home with less effort.

  This is especially important if you’re using monofilament line because mono has a tremendous amount of stretch. In order to set the hook using mono, not only do you have to use enough force to penetrate the hard, bony top of the fish’s mouth, you also have to pull hard enough to make up for the stretch in the line.

  If you’re using one of the super lines like Fireline and Spider Wire, it’s a completely different story.

  To get the inside scoop on these super lines and how to fish them different, I contacted Berkley, the manufacturers of both Fireline and Spider Wire.

According to the folks at Berkley, “you’re going to have to fish super lines differently than you will mono since super lines have no stretch.

  If you fish Fireline or Spider Wire the same way you fish mono, you’re going to end up pulling the bait away from or tear it out of the fish’s mouth.”

  For walleye fishing, they recommend a rod with a fast, limber tip as this takes the place of the stretch in the mono, giving you a little give when you set the hook.

 

  When fishing for Bass, Pike and Muskie, you’re going to want to go to a moderate action rod which not only gives you a little give when you set the hook into these hard hitting, hard charging fish. The heavier rod will have enough backbone to drive the hook home and be able to bring them to the boat.

  This is especially true in current as you need to be quick with your hook set, but not so quick that you rip the bait from the fish.”

  If you’re fishing super lines in shallow water, it’s a good idea to go with a Medium Light rod.  In medium depths a Medium rods will work well and when you’re fishing water deeper than 25”, he’d recommend using a Medium Heavy rod.

  With super lines, you let the rod set the hook and that’s why a quicker tip rod works well.

The main thing you need to remember to become a more consistent catcher and not a jerker is to make sure that you reel up all the slack line once you feel a bite, that bring your rod tip straight up, driving the hook into the top of the fish’s mouth.

  If you set your hook to the side, more times than not, you’ll pull the bait away from the fish or tear the hook through the soft tissue on the side of the fish’s mouth.

  By keeping a tight line, you’re going to detect more bites and by setting the hook by bringing your rod straight up, you won’t believe how much your fish hooking ability will improve.

 

 

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Howey and Myhre Inducted into Hall of Fame

           Two area Outdoor communicators will be inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Sioux Falls 50th Annual Sportsmen’s Show.

          Gary Howey, Hartington, Neb., and Larry Myhre, Sioux City, Iowa, will be inducted at 3:30 p.m., March 11 on the Seminar Stage at the Sioux Falls Arena. Professional walleye angler and Fishing Hall of Famer Ted Takasaki will conduct the ceremony.

          Howey, originally from Watertown, S.D., and a Viet Nam veteran, has been an outdoor communicator since 1980 when he began production of The Northeast Nebraska Outdoorsmen newspaper. He sold the Outdoorsmen magazine in 1995 when he created the Outdoorsmen Adventures television series, which airs throughout the year in seven upper Midwestern states.

          He has written a syndicated Of the Outdoors column since 1980 for newspapers and magazines.

          In 1990, he developed Outdoorsmen Productions, an outdoor-related promotional company.      

          In 2009, he produced the first of his Outdoor Adventures radio shows which he co-hosts. The show airs six days a week in southeast South Dakota, northeast Nebraska and northwest Iowa.

          A former hunting and fishing guide, Howey has given fishing seminars in South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa.

          Over the years, Howey has won several local, states and national awards for his print, radio and television work. [Read more…]

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Larry Myhre’s outdoor columns will be missed By Gary Howey

In Larry’s column this week, he said goodbye as he wrote his final column for the Sioux City Journal after 44 years. Myhre has been my fishing/hunting partner, my mentor and my best friend for many of those years.

  When folks read Larry’s columns, he didn’t just write about the fishing and hunting, his columns were so well written, so descriptive that his readers felt as if they were right there with him.

  On many of our excursions, our columns were written about the same trip, but after I read his, I wondered if perhaps, we weren’t writing about the same trip. Sure, the fishing and hunting we both wrote about was the same, but the way Larry describe our location, with every little detail, the sunlight on the trees, the sound of the water coming down the creek and other little things made his column jump out at people and they just couldn’t put it down and had to keep reading. [Read more…]

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Keeping your Body warm in Sub Zero Temperatures, Cabela’s X-Bionic Base Layer By Gary Howey

  As an outdoorsman, I spend countless hours outside when it’s cold. In the winter, we’re on the ice, while in the summer, our crew is on the water and as fall arrives, you’ll find us in the field, and in deer stands.  I’ve always had problems keeping warm, especially in the late fall when hunting waterfowl, ice fishing and .

   If I wear the heavy bulky clothing I used to wear in these conditions, I have trouble bringing my shotgun up and just moving around in bulky clothing.   

  When we have to walk great distances as we do when calling predators or getting to our deer house or stands, if I layer up, by the time I reach where I want to set up or get to the deer stand, I am sweated wet and will be cold from that point on.

  During the late pheasant-hunting season, in early winter when you are one of the walkers, if you dress too lightly, you’re cold and if you dress too heavy by the time, you reach the end of your first field you’re overheated and are cold. 

  I’ve tried everything, layers, long johns, polypropylene long underwear and almost everything available, but some are not enough while others are too much.

  Later last fall, I’d heard many good things about Cabela’s X-Bionic Base layer First-On-Skin-Energizer that was developed by Swiss scientists, the system they scientifically proven and patented.

  The advertisements indicates that the 3D-Bionic Sphere System maintains your body core at an optimum 98.6 F no matter what the temperature.

  I’d tried everything else, so why not try the X- Bionic base layer. When I opened the package from Cabela’s, it was obvious these were like no other base layer I’d seen as they are constructed much differently. The advertising on the X-Bionic indicated that it was designed to turn perspiration into therm-regulating power and I was looking forward to see if what they said about it was true.

  Woven into the chest and back area is there 3D-Bionic Sphere System that starts working as soon as you start to sweat, to cool you when you’re hot and warms you when you’re cold but without over-cooling.

  Built into the material, there Air-Conditioning Channels, a ventilation system that continuously carries moisture away, keeps you warm,  allowing the air to flow to parts of your body not normally accessible when wearing other base layers. [Read more…]

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It’s the little things In fishing By Gary Howey

  With 68-degree temperatures predicted the week I’m writing this column, I’m in the mood to get ready for spring fishing.

  Last spring, I was in such a hurry to get out and do some summer fishing, I threw things into my tackle bag and didn’t think about re-organizing it. Unfortunately, I did the same thing with my fall fishing gear and now my tackle bag looks as if a bomb went off in it. My walleye spinners are intertwined with my live bait rigs and my jigs and crankbaits stuck together.

  Most of the time, I’m Mister organized, but not this time of the year as everything is in turmoil and I have to get things straightened out before the water opens up.

  All of my Plano 3700 tackle boxes in my walleye tackle bag are lettered; jigs, live bait rigs, crankbaits and bottom bouncers, so I know where this gob of tackle that’s stuck together should go.

  The first thing I’ll need to do, because it takes the longest is to untangle my live bait rigs from the spinners. This is a real pain, especially now that most of my tackle is tied with lighter line and my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be.

  I went to lighter line on these to eliminate the coils or memory that I had with the heavier line. With the heavier line, the spinners and rigs didn’t lay out as smooth or run through the water straight, so by going to lighter line, my line has less memory.

  Once I have them untangled, I’ll coil them, put them in small Ziploc bags which allows me to see what’s there and return them to my livebait tackle box. It may take a little extra time, but worth it when I hit the water this spring.

  Next, I’ll work on my jigs, the ones that were not only tangled with my other baits, the ones that were wet when I threw them into my bag.

  It doesn’t take much to clean them off; all that’s needed to clean them is to wipe them off with a clean rag. On jigs, the first thing you’ll want to do is to remove any hardened bait; minnows, pieces of crawlers etc. that wasn’t removed before you tossed them into your tackle bag. If you were using Berkley Gulp, it may take a sharp knife to cut through it, as Gulp will become rock hard if not returned to its original airtight container.

  The main thing you need to pay attention to before putting them away is the hook; you want to make sure it’s sharp. To check it for sharpness take the hook and run it across your fingernail, if it’s sharp, it should scratch the nail.  If they don’t, grab your file or diamond hone and sharpen them until they do.

  With crankbaits, you’re going to have to wipe them down, get the crud off them and then check the treble hooks, when crankbaits snag, the treble hook is the culprit and to get them loose requires a lot of pressure, which can bend or disfigure your treble hook. Check them to make sure they’re straight and if not, straighten them using needle nose pliers. You shouldn’t need much pressure to bring the hook back in line but, if the hook has become rusted, it may break off when you straighten it. If it does, it’s not a problem, as replacement treble hooks are easy to find. Now you’ll want to check to see if the treble hooks are sharp and if not, sharpen them as was mentioned previously in this column.

  This time of the year, when there isn’t a whole lot to do in the outdoors it’s a good time to get your tackle cleaned up and if your tackle boxes inside your bag identified, as it makes it easier for you to find what you need on the next trip. [Read more…]

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Ice Fishing at 50 degrees By Gary Howey

  There’s something to be said about ice fishing when it’s fifty degrees, it’s not the type of weather you usually associate with ice fishing.  For one thing, your hands and the rest of your body isn’t as cold as those minus thirty-three wind chill days you had been on the ice. That day when we traveled five hours north with a film crew and had to film as we had been invited up by one of our sponsors and the day before wasn’t as bad with the weatherman indicating that the following day wouldn’t be all that bad!

  On fifty-degree days, you can fish without heavy gloves, making it easier to untangle your lines when a fish makes a run, wrapping up two of them and it’s much easier to tie on or bait ice fishing micro baits without wearing gloves.

  The best thing about it is you don’t have to bribe your friends to go ice fishing with you.

  When the forecast for Friday February 10 was for fifty-degree weather and little wind in the morning, it sounded like a good time to hit the ice.

  Some of my fishing partners were worried about the ice and not having enough ice but after I assured them that there was eight inches a few days before, they were all in.

  Dani Thoene and I hit the ice first, with Dani punching holes and me following up behind him to clean up the ice mound around the hole and scoop them clean.

  Larry Myhre, Sioux City, IA. pulled in shortly after we arrived and set up on one of the holes to the east of where I was fishing.

  Ten minutes later Anthony Thoene arrived and began fishing not too far from where Larry had set up, with Melvin Kruse rounding out our crew.

  We’d be fishing on a privately stocked pond in northeast Nebraska, one that I’d fished in open water and knew there were some big fish patrolling the depths as on one occasion, I was fishing with heavy line and was broken off when a big fish hit my lure and broke me off in open water.

  We all had Vexilar locators, showing letting us know when fish moving in on our baits, but as many fish do in the winter, they weren’t overly aggressive.

  I rigged up a live bait bobber rig with a minnow and jigged with another rigged tipped with a wax worm hoping to entice a crappie. Larry, Dani and I were doing a number on the smaller bluegill and bass, with two or more of us pulling fish up at the same time.

 A thick red line, indicating a fish moved up under my bait, I raised my bait just a bit, as I waited for the fish to move up to the bait, I watched the sensitive spring bobber at the end of my rod as it will indicate a bite long before you feel it.  [Read more…]

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Learning from Past Experiences! By Gary Howey

  I remember while growing up in Watertown, SD, about all the things there were to do and how I wanted to try to do all of them!

  I also remember that several of these things weren’t what I really should have been doing.  My folks were always there to set me straight and would give me that old line, “you don’t need to do that, you could get hurt” and so on and so forth!

  Well after many years of contemplating their statements and many years of wondering how they knew so much about this subject.  I’ve finally concluded that they knew because when they were young, they probably tried it or had a friend that tried it and “got hurt!”

  We all learn from past-experiences and as an outdoorsmen or women, we really should rely on those past-experiences to give us insight on what’s going on around us in the outdoors.

  Take for instance a guide trip that I had a few years back, I had two of the toughest clients that I can ever remember taking out.

  It was late October, a warm October, but none the less October and in my neck of the woods; it’s that time of the year when water is about as close to becoming ice as it gets.

  Well these guys insisted that I take them out as they wanted to take advantage of the warm day, it didn’t make any difference that the water temps were in the 40’s, it was a nice day and they wanted to fish.

  Well as anyone who’s ever been on the water knows that at 40 degrees, fish aren’t exactly bouncing off the wall, heck, they’re hardly moving. [Read more…]

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Figuring Out Spring Fishing By Gary Howey

  To me, it seems like this has been one long winter and unfortunately, there’s a lot of it left! It hasn’t been overly cold, but the wind has been blowing a lot. I like winter to a point, for ice fishing and predator calling, but each year, it seems like I like winter less.

  When the weather has been decent, anglers have been on the water below the Missouri River dams hard.

  Like any other area we fish, the more boats you have out, the better your chances are that someone will locate a concentration of fish. Once people hear that fish are being caught, there are going to be numerous boats on the water during the nice days.

  The majority of the walleyes, sauger and bass caught during the early spring are probably going to be those smaller aggressive males.

  Catching small fish isn’t all-bad because those smaller fish are a good sign for the fishing in the future, indicating that previous spawns were successful and at least there’s something jerking on the line.

  It won’t be long before these smaller fish will be legal size and the fishing down the road should be good.

  The walleyes that they’re catching below the dams now are fish, which started their movement upstream last fall and wintered over below the dam in preparation for this spring’s spawn.

  The larger females will be the last to come up and they’ll set up in the deeper water, waiting for water temperatures to warm up enough for the spawning to begin.

  The walleye & sauger begin spawning when water temperatures hit around 48 degrees, which, during most years is around the first part of May.

  However, who knows, with the temperatures changing the way they do, it could happen earlier than that!

  You’ll find that the smaller males will bite throughout the spawning period, as they are traveling around looking for receptive females and will exert more energy than the females that are in a holding pattern.

  Fishing for the females can be slow up to, through the spawn, and as much as two weeks after the spawn, as the spawn is harder on the females and they will require more time to recuperate.

  After recuperating, the females will go on a feeding binge, as the spawning ritual has taken a lot out of them. This feeding binge, where they’ll feed heavily could last as long as a month.

  After the spawn, with water temperatures warming, all fish will become more active and begin to feed heavily.

  As the water warms, you’ll find the walleyes prowling the shallower water looking for their next meal, generally cruising in 15 foot of water or less.

  Remember just because the walleyes are on the bite, doesn’t mean they’ll be dashing and darting here and there grabbing everything in sight.

  Walleyes like all fish are cold blooded and their metabolism is directly related to the water temperature, so they’ll still be in their slow mode until summer temperatures arrive.  [Read more…]

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Cold Weather It’sTime To Be on the Ice Gary Howey

  As the wind howls through the Black Hills Spruce in my front yard, I busy myself re-arranging gear that I’ll need to load in my Dodge Ram.  I call this the “In Between Time”, when I and other outdoor people are coming out of one outdoor activity and getting into another.

  Since we just returned from a late season pheasant hunt in the Watertown, S.D. area,  I still have my shotguns, shells, chaps, hunters orange and cold weather clothing loaded and once the wind dies down a bit, I will transfer it to my office loading dock.

  Once it is unloaded, I will get ready for my next outdoor adventures, “Ice Fishing” starting to load my Vexilar locator-underwater camera, five-gallon buckets, ice sled, rod & reels, tackle and auger.

  I love ice fishing, and with the gear and clothing we have today, it takes a lot to drive me off the ice. I really do not enjoy being out in ten below weather when a strong northwesterly wind is blowing my ice fishing sled and me all over the ice.  However, when the wind lies down and the sun comes out, I am game for any kind of ice fishing.

  In Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota there are numerous bodies of water that I love to spend time on ice fishing.

  In Nebraska, several lakes in the Valentine area hold excellent numbers of fish taken through the ice. Merritt Reservoir is one of these, as I like to fish it for walleye, crappie and bluegill. [Read more…]