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Early Season Crankbaits By Gary Howey

  When Bill Christensen, Hartington, Nebraska asked if I would want to go fishing the following Monday, I was ready as I had not done much open water angling for some time.

  Bill is a crankbaiter, loves to pull cranks throughout the year, which works very well, as you can cover more ground and takes the more aggressive fish.

  I had all weekend to finish my next week’s column, and time to re-spool my two main jigging and livebait rods with lighter line, just in case the crankbait bite was off.

  When we arrived at Santee, the dock was crowded with Santee police, tribal game wardens, along with a dozen other folks who were loading up to head out and look for an four wheeler accident victim.

  They asked which way we were heading and asked if we happen to see anything to dial 911 and let them know.

   Bill’s a  crankbaiter and likes pulling # 5 & # 7 Rapala and Berkley Flicker Shads using line counter reels spooled with 14# Berkley Fireline, its smaller diameter line allowed the baits to dive quickly and deeper, yet, when needed, had the strength to land large fish.

  The reels, coupled to eight and ten-foot rods allowed us to spread out the lines, with the longer rods fished out each side and the shorter ones running straight out the back of the boat.

  Once our rigs were ready, we checked to make sure that our baits were tuned correctly, running straight in the water, as if they are not, they go through the water erratically, not running smoothly, in a way that turns off the fish.  They will also run off to the side, running shallow. getting snagged up or tangling with your other lines.

  This time of the year, with the higher water, there s a good chance there will be a lot of trash coming down the lake, grass, weeds, twigs and even logs and when this happens, we clip a small split shot about two to three feet above where the crankbait is snapped onto the line.

  The split shot on your line intercepts grass, weeds etc. from following down your line, ending up on your bait and messing up its action.

  But, It did not take us long to realize that even with a split shot above, the heavier current and trash coming downstream there was  trash getting by, fouling up the action of our crankbaits. [Read more…]


Going Deep when it’s Hot By Gary Howey

Here, lately, there have been days when I wondered if the warmer weather would ever get here. Right now, it may not seem like it, but have no fear when it arrives, it will be with a vengeance. When it does arrive, it will warm up quickly. This along with the higher humidity will be the perfect combination for nasty weather and of course, tougher fishing conditions.

This is the time of the year, when fish will have to adjust with numerous conditions. These will include low water, high water, rising water temperatures, rising, falling barometric pressure and the summer’s bright sunlight all making walleye fishing during this time of the year, the Dog Days of summer tough.

Anglers are going to need to adjust, heading for areas with deeper water, those with less sunlight penetration as this is where the fish will be located when temperatures heat up.  With the rise in water temperatures, walleyes and other species of fish will head deep, searching out comfortable water temperatures.

These deep-water haunts provide the cooler water temperature the fish need to survive when things heat up.  Another reason is their food source, the baitfish has moved down, bringing the predator fish with them.

There are several methods allowing you to take these Deep-Water fish; those that have worked well for me are leadcore line, snap weights or downriggers pulling crankbaits.  During this time of the year, the movement of the fish can vary drastically, especially just prior to a sever weather change. [Read more…]