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On the Water The Firefighters/Paralyzed Veterans of America Memorial “Fishing Event” By Gary Howey

  The weather forecast for this two-day event was going to be a scorcher, but that did not seem to bother the attendees who showed up for this Memorial  event,  some were in wheel chairs, others walked with walkers, canes or assistance from family and friends, another great event put allowing those with disabilities to be involved in.

  Pulling into the staging area, the sound of the lift assisting those in wheelchairs, echoed across the Arrowwood Cedar Shore boat launch parking lot.  To some, it may have sounded rather loud and rough, but to those attending the sixteenth annual Firefighters/Paralyzed Veterans of America Joel Niemeyer Memorial “Gone Fishing “event, it was music to their ears.

  With the help of the lift and assisted by several area students, the anglers  wheelchairs were tethered to by a special lift system that gently lifted them into the boats that would soon take them out onto the Missouri River, giving many of the attendees their only opportunity to get on the water and do some fishing.

  Co-host Josh Anderson and I made the trip up to Chamberlain May 23 to film this 16th annual memorial two-day fishing event.

  The event,  a memorial to Joel Niemeyer, who served as the executive director of the North Central P.V.A. for fifteen years, a strong advocate for veterans and one who truly cared about those who served and the P.V.A. members.

  According to Bill Curry, one of the many organizers and volunteers of the event, the first event had sixteen participants and this year there were fifty individuals from several states as far away as Texas invited along with fifty boat captains and their first mates.

  The boat captains, one of the numerous volunteers helping with this event furnished their boats and their time all in support of those veterans and others invited to participate in this event.

   We would be the official videographers, capturing footage of the disabled P.V.A. members: disabled anglers, firefighters’ and volunteers on the water, fishing and enjoying this wonderful event.

  Once the invitees arrived, their only cost incurred would be their South Dakota fishing license, as the P.V.A. would take care of Thursday night’s lodging at Arrowhead Cedar Shore Resort. With the volunteers and sponsors providing sack lunches, water and drinks in the boats for those on the water Thursday and Friday.  Sponsors along with local volunteers that included the North Central P.V.A., Firefighters from several states, and Veteran’s organizations would be there to provide the Thursday night group dinner held at the Oacoma’s Community Center.

  As the boats started launching, we made our way north, with some boats heading for their secret fishing spots, while others fished off the points and flats along the river near several well-known walleye fishing locations.

  Others motored to the south in the direction of the White River, with some venturing even farther south, hoping to locate that big fish hole that they had found the week before.

  The Ranger bass boat with a 200 Mercury good friend Chuck Doom had furnished us got us up north quickly and when we arrived, several boats were already working the flats, trolling or drifting one ounce bottom bouncers and spinners, or Slow Death Rigs pegged with half a  crawler and a few trying their luck with minnows.

   Others were slow trolling, 1.2 to 1.5 miles per hour pulling up to one hundred feet of line behind the boats using crankbaits, hoping to get into one of the more aggressive larger fish. [Read more…]

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It’s all in the Presentation! By Gary Howey

 

  A few weeks ago, we talked about locating fish by finding the structure they relate to. This article will deal with attracting and catching fish once you have located them.

  Presentation is the way you present or deliver your bait to the fish. It is the key to catching fish because without correct presentation, you’re simply anchoring your bait on or close to the bottom.

  The way you present your bait is important, no matter what bait you are using!  You need to make your bait smell, sound, taste and appear lifelike.

  The key to this is the line, if you are using too heavy of test or weight of line, it can make your bait appear very unnatural as it will run through the water in circles or appear erratic.

  Because heavier line has more memory or coiling effect than lighter line, when used with a lighter lure, it can run through the water appearing unnatural.  If the fish does grab your bait these coils or line memory will create problems not only feeling the bite, but also in setting the hook as you have to deal with all the slack in the line.

  Heavier line also has more resistance so it takes longer for it to reach the bottom. This is especially important when trolling crankbaits as heavier line will not allow your crankbait to dive as deep as the lighter line will.

  Another thing affecting your presentation when using crankbaits, is the way your bait runs through the water, so the first thing you should do before trolling a crankbait is to run it along the side of the boat, making sure that it is tuned or runs correctly.

  You want your crankbait to run straight not off to either side.  If it runs off to one side or the other you need to bend the eye, the wire that comes out of the bait in the opposite direction the bait is running.

  A slight bend is all that is needed to tune or make a crankbait run correctly making for a more lifelike presentation.

  Livebait rigs such as the Lindy or Roach rig allow anglers to use a subtle approach. This method gives anglers a very simple yet effective way to present minnows leeches, crawlers or plastics to finicky fish.

  As I mentioned earlier the key to fishing these rigs and all rigs is to present the bait in a lifelike manner.

  Live healthy bait hooked properly will appear more lifelike and catch more fish.

  Hook your leeches through the sucker, allowing them to coil and uncoil, string your crawlers out so it flows through the water and hook your minnows and soft baits through the front part of the lips or eyes, which keeps then straight and with live bait allowing them to last longer on the hook.

  When livebait fishing, yo will not have to worry about loosing your bait as you would when jig fishing because once the bite or tug on the line is felt, the angler releases line, allowing the fish to take the entire bait and hook into it’s mouth.

  You will not want to get caught in the trap where you think your worm, leech or minnow looks good enough, as in order to consistently catch fish with this rig and any other you need to redo your bait often.

  If your bait is not moving or squirming or if you feel a bite, get hung up on weeds, rocks or other debris, replace your bait as fresh bait will out produce old bait 100% of the time.

  When jig fishing, your presentation is not quite as critical as yo will create the lifelike motion by jigging your rod up and down.

  Again when using livebait on a jig, replace it often, keeping fresh bait in front of the fish as much as possible. This is not something you will need to worry about when using plastic baits. [Read more…]

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Walleyes throughout the Season By Gary Howey

  Open water anglers have been not so patiently waiting for the ice to come off the Missouri River reservoirs, and once it does, a mass migration towards the river begins as vehicles pulling boats head out to take advantage of the “Pre-Spawn” bite and the first open water.

  The bite prior to pre-spawn on the reservoirs was slow as the fish were in their, “neither moving, nor eating much” winter mode.  

  Those who ventured out onto the ice of the reservoirs caught some good fish, using small jigs, jigging spoons and live bait rigs suspended just off the bottom all tipped with minnows.

    With the fall of the water temperatures, these fish moved into deeper water where both the males and females prepared for the spawn with the females finishing the development of their egg sacks.

  As the daytime temperatures warmed the water, with longer days and more sunlight, the ice started to disappear the walleyes begin to become more active and to feed more. 

  Walleye and sauger in our lakes and reservoirs moved up from the deeper water, into water adjacent to their spawning areas. During pre-spawn, fish feed very little, while they hold off the points and gravel bars, waiting for the spawning conditions to be right.

  This time, there will be some fish will bite, but one needs a ton of patience to catch these fish as we found out two weeks ago on a  walleye fishing excursion to Lake Francis Case.      

   Water temperatures were just above freezing at thirty-four degrees, with a slight breeze that came and went, as the wind died, the little open water we had went glass smooth, the fish became inactive and the bite died.

  The fish we caught were big, we caught them slowly jigging quarter ounce or smaller jigs tipped with larger minnows and live bait rigs worked along the bottom.

  We marked numerous fish on the points and gravel bars, loosing several we hooked when they threw the hook before we could get them to the boat.

  It was a tough bite as the four of us took seven big walleyes in a long day of fishing, not setting the world on fire, but giving us the opportunity to get on the water to escape those cabin fever blues.

  Walleyes living in the reservoirs, fed heavily in the late fall and as water temperatures declined, moved into deeper water where they conserved energy in preparation of the spawn. [Read more…]