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Gary Howey

” IN 2017

2020, What a Year! By Gary Howey

Entered by Gary Howey

Former tournament angler, hunting and fishing guide. Inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing "Hall of Fame" in 2017. Active member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW), Past Executive Director (AGLOW). Howey has been an outdoor communicator since 1980 with his award winning syndicated "Of the Outdoors" columns appearing in magazine, newspapers, and tabloids throughout he upper Midwest and nationally.

December 30, 2020

The new ice fishing gear out this year, like the Vexilar FLX-30 BB Ultra Pack Ice Fishing System and other new gear will make it much easier for anglers to locate and catch fish, using better lures and ice shelter during all fishing conditions.

(Photo contributed by

  Looking back on 2020, Wow what a year, the Pandemic has really put it to us, but there’s hope, for next year.

  Because of some health problems, radiation, my outdoor activities were cut short, so I had plenty of time to get my boat ready for spring 2021.

 When I fished tournaments and guided, I had numerous new 17- and 18-foot new sponsor boats, with all the bells and whistles: bow mount trolling motor, big engine, kicker motor, numerous electronics GPS/locators, rod holders all over the place as well as air ride seats.

    One of my friends recently retired and traded the Alumacraft boat I sold him many years ago and bought a beautiful, big fancy walk through two window loaded Tracker boat, unfortunately, he used it twice before getting hit by Covid, and he’s now trying to get his lungs back in shape.

  He’s like myself, is looking forward to a Safe, Happy and Healthy 2021 where we can hit the water and do some serious fishing.

  Now that I’m cutting back on the numerous things I used to do, my older 17-foot boat will work well, has a smaller motor and a kicker, several locators, a half a dozen rod holders for trolling, six horizontal rod holders, two strap rod holders a rod holder and several tool holders, with enough room for my partner and I to be 6’ apart.

  This year, the outdoors was one of the safest places you could be and as long as you wore your mask, could do about anything you wanted in the outdoors.

  Since there’s good ice on a lot of lakes, ice fishing has really taken off with good limits of crappie taken from Nebraska’s Sherman Lake and Lake Wanahoo in Nebraska?

  Throughout the summer the fishing on South Dakota’s Walleye Factory, Lake Francis Case was excellent and should continue to be good going into 2021.

  The Glacial Lakes in northeastern South Dakota, Watertown, Desmet, Lake Preston, Webster and Ortonville, MN produced well during the soft water and with the decent ice, are starting to give up some excellent fish this last season and again should be good for ice fishing.

  Some areas have decent ice, but with the snow that’s falling, the ice that will be covered up, is now insulated and won’t freeze hard, so if possible, avoid walking or stepping onto ice that has heavy snow cover.

  I’m waiting for the snow to decrease and more ice to build before I get into big of a hurry to go out.

  There’s a lot of new ice fishing gear available this year, including the Vexilar FLX-30 BB Ultra Pack Ice Fishing System with Digital depth readout. with Its unique brushless data transfer design gives you breakthrough flasher display performance with digital depth.

   Its Auto Ranging technology, gives the angler the brightest, sharpest, longest-lasting flasher display on the market with more features than any other flasher sonar system.

These new features in the FLX-30TM BB has the features anglers were looking for, which includes: depth, auto range, 3 zoom zones, 5 color palettes to select from for maximum visibility, 3 manual depth setting ranges down to 300′, a day and night display brightness settings, and a low-power options for fishing in super-shallow water and a unique weed mode gives you better performance while fishing in the weeds.

  More information on the Vexilar line of products you’ll want to go to

  Now that there’s a vaccine available, perhaps 2021 will open up, return to somewhat normal, where we can enjoy each other’s company, shop and go into those businesses, those companies that are struggling, not open, and if open allowed to be open to only a half or less of their capacity will have the opportunity to open at 100% with the new year looking much as it did before Covid.

  Next week I’ll talk about early ice fishing and the tackle that will help you to be more successful during first ice, allowing you to bring home more fish this season.

   Wishing everyone a Heathy, Safe and Prosperous HAPPY NEW in 2021!










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