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Gary Howey

” IN 2017

Do the Change Up When fishing is slow! 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.

January 21, 2016

I know there isn’t much open water left to fish; this is the time of the year when we should be plenty of time to read and think about things that occurred on the open water, this column mentions one of those times!

What I’m writing about happened to me numerous times over the years and I am sure it will happen again, where I have spent a lot of time running from one old hot spot to another looking for fish.

When I was beginning to think that there was not a walleye in the lake and about to stop for the day, I finally located some active fish with my locator.

My eyes were glued to my locator and I was working my way back and forth over this one particular area several times when suddenly, I spotted fish in 15 foot of water, those big lazy arcs indicating the presence of fish and by the size of the marks on the locator, these were good ones!

Since they were located right on or just a foot or so off the bottom, I guessed they were active walleyes and immediately marked the spot.

Grabbing a couple rods set up with live bait rigs, I probed the 15’ along the drop off where my locator indicated the fish were holding.

It did not take long for me to realize that these fish were in a negative mood and were not interested in what I was offering.

I started going through my tackle bag, switching from one walleye bait to another, going with my old standards, a spinner with a crawler, leech and even a minnow, a Northland Roach live bait rig with a crawler, throwing a jig and leech and finally a crawler on a plain hook with just a split shot, all to no avail.

These fish were not in the mood, no matter what I was shoving in front of them they just laid tight on the bottom refusing to move.

Once again, I started digging into my tackle box, looking for something different the walleyes may not have seen before, looking at baits used for some other species, something, which might get the fish’s attention, and to pull them out of their negative mood.

That is when I decided to do a Change Up and try “The Old One Two Punch”. It was a method I had used a couple of times in years past while fishing in Kansas to get lethargic walleyes to bite.

The One-Two Punch is not anything fancy; it is just something different that most walleye may not have seen before!

Mille Lacs Walleye

Mille Lacs Walleye

I pulled a # 1 red Stand Out lever action hook from my tackle bag and started thinking about how it may work to get the fish to bite.

Bass anglers have known about Tru Turn, Red Alert Stand Out lever action hooks for years, using them on drop shot rigs.

These hooks come in several sizes with one that will work for walleye and panfish s they come in several sizes from size 1-6.

I attached the Stand Out hook eighteen to twenty inches up my line, unlike other hooks which hang down against the line, these hooks stand or stick out away from the line.

Then I added a jig at the bottom of the line, using different weight jigs ranging from ¼ or 3/8-ounce, the size, depends depending on the depth of the water I am fishing and the amount of current I will be facing

On this bottom of this rig, I prefer using a stand up jig as it holds the bait up off the bottom, putting it right in the face of the fish.

Now you have the One Two Punch rig ready to go where the Stand Out hook and bait leisurely gliding along a couple of feet above your jig.

This rig works in several ways, as the jig drags along the bottom, kicking up a cloud, with the business end of the jig is off the bottom. This type of jig not only catches fish, but it also acts as an attractor to the bait riding higher in the water.

The disturbance caused by the jig attracts the fish lying on the bottom and will take active fish; while the Stand Out hook catches those fish cruising higher up in the water column.

On this trip, after switching rigs, I managed to take some excellent fish, several in the eighteen to twenty inch range with the largest coming on the “One Two Punch rig tipped with leeches.”

There are days on the water when your old standby may not work and these are when you have to give the fish something different in order to entice them to bite.

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