Gulp vs. Live Bait On September 12, 2013

The Master Gets Schooled!
Or, What I’ve Learned About Artificials for Walleyes
By Bruce “Doc” Samson

Over the past 30 years, walleye fishing has been a major element in my life. Early on, I learned from the boat seat of Jerry Anderson, one of Mille Lacs best guides ever. Since, then, with live bait, the trophy case has added eight major walleye tournament wins and many more “should-haves” while using live bait.

However, I have seen the new wave, and decided that 2013 would be the year when I went back to school to learn the latest techniques. I did that with two guides who are on the water hundreds of days under all conditions every year. I wanted to see up close and personal what so many walleye guys were talking about (and yes, doing well in tournaments) with jigs and plastics.

I have had some experience while participating in five artificials-only tournaments, and even though I am not a novice, I know I needed to completely understand why and how walleyes reacted to these “new” tactics so well. Being a doctor for so many years, perhaps it is my nature to learn all I can about something that bugs me. Here’s what I did – I contacted and spent time with two South Dakota guides who never use live bait anymore.

Joe Honer ( – 320-260-6143) knows all the glacial lakes in the northeastern corner of South Dakota well. I met friend Cody Roswick there, and we did what his customers do, we all fished with Berkley Gulp!

Joe likes Gulp Minnows and Gulp Minnow Grubs in 2 and 3 inch lengths. Colors: chartreuse, black, and white. He also uses Gulp nightcrawlers in all colors and sizes. Joe taught me:

1. Fish prefer all types of Gulp, but their preferences change day to day.
2. Crappies and bluegills will bite the 2-inch baits.
3. White was the best color the days we were there. Joe said that’s often the case.
4. His next best color has been two-tone with white and another color.
5. With Slow-Death presentation, he uses the Minnow Grub.
6. He may never get married again since he has a fish-cleaning sink in his bedroom.

I met Hutch (Kent Hutchinson) many years ago on the PWT tour. We both fished live bait most of the time, and did quite well. Hutch guides on Lake Oahe out of the Pierre area ( – 605-220-2844), and like many of the top Missouri River guides, the slow-death method is a big part of every trip.

He uses the Gulp nightcrawler in watermelon or pumpkinseed colors when marching the slow-death rig behind a bottom bouncer. Speeds up to 1.5 mph seem to trigger walleyes with the Gulp crawler on the Aberdeen hook. Hutch tips:

1. Go faster, up to 1.5 mph.
2. Add a snap swivel to the leader where it attaches to the bouncer to prevent line twist at 1.5 mph..
3. Catch five walleyes on one Gulp; catch one walleye on one live crawler.
4. Best Thing: No coolers or ice to babysit.
5. Quickly adapt to other species with different styles of Gulp.
6. No decisions on how much bait to buy.
7. You never run out of Gulp. Start with plenty and use it trip after trip.

Will I be using more Gulp in the future? You bet! I will keep experimenting with tactics, colors, and determining what works best in the varied conditions and depths.
Watch my website for regular reports, and also see what other walleye anglers are accomplishing with Gulp. This is the “new wave” of walleye fishing. Ride this wave.

Go Fishing, the Clock is Ticking
Doctor Sonar

by Bruce Samson under fishing tips

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