A couple of winters ago I was really hard up for some walleye fishing when all of a sudden we had a warm spell in the middle of the February so I hooked up my boat and headed down to the river for some cold water walleye fishing.
I was told at the bait store that they had no minnows yet, but they had buckets of Berkley Gulp minnows. I had heard of the Berkley Gulp minnows, but I had yet to try them. Since I really needed to get out on the water, I selected a bucket of 3 inch long Berkley Gulp Minnow in emerald shiner.
After purchasing the product we headed to the river. In February, there were not many other boats on the river, but I knew that the walleyes would be concentrated in the deep holes. Actually, the Illinois River has a great population of saugers, which are the first cousin to the walleye.
After quickly launching we headed to our favorite deep water spot and quickly attached the lures to our favorite jigs.
The Gulp minnow is a minnow-shaped, soft plastic lure that is meant to be threaded onto a lead head jig. When threading one of these baits, enter the bait with the tip of your hook into the dimple of the thick end of the bait. Thread the hook through, exiting just below what looks like it should be the fish's belly. When you are finished, look at your jig-bait combination. When you hold it up it should look natural. By natural, I mean it should be free of bends or kinks that are caused by the hook.
I mentioned in the previous paragraph that the Gulp minnow is meant to be threaded onto a jig. A three-inch long minnow will look very natural when it is used in conjunction with a 1/8, 1/4 or 3/8 ounce jighead. These sizes come with big enough hooks to handle the 3 inch long minnow.
the 2.5, 3 or 4 inch long minnows will all catch walleyes. I prefer the 3 inchers simply because I have caught so many fish using them.
So we were on the Illinois River in the middle of February with no minnows. We dropped down into the deep hole and began jigging. After dropping my jig down I twitched it a couple of times and then I felt that "thump, thump thump." My entire body went numb when I reared back and felt the weight of a fish on the end of my line. I hadn't caught a fish i a couple of months, it was all I could do to shriek with excitement. After bringing the sauger in, I realized that I was using the Berkley Gulp minnow, I had found a new bait that works, this was going to be a great day!
Since then I have used the Gulp minnow on several occasions and have caught not only saugers, but walleyes, large and smallmouth bass, hybrid stripers and even crappies.