|Gulp Alive minnows are a great alternative in the winter months. They are durable and convenient to store. Plus, they are much easier to hook than a wiggly minnow when your fingers are frozen. Best of all, walleye love ‘em!|
While using minnows to tip jigs is a proven combination when fishing for river walleye during fall and early winter, the colder temperatures can make that strategy a challenge. So instead, I rely on artificial minnows such as Berkley Gulp! Alive! minnows to spice up my leadheads.
From a tactics standpoint, there’s not a lot to say regarding using Gulp Alive minnows compared to the real thing. Which is kind of the point, I guess. In situations where you’d use a fathead minnow to tip a jig, do the same, only with the Gulp Alive minnow. The availability of various sizes allows you to come up with a balanced jig-minnow combination for your specific need.
In my case, I’m either vertically jigging, as the boat drifts slowly along a deep river pool, or I’m casting up on shallow flats where I expect foraging walleyes to be.
For the vertical jigging approach, I can use a leadhead like Bass Pro Shops’ XPS walleye jig in the ¼ ounce size, even ⅜ if it’s deep, as in over 20 feet, and/or windy. If I want a compact offering, I’ll run the hook down the “minnow’s” mouth, and back out its head, the same as you can do with a real minnow. Using a 3- or 4-inch Gulp Alive minnow, is a good approach when the fish are biting short, and you're missing them.
If I want a bigger profile I can add a soft bait such as a Berkley Power Grub, then pinch off the tail. This allows plenty of room (hook gap) for the addition of a 2.5- or 3-inch Gulp Alive minnow, which is hooked through the lips.
When casting up to the shallows, the same presentation options are available. Just drop down in jig weight to ⅛ ounce if necessary.
Another trick is to use a bucktail jig such as the Luck E Strike bucktail (or tie your own bucktail jigs via tips provided in a past blog on Bass Pro Shops 1Source) and dip it in the Gulp Alive juice. Give it a dip initially, and refresh it occasionally. The hair will provide a gradual dispersion of scent and flavor. I’ve caught plenty of walleyes doing this, and though I can’t verify I wouldn’t have caught them without the juicing, the practice has perked up action during slow times. I‘d say it falls in the “can’t hurt” category.
|Dipping a bucktail in a fish attractant like the Gulp Alive Juice gives your lure the extra oomph that can make all the difference.|
Though the purchase of Gulp Alive minnows might seem pricier than live minnows initially, over the course of a winter they are probably more economical. They stay on the jig, fish after fish. You can pick and choose your sizes and colors. You can leave a jar stored in your boat for instant use during days when you hadn’t planned on using minnows. They don’t flip around while you’re trying to hook them with half-frozen fingers. And most of all, walleyes eat them as well as the natural item.