Well, it’s a new year, and I’m hoping it’s better than last year, as 2020 really stunk. We were asked to stay home, wear masks and social distance. Businesses were shut down and some were open with drive-in type services or limited in the number of people that it could serve. As things changed drastically, it was tough on small businesses like mine.

Because of COVID, the outdoors was one of the safest places to be. You could keep 6 feet away from your family members or fishing partner and enjoy many outdoor activities.  

Recently I contacted one of the outdoor-related companies I promote, looking at obtaining one of their new units.

They ordered their products a year or more in advance, thinking that it would be a year similar to the last, but that was wrong.

As COVID hung around, people surely didn’t want to get the disease, but they were tired of being stuck at home and, after six or more months of it, needed to get out.

This was good for the outdoor industry last year as new lines of products sold out so fast that there were no new items. Between online deals with electronics taking longer to produce than some products, and with COVID hanging on, businesses don’t expect the new 2021 product to be in stock later this year or perhaps even closer to next year.

In my last column, I talked about some of the new products that were released for the 2021 season. This column will deal with some open water tackle.

My fishing partners used new butterfly rigs on the Missouri River when other baits, including most spinners, crankbaits and others, just weren’t producing or the fish were in a slow mood.

The fish wanted a slow presentation, down to 2.5 miles per hour or even less. This bait, attached to a small bottom bouncer, produced walleye on every pass. Not only were the walleyes hooked on this rig, all the anglers in the boat also were hooked.

It has a polycarbonate blade with a 60-inch snell, two with two size one blades, one that’s a size 1 7/8-inch and a second a size 2 3/8-inch blade. Each gave off a different vibration and had super sharp hooks, including slow death hooks that work at slow retrieval speed, even through weeds.

A new tackle bag features a double-sided design with gull wing-like doors on the top. The bag is designed to hold up to 12 tackle boxes. It comes with eight boxes to get things started. It also features #8 and #10 nylon reinforced zippers for a long, rust-proof life and waterproof bottom to match the wet conditions that’s found in boats and on the bank.

For you bass anglers, a remarkable rig technique developed in Japan and introduced into the United States has been found to be deadly on largemouth and smallmouth bass. The rig combines the natural presentation of finesse fishing with the speed of power fishing — a deadly blend of tactics that bass can’t resist.

The rigs use an off-set shank worm hook with an elongated drop shot weight attached directly to the eye with a solid ring. The drop shot weight has a snap allowing anglers to quickly change the size of the black-painted weight, allowing control over the depth and drop speed of the bait and the position of the weight lets you feel the bottom. This allows the angler to detect changes in the bottom, and its solid ring allows the plastic bait to float freely and rotate from side to side as it goes to the bottom and slips through vegetation with ease.  

This multi-jointed bait with its life-like swimming action runs in a wide range of retrieve speeds. It sinks slowly, creating a stable action at faster retrieve speeds, yet it still allows the lure to remain in the strike zone when you stop or twitch the bait. Swiveling hooks increase catch ratio by not allowing the hook to push against the body where the fish can become unhooked. The lure weighs 2 3/16 ounces and is 7 inches long, with a pair of super sharp VMC 1/0 trebles and available in nine fish catching colors.

These are just a small few of the newer baits and tackle that you’ll find on the market, many of which I’ll have in water once the open water season starts.

In other news

LINCOLN — Venture to a tackle shop where ice-fishing gear is on display and you will see aisles filled with ice-fishing rods and reels. The first thing you will notice about that equipment is the length. The rods are short. They are short to allow anglers to fish closer to their hole.

LINCOLN — The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission adopted wildlife regulations that enacted a Special Landowner Deer Season and allowed the purchase of a bonus or a preference point with regard to big game hunting at its Jan. 13 meeting in Lincoln.

LINCOLN — Due to deer depredation issues, Nebraska’s late season in the River Antlerless areas has been extended for residents only through Jan. 31, 2021, through Secretarial Order by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Well, it’s a new year, and I’m hoping it’s better than last year, as 2020 really stunk. We were asked to stay home, wear masks and social distance. Businesses were shut down and some were open with drive-in type services or limited in the number of people that it could serve. As things chang…