• July 2012 - Volume 14, Number 12

    Features

    Biloxi’s Back Bay is full of fish, if you know how to work the fluctuating saltwater line.

    When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to open the Bonnet Carre Spillway in Louisiana last year, Capt. Bryan Cuevas with Mega-Bite Fishing Charters out of Biloxi saw an interesting phenomenon take place.

    As fresh water from the Mississippi River pushed farther and farther to the east out Lake Pontchartrain, through the Rigolets and eventually into the Mississippi Sound, Cuevas saw the size of his speckled trout increase.

    Gulf-strain striped bass once roamed the entire stretch of the Pearl River Valley prior to the construction of the Ross Barnett dam. Nowadays, these fish are engineered for a life of impoundment.

    The secret to catching fish, any fish, is to be where they want to be. To be successful in this endeavor you have to locate the fish and, hopefully, entice them into eating, or at least biting, what you have to offer.

    In the middle of last summer, Zachary Young and his pal Brad Chappell found themselves situated between steps two and three while fishing the lower portion of Ross Barnett Reservoir.

    Look to this Tenn-Tom Waterway reservoir for action throughout the long, hot summer.

    If bass fishing is your business, or just a pastime, Columbus Lake is a definite destination for you.

    Located on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, the lake is as scenic as it is fishable. That may be the reason four major bass tournaments chose to use the lake in 2012 alone.

    With 123,000 acres of water and hundreds of miles of fishable shoreline, a bass angler could fish every day for a week and never fish the same water two casts in a row. There are points and bars, troughs and islands, channels and cuts, ditches and, well, you should have the picture.

    This month we track crappie guide John Woods as he shows us 10 of his go-to locations for catching slab crappie on Sardis Lake.

    Modern technology has certainly paved the way for turning a large number of fishermen into “catchermen.” Still there are days when it seems there’s not a fish to be found. Those are the days you wish you could push a magic button on your electronics and have it display the exact location of every fish in the lake. Sound far fetched? Not so far as you might think, and crappie guide John Woods can attest to it.

    Sometimes it just makes sense to take smaller-antlered bucks, particularly when those deer are interfering with the goal of harvesting large-racked bucks.

    In today’s age of whitetail management the understanding and practice of mandatory antler restrictions is under way. This approach primarily allows yearling bucks protection so the animals can reach whitetail maturity with sizeable racks, as well as sound age structures and buck-to-doe ratios.

    Hunters afield are also starting to pass on legally harvestable bucks — giving these deer the opportunity to reach full antler growth.

    Shaky heads can be the key to turning around an angler’s tournament day. Here are some tips on how to use the diminutive rigs.

    Charles Ellis fished his way around a riprap point while making pinpoint casts with a 4x4 Shaky Head rig and finesse worm. Ellis worked the lure methodically yet deliberately until he suddenly dropped the rod tip and whipped the rod back and drove the steel hook home.

    A lunker bass exploded through the water, shattering the smooth near-mirror finish of the surface. The lunker pushed the scales near 6 pounds, and was typical of the bass Ellis expects to catch on the Shaky head.

    Some towns are allowing limited hunting to combat expanding deer populations. Here are some tips on capitalizing on those opportunities.

    It’s no longer a surprise to see deer in town.

    “When I drove up Interstate 55 just north of Jackson where the highway merges with I-220, I saw four bucks standing beside the road,” James Bennett said. “This is right in Madison County. It was just a miracle that the deer I saw were not hit on the highway.

    “There was a time when this happening would have been a rare event worth spreading the word to colleagues and friends. Now it’s such a common occurrence that it’s no big deal anymore.”

    Biloxi's Back Bay is a fishing paradise. Small-racked bucks could set back your management program.