• October 2012 - Volume 15, Number 3


    Bay Springs Lake has transformed into one of the best spotted bass lakes in the South, which doesn’t surprise this veteran guide.

    Although he didn’t know it at the time, Roger Stegall got a glimpse into the future while he frantically tried to find a fifth fish to finish a limit during a Red Man tournament back in 1991.

    After launching at Bay Springs that morning, the Iuka-based professional bass angler ran up to Pickwick Lake to catch most of his fish.

    That effort left him one fish short.

    He made the 35-mile run back to Bay Springs hoping he could catch just one more bass.

    What’s the secret of success for hunters who always seem to fill their tags? Perhaps they just have the mechanics down.

    Ever know a car mechanic who could just give a good listen for a few scant minutes to a sour-running engine and then immediately pronounce what is wrong with it? In a half second they could tell you how long it would take to fix it up and how much it would cost.

    Then they would calmly roll over a big chest full of tools of every kind and go right to work fixing the cause of the engine’s problems. In no time flat, the contraption is purring like a kitten.

    There are deer hunters like that, too. They can diagnose how to best hunt a property with a quick scan of a topographic map or an aerial photograph of the land layout.

    Squirrel-hunting success is often a matter of being ‘pretty danged quiet,’ and a small boat might be just the ticket.

    With dry leaves crackling underfoot, the squirrel sounded like a rampaging buffalo as it scampered across the ground to another tree.

    We couldn’t see our quarry through the extremely thick, nearly impenetrable thickets and low brush common to backwater bottomlands off Pearl River. In early season, thick, green leaves limited our visibility along the ribbon of dry shoreline to just a few feet.

    On the patch of dry ground, brambles, vines, greenbrier and other entangling undergrowth made movement by anything larger than a squirrel virtually impossible.

    This angler maps out the lower end of Ross Barnett Reservoir where fall crappie hang out.

    For Carrollton angler Andy Tackett, the list of things that can get him out of the deer woods during October is short. But what is on that list is the hot crappie action that’s found on his home lake of Ross Barnett Reservoir. Tackett is an avid crappie angler and member of the Magnolia Crappie Club, and loves to fish the lower reservoir when autumn arrives. “The Rez” has somewhat of a dual personality when it comes to crappie fishing. Many anglers are familiar with the upper-lake region and all of the great crappie fishing found there during most months of the year. In addition, much of the standing and submerged timber tends to keep the numbers of recreational boaters — meaning water skiers, jet skiers and general joy riders — to a minimum.

    The Leaf River provides a scenic and productive opportunity for float trips. Here are some tips to load the boat.

    The Leaf River narrows so the water flows over just one end of a log jam and into a pool of deeper water. The flow is wide enough for a canoe to pass without problem, and Harold Turner guides the canoe to the shallow side of the bend where it rests in the eddy current below the log jam.

    Baiting the bream hook he had affixed to a fly-line tippet, he threaded a large grasshopper onto the hook and stripped line from the reel with gentle pulls.

    Two pumps, and the hopper landed 3 yards above the rapid flow. Stripping line into the canoe Harold kept slack out of the line as he could. The grasshopper entered the rapids and disappeared, the line goes taught, the rod doubled and the fight was on.

    It took two seasons, but this hunter finally took the largest buck ever killed in Lauderdale County. Here’s how.

    It was Jan. 18, 2012 — the last day of Mississippi’s zone 1 rifle season. And Ricky Sullivan knew immediately when he saw the buck at 210 yards that it was Pea Vine.

    He quietly opened the window of his shooting house and laid the bull-barreled Remington across the sandbag. The buck neared the woods, and he would soon be gone from the clean cutover and out of sight.

    Sullivan made a loud sound and Pea Vine stopped.

    When the crosshairs looked right, he sent the .308 165-grain Custom Hornady BTSP bullet on its way.

    The giant deer crumpled in place. It was 6:48 a.m.

    Track these three W’s to put more bucks on the ground and trophy racks on the wall.

    It seems the whole world these days is ruled by communication via initials. Electronic forms of communication via a multitude of handheld devices has created a language predicated on a series of short buzz words or sound-bite phrases reduced further to a few letters.

    These letters in triples carry the meaning of the message or an exclamatory remark, such as LOL or OMG or as my daughter sums up most responses with “whatever.” Perhaps all this started with the initiation of the World Wide Web phenomenon, or the www.coms, as we have come to know it.

    Hunting season cranks up this month, so it's time to ambush that big buck roaming your property.