John's Journal...


How to Use a Satellite

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: You can have your cake and eat it too. Charlie Ingram, a bass fisherman on Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Alabama, on the Georgia/Alabama border, practices catch and release when he fishes for bass. But he also takes home a mess of crappie for the skillet on almost every outing. Ingram has developed a technique for bass fishing that allows him to catch big bass and large crappie at the same time. The bass go in his back livewell, and he shows them to his buddies at the marina before he releases them. He puts the crappie he catches in his front livewell and never opens it until he arrives at home. Then he takes the speckled sides out to fillet. While fishing a jigging spoon at almost any time of the year, Ingram catches crappie weighing 3/4-pound to 2-pounds each. Also when fishing a jigging spoon in these same places, Ingram takes bass weighing 2- to 10-pounds each.

Click to enlargeThe last time I fished with Charlie Ingram I told him we really needed to catch a big bass to use for photography. Ingram said, "I've found an underwater stump out on the end of an underwater creek channel point that drops off into the main river channel. I usually can go to this stump and catch a fairly nice-sized bass. Sometimes I find that stump difficult to locate. However, if we can find it, I believe we can get a large fish for your pictures."

As we motored out of the marina, I dug my hand-held GPS receiver out of my gear bag. I had put the Alabama-Georgia chip in it to give me a very-detailed description of the area I'd fish. I also could mark spots to fish. When we finally pinpointed Ingram's secret stump, I marked the spot as a waypoint on my GPS receiver. As soon as we started fishing our jigging spoons, I caught and released a 2-pound largemouth. Joe Price, another fishing buddy of mine on the trip, caught two bass and a crappie. Ingram took a 6-pound hybrid-striped bass. We'd gone back and forth over the stump for about 45 minutes or an hour before Ingram gave up and agreed to move to another site.

Click to enlarge"I really thought we could catch a big bass at this spot," Ingram said. "But that big fish must not be here today. We'll come back later and check this place again before we leave." Ingram got up from his pedestal seat on the boat. I looked at my GPS receiver and realized each time we had gone back and forth across the stump, the receiver had marked a visible trail on the screen. When I looked at the screen, I could see that the dot marking the stump had turned into a black spot with trails going back and forth across that spot.

"Charlie, look at this," I said as I showed Ingram the screen. "We've come across that stump from every direction except from north/northeast. Let's go across the stump one time from that direction, and then we'll at least have covered the stump from every point on the compass." Ingram agreed to make one more pass over the stump. As I watched the screen on my GPS, I noticed the last pass seemed to Click to enlargecomplete the spokes of a wheel going into the hub. Just as Ingram reached the stump with the front of the boat, a fish hit his jigging spoon, and his rod bowed up. A 7-pound largemouth came up and tried to tail walk on the surface. As surprised as the fish, Ingram, Price and I finally got the bass in the boat. We all had learned a good lesson and a new technique for fishing invisible cover.

"I was ready to leave that stump," Ingram commented. "If I had, I'd have missed that big bass. That GPS taught me something I never knew before. If you can see the direction you've traveled each time you pass over underwater cover, you can more thoroughly fish that cover and catch bass you would have left if you hadn't used the GPS receiver."



Check back each day this week for more about DOUBLE DIPPING SPOONS

Day 1: Where to Fish in the Summer
Day 2: How to Find Cover
Day 3: How to Fish the Jigging Spoon in Deep Structure
Day 4: How to Use a Satellite
Day 5: What About Pesky Bass



Entry 302, Day 4