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  • “Chasing Fish” – The Garmin Livescope in Action By Bernard Williams

    With the introduction of Live Sight / Live Viewing in crappie fishing, a new concept or technique has evolved. It’s called “Chasing Fish,” or the following fish until they stop and allow you to present a jig or minnow to them. Months ago, nobody had ever heard of this method. Our buddies out west, in Oklahoma and Missouri, say they invented the chase.

    To be exact, Josh Jones says, “One day I saw a fish come into the Livescope, I dropped the jig, and I could see the fish swim away. Fishing was slow that day, so I decided to try and follow this fish. I could tell this fish was a big one, so I said what the heck. At times the fish would disappear off the screen until I turned the Livescope in the correct direction. Finally, after about 50 or 60 yards, this fish stopped on a small stick-up. I watch the fish from 50 or 60 feet before I eased up to the fish within 12 feet. I dropped the jig down just above the fish, and immediately, the strike occurred. My immediate reaction was, wow, that was fun. I tried it again with the same results.”

    Josh admits that sometimes crappie are spooked to the point they swim away very fast, and they’re impossible to follow. It’s better to move on to other fish. I see lots of guys now claim they can chase open water fish. Some do it with success while others bomb out. I’ve tried it myself, I must admit, it’s a lot of work, but the rewards can be great.

    I fished with Crappie Pro, Brad Chappell, from Ridgeland MS a few weeks ago. We fished Barnett in Madison, MS. Brad called me on a Tuesday about 8 am. I agreed to meet him at the Twin Harbor Landing. Brad is a superb long-line troller. I figured we'd troll for crappie, considering it was a beautiful fall morning. I was wrong; Brad had two jig poles and two spinning reels. “What are we going to do?” I asked, “We’re gonna Livescope them.” Says Brad.

    I love jig fishing; I grew up jig fishing. I started tournament fishing with a jig pole, couldn’t compete with the trollers with a jig pole. The Livescope has changed all of that. I’m not afraid to compete with a single or double jig pole in tournaments anymore.

    We loaded up and headed to some brush-piles off the river channel. Brad aligns the boat, and we drop our jig down to the depth the fish show at, and bam, we both have good crappie. We see larger crappie, and suddenly they disappear. Brad turns the trolling motor and begins to follow the fish. He increases the Livescope distance out to 80 feet, and we see the two bigger crappie stop on another brush-pile. We ease up to the brush pile, and the fish are gone again.

    This time we follow the fish to a small stump field; I guess they felt safer in the stump field. We quickly recognized what stump the fish were holding on. Brad grabs a spinning rod with a small hair jig and makes a cast past the stump and let the jig fall. He then begins a slow retrieve, bam, a huge 2+ pound black crappie. “Sometimes you can get close to the crappie, especially when they’re holding between 6 feet and 10 feet. You have to cast to them. Tony and Mike Sheppard made that pay off at Lake Hamilton.” Says Chappell.

    Our search and destroy method continued for the next few hours. We never put our jigs in the water until we saw the size fish we wanted to catch. This selective catching is something new to most crappie anglers; I know it’s new to me. Most of my jig fishing was dropping a jig by every stump or brush pile I could find until I found the magic pile or stump. Not anymore, we can now be super-efficient and selectively catch the size fish needed for tournament fishing.

    Lastly, to get proficient with any method takes time on the water, practice, practice, practice. The more you do it, the better you become. Jig fishing is hard work. It takes concentration and patience to hold that jig pole all day, but the rewards are tremendous. One last tip to remember, when you see your bait spooking fish, downsize, Josh recommends using a jig as small as 1/64th oz. Sometimes fish are lazy; they don’t want to expend any effort chasing down a 2 or 3-inch minnow or a 1/8th or 1/4th oz. jig.

    Finally, I see anglers going to these $100+ jig poles. They want to be able to swing the fish into the boat. That’s not necessary; a $40 B’n’M BGJP and a net will do the same as a $130 pole, and you get to keep $90 in your pocket. It’s not the pole that catches the fish; it’s the angler. Our equipment is expensive; some things are not necessary to be an effective Livescoper. Bernard
    Comments 15 Comments
    1. "G"'s Avatar
      "G" -
      Good read
    1. Barnacle Bill's Avatar
      Barnacle Bill -
      Can you say "Thank you Roswell"? Think about it.
    1. Ketchn's Avatar
      Ketchn -
      Since the market made these units available most of the professional crappie anglers use the chase method . I know some guys that boated 50 fish over 2 lbs in a day last year in the winter following them around and only targeting the big fish .
      good read
    1. Billbob's Avatar
      Billbob -
      Neat stuff
    1. partsman1's Avatar
      partsman1 -
      Great read !!

      Sent from my iPhone using
    1. Roy's Avatar
      Roy -
      Good read, welcome to modern day crappie fishing,
    1. Fishin' Fool MA's Avatar
      Fishin' Fool MA -
      Great information.
    1. Inkdabber's Avatar
      Inkdabber -
      My comments are just that, my own. I feel live scope fishing, along with side imaging will be the death of tournament fishing due to the lack of participation on the local level. Most folks don't know that side imaging is needed to locate the fish, and live scope is used to dial them in. (Another additional expense) Most folks can't afford a $5,000 +++ sonar units. If you can't compete without one, why would you compete at all. The so called "Pro Circuit" is not that many of these guys/gals are better fishermen, it's that they can afford the technology that makes them appear to be better anglers. I have competed in over 100 tournaments, both national and local events. I've been fortunate enough to have won a couple of Crappie Masters, a couple Crappie USA, and numerous local tournaments. I've used nothing but my fishing knowledge in conjunction with time of year, past experiences, tagged with grit , determination, and always a little luck , You want to level the playing field, remove all electronics from boats, give each angler one pole and turn them loose. The creme would then rise to the top.
    1. Crestliner08's Avatar
      Crestliner08 -
      Thank you Inkdabber!
    1. rodgerso.illinois's Avatar
      rodgerso.illinois -
      Very good opinion inkdabber how I feel also, some are going to get away for another day, cant catch them all
    1. Glad2Bhere's Avatar
      Glad2Bhere -
      Awesome technology... will it work in shallow lakes with lots of cover... most of our lakes are less than 8 feet will lots of lilly pads?
      Thanks for sharing
    1. NIMROD's Avatar
      NIMROD -
      I hate messing with a net, I love feeling the thump then swinging them in . I actually loose less fish not trying to get a net . lol That 13' Phantom by Huckabee gives me a little more reach .
    1. Ketchn's Avatar
      Ketchn -
      Inkdabber makes a valid point , a great angler is quickly becoming reliant on technology to be such .
    1. Crappie ciller's Avatar
      Crappie ciller -
      The answer might be to offer 2 divisions- one with LS and one without. LS has absolutely changed this sport forever with no turning back Inkdabber. I am less concerned with how technology is effecting tournament fishing than with how its going to affect big crappie populations. Recently my son and I caught exactly 40 crappie over 2 lbs in one day using LS of course. Pre LS if we caught 4-5 that size IN A YEAR it was a good year. We turned every one of those fish loose. I hope that our mind sets regarding the release of big fish is changing as we have developed the technology for even average anglers like me to fill the boat with slabs. Since we can most days easily catch numbers of 10-12” fish we have decided to release everything over 1.5 lbs. I would love to catch a 3 pounder some day but first that fish will have to avoid the cornmeal as a 2 pounder.
    1. biscuitsandgravy's Avatar
      biscuitsandgravy -
      He who dies with the most toys wins.....