Jug-fishing champs’ secret: ‘A lot of patience and a little beer’|[07/27/08]

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 27, 2008

It’s a simple sport – jug fishing.

Picture a jig-less, baited hook fixed to a line that is attached to a floating piece of fluorescent-painted PVC pipe. The “jugs” are tossed into shallow water. If the angler is lucky, a catfish will be at the end of the line when it’s pulled up.

“With everything being high-tech these days I think it’s the simplicity of jug fishing that makes it so appealing to people,” said Tim Carpenter, owner of Eagle Lake Lodge & Outfitters and an organizer of jug-fishing tournaments. “It’s a fun, relaxing and inexpensive way for anyone to spend a day on the water.”

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Carpenter held his first jug-fishing tournament in Vicksburg on Saturday and said he plans to host another at City Front next year. For seven hours, a handful of teams braved close to 100-degree temperatures – all to toss jugs into the Mississippi River and Yazoo Diversion Canal.

If you goEagle Lake Lodge & Outfitters hosts four jug fishing tournaments a year. The next will be Aug. 23 in Greenville. To register or for more information, call Tim Carpenter at 601-279-2610. “It’s about having a good time while promoting fishing, Mississippi and our great public landings,” Carpenter said. “It’s a great activity in the summertime when not much is biting besides catfish.”

Greg Vickers and Brian Ray of Greenville took home the first-place trophy. Their haul of 15 catfish tipped the scales at nearly 60 pounds. It was the second jug-fishing tournament in which the two have participated. They also took first place at a tournament in Greenville last year. They said it’s mostly luck, but there is some skill involved.

When asked about the secret to successful jug fishing: “If we told it wouldn’t be a secret,” quipped Ray.

“A lot of patience and a little beer,” laughed Vickers.

Vickers and Ray have been jug fishing for about a dozen years. Vickers said it’s a particularly exciting method of fishing because any angler can hoist up a trophy catch with a minimal investment of time, money and equipment.

“I’ve gotten catfish as big as 40 pounds, jug fishing,” he said, noting each jug rig-up costs him about $6. “You never know what you’re going to get.”

Carpenter began organizing jug-fishing tournaments six years ago, and hosts four throughout the year at Eagle Lake, Lake Washington and the Mississippi River at Greenville – and now Vicksburg. The tournaments draw as many as 40 participants.

“It started out with a few people tying lines to Coke bottles, but it has really grown over the years,” he said. “Our tournaments are low-pressure, family-friendly events that people have a lot of fun participating in. I expect a big turnout when we come back next year.”