In the Spotlight: Terry Stewart
by Tim Huffman
Terry Stewart reveals fishing and personal information in this month’s Spotlight.
“Terry is one of the most accomplished LiveScopers and probably the best crappie fisherman in [Mississippi],” says Kent Driscoll, BnM Pro Staff Manager. “He has won tournaments at all levels. If I had to use one word to describe him it would be humble. He is a true gentleman, honest, very approachable, willing to help others and is great for the sport of crappie fishing.”
Terry was born in 1967, manages an optical lab and is a crappie-catching machine. He has fished seriously for 25 years and says he has great memories that include fishing with his dad, wife and kids.
His resume includes tournament fisherman and guide. He won three consecutive tournaments in 2020 with the Magnolia Crappie Club, has won American Crappie Trail national tournaments at Sardis and D’Arbonne and won a Mississippi State Championship with Crappie Masters. Sponsors include BnM Poles, Engel Coolers, Thump Crappie Co, Crappie G Hair Jigs and Pro Built Jigs.
Highlight? “My daughter Terra and I caught a 21.17-pound, seven-fish stringer during a Magnolia tournament on Grenada Lake in 2020. Big fish was 3.83 pounds, so that’s a day I’ll never forget.”
You were known for your spider rigging a few years ago but now it’s LiveScoping? “I feel like a traitor because I probably won’t spider rig again. I now fish with one-pole. LiveScoping is required to keep up with the times and be able to compete. It’s a lot of fun, too, after you get through the big learning curve.
“I feel like a traitor because I probably won’t spider rig again.”
“LiveScope has changed everything because we can target fish on cover and in open water. We can ease up to them and drop a bait on them, watch them take it or watch them run off like they are scared of it. We can sometimes chase a crappie for hundreds of yards and catch it. We’ve learned fish are scared of trolling motors, waves slapping the boat and even the bait. Fish are often more skittish than we realized.
“Also, everyone started out with long poles and they still work, but many have gone to casting because you can get a bait to a fish when it’s still a long way from the boat. Crappie are very spooky at times. Boat control is important so strong wind can be a problem with this technique.”
Weakness. “Clear water. We’ve gone to Hamilton and Table Rock and they were tough fishing for us. I’m used to the stained waters in Mississippi.”
Goals? “I would like to win a national championship. As a team, my boy and I are working to stay positive and make good decisions when fishing tournaments. It’s easy when things are going well, but on a day when everything goes wrong and we’re not catching fish, we can lose focus, so we are working to stay positive and learn from every experience. My main overall goal is just to stay healthy so I can fish as long as possible.”
Favorite lake? “Honestly, it can be any of the lakes here. I can have fun on any of them. If forced to pick one, it would be Grenada because it is in such great shape right now due to being flooded during the spring for several years. We’ve had good spawns and the fish have had plenty of water and cover to hide in.”
If you could only have one bait in the boat all year, what would it be? “A Crappie G Hair jig made in Louisiana, weight 1/16-ounce and color would be blue and white.”
Pet Peeves? “Pleasure boaters and jet skis. It’s not as bad now that I’m LiveScoping. With spider rigging, the waves create a lot of problems.”
Heroes? “Ronnie Capps in crappie fishing. I’ve also followed bass fisherman Kevin Van Dam a lot. He has a great attitude, is a good fisherman and has had a successful career.”
Boat food? “Sandwiches, pistachio nuts, snack bars and fruit.
Sports? “LSU football.”
Movies? “An oldie, Cool Hand Luke.”
How would you like for people to remember you? “As someone who helped people and tried to do the right thing.
Anything else? “I really appreciate the whole crappie world of fishermen who have helped me throughout the years.”
To contact Terry for a guide trip go to Terry Stewart Outdoors on Facebook or phone 601-502-5699.
(Tim Huffman has specialized in crappie fishing, writing and photography since 1988. He is currently the Editor/Senior Writer for Crappie Masters Magazine, freelance contributor to four magazines, book author and Senior Writer for CrappieNow Digital Magazine.)