Original Caption: Jack Wingate of Johnsnon's Landing tinkers with one of his favorite plugs for night fishing. The Atlanta Constitution, July 1960, Constitution Special photo.

Today’s historical photo dates back to 1960, to an angler whose name you’ll definitely recognize, but whose picture you probably won’t.

Jack Wingate was the proprietor of Johnson’s Landing, one of several fishing camps on Lake Seminole at the time.  It later became known as Wingate’s Lunker Lodge.  The four-year-old lake was considered a bass paradise, taking in 37,500 acres between the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers.  Johnson’s Landing was located 20 miles southwest of Bainbridge off Georgia Hwy. 97, and was comprised of “eight motel rooms, a restaurant, boats and motors for rent and guides available.”

Even in those early days, word was getting out about the great bass fishing available.  The weekend newspaper reported several nine-pound bass having already been caught from Lake Seminole, but that “an unknown lady fisher from Thomasville pulled in the biggest one last fall, a 12-pounder.  ‘We know she caught it, because she had it weighed in Bainbridge,’ Wingate reported.  ‘But I’ve never been able to find out who she is.'”

Other interesting excerpts from the news stories were:

  • “On that piece of land out there is where Andrew Jackson built Fort Scott after the War of 1812.  I think it is an interesting point; it makes for conversation.  And every chance I get I go out there on the island where the old fort stood. I’ve found all kinds of things, and old bayonet, arrowheads, stuff like that.”
  • “A sign painter told me that red and yellow are the colors which attract the most attention.  That’s what I use.”
  • “As a bass fisherman, Wingate had his biggest haul last October (1959), boating 240 pounds.  “It seemed like every bush was loaded with fish.”

Jack fished a handful of B.A.S.S. events over the years, mostly between 1967-1975.  He is also listed as having fished the 1992, 25th Anniversary event in Springville, AR.  He was inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame posthumously in 2013, and had previously been inducted into the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame, and named a “Legendary Guide” by the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wisconsin.