PM storms, hot air & water temperatures are changing things up somewhat. Slow dragging a plastic ??? across the bottom works….or does it….yes it does AT TIMES. Just when you think you’re going by the book & things are supposed to function as normal it gets FUBAR on you. (you’ll figure it out) July 11 Don Millich & I were fishing a tournament near Inverness on Lake Henderson. This wasn’t a buddy tournament….we were competing against each other in my boat. I tried my darnedest to front end him :)….but I did offer him the front deck….REALLY! I caught 2 on a white hollowbody toad in 15 min. So much for that bait after 90 min. We switched locations & started throwing worms. Me a junebug trick worm & Millich a junebug speed worm. He looked like KVD ripping that thing thru the water. Well guess what? He was getting bit. Me, on the other hand, was slowly dragging a trick worm intermittently & getting bit.  In the heat you slow down??? In the cold you slow down??? Who the hell writes these stories anyway? I’m just telling you what we used & what worked that day. Normally a Tsala Apopka Chain tournament can be won with a sack of 5 weighing 9 to 11 lbs. The results were 18 anglers caught 35 fish. 8 anglers blanked. First place was Brian Reed with 8.31 lbs. Scales weigh in 100’s. Millich & I both had a decent fish & thought maybe big bass and it weighed the same. What’s the chances of that on scales set to 100th of a pound. Our fish each weighed 2.38. Millich finished 4th over all & 1 place out of the money. And if I wouldn’t have knocked his fish off with the net he’d have beaten me. That’ll learn ya. My 5 weighed 6.80 & awarded me 3rd place….woo hoo….  I reminded him on the way home that I netted his 10.14 lbr last year in a tournament on this same body of water. We celebrated with a chocolate shake from MD’s going home. BTW winner Brian Reed was ripping a stick bait JUST LIKE KVD.  Reed also had big bass 3.22….He fished within 150 yards from Millich & I. Go figure!

Harris Chain Bassmasters Tournament

Click on picture for information


Weight 7 lb 6 oz

July 7, 2017 Yum Dinger strikes again….or is it the same fish??? Different shirt, hat, deodorant? FFCVP Rob Husson fishes the retention ponds in The Villages. He gets to his locations via golf cart NOT 65 mph hi-tech go fast water gadgetry. This is fish number 4 OVER 7 lbs that he’s caught in 2017. The day before he sent me a pic of a 7.0 on scales. Click on any pics to enlarge. Hey Rob where’s that selfie stick?



Not all are trophy catch – Is that a CARP??

Many are away from the humidity & located in the north someplace. Here’s Wayne Barksdale with a….wait a minute….that ain’t no smallMOUTH. Did you catch that on a doughball? I’m sure it put up a good fight anyway. You’ll have to fill us in on your technique….NOT!!


My 4.5 lbs has a long way to go – Wanna be like Rob

L/R Top Row Livingston & Cotton Cordell
1 Knocker

Here’s a bass that ate my last Citrus Shad colored XCalibur 1 Knocker. We’ve all got favorite baits  & recently that was mine. I’ve tried to find a facsimile but….close. Natalie at Brooker Bait in Leesburg said the bait company Boo Yah is coming out with other colors. By then I’ll probably have another favorite color.

The Livingston lipless crankbait worked catching, but I only heard it make noise for a few casts & the noise didn’t work immediately. Another quality Cheenuh product. I still see Bassmaster pro Randy Howells smiling face & him saying “She ate a Livingston baby”. You’d be happy too if you’d just won the Bassmaster Classic.



Rick caught this 2 lb bass on white spinnerbait

Here’s Mr. Rick that caught this 2 lbr at Herlong Park while walking the shoreline on July 18. Rick said he’d been randomly casting a white spinnerbait and been there about 20 minutes. I’d been out 5 hours and caught 4. My largest wasn’t much bigger than his. And that towel around his neck, not for wiping fish slime off his hands. Feel like temp was 102.




Mr Mike caught this bass on a black worm


And then, Mr Mike, full name withheld, shows me a 2 lbr he caught on a worm at Herlong Park on June 29. Had to laugh….not sure if he was in a witness protection program or what….he jumped out of the way of his parked vehicle to get it out of the photo.  Keep in mind that many local bass tournaments on Lake Griffin release their fish at the ramp. You can FIND most ANY Florida tournament scheduled on our web site by clicking on Meeting/Events & scroll down under NEAR-TERM MEETINGS & EVENTS ….FL Bass Tournaments.


Remember that a boat ramp is used often by boaters & local marine dealers to launch test boats. Some anglers get upset when a boater uses this area and disrupts their fishing. This is a BOAT ramp and not fishing ramp. Many boats are beached near the ramp dock while anglers get their trailers. There’s plenty of water surrounding the area for shore anglers access.

FLW is returning to the Harris Chain Feb 22-25 2018. WTG Lake County Tourism & Leesburg Pro angler Tim Frederick for promoting the area. If you missed the weigh-in last year, here’s your chance. Between now & then I’m sure we’ll see many wrapped boats pre fishing. Please show some southern hospitality & welcome them back.



Stay Cool

Steve Henderson


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Make Mine A Double & FOTM

Make mine a double….but first….Some 5 or so years ago the state of Florida enacted a program called Trophy Catch that allowed anglers to show their catches to the state FWC folks and are rewarded for their efforts. Rules were to register, photograph your Trophy Catch on scales, and release the fish alive. Freshwater Fishing Club VP Rob Husson followed the rules….he thought!! Husson has been signed up for Trophy Catch for several years & has come close to catching an eligible bass. On June 12th Husson was casting a 6″ Yum Dinger, color watermelon red flake, at one of The Villages retention ponds when he hooks into a fish of a lifetime….a 9 lb 11 oz giant. President Randy Disanto took a full length picture showing the weight of the fish. Husson forwarded the picture and the story to me. I was so happy for him. He puts in countless hours and was finally rewarded….ALMOST…. Husson called me 2 days later to say that FWC turned him down because he wasn’t holding the scales by the handle. Needless to say he was bummed and I thought WTH….BUT rules are rules and it shows how you’re supposed to present a fish to qualify for the program. It gets better!!! Husson received an email from FWC on 6/26/17 saying that after review by ofFISHals <— ya like that….that his submission had been accepted. So….congratulations Rob Husson for a catch of a lifetime….a 9 lb 11 oz Bass. I’ll drink to that. Make it a double. And the fish was released to be caught another day. Husson knows where she lives. 🙂

VP Rob Husson 6/12/17 Villages Pond 9 lb 11 oz
FOTM Trophy Catch

























Jerry Lester 6/9/17 shellcracker ate 5/8 oz Lipless Crankbait

And look (L) at this shellcracker that wanted to eat a 5/8 oz lipless crankbait. Webmaster Jerry Lester caught this while bass fishing at Griffin. He mentioned about having hits but they kept missing it….except for this one. Like to have a bucket of them that size.

WayneBarksdale 6/11/17
Lake Griffin Wt 5.3 lbs
Happy 62nd HS Class Reunion Shirt

What do you do to impress your HS classmates at your 62nd class reunion? You show them that you still have the get up & go that many probably got up and went. And wear your school shirt.


Lake Griffin 6/18/17
Wt 7.4 lbs Swim Bait

Wayne Barksdale NEVER gets tired showing me his catches and I’m forever jealous grateful. Barksdale along with FFC Board Member Trevor Bailey reportedly caught nearly 50 bass on June 16 at Griffin but nothing over 3 lbs. Those are always fun especially whether you’re a novice or seasoned angler.

Lake Griffin 6/23/17
Wt 4 lb 15 oz
Aruko Shad

And just for the heck of it here’s a 4 lb 15 oz fish that gobbled up a lipless crankbait. Yep….you’d be a happy camper too. One more thing. With all the clothes I wear, except for long pants, you’d think I’d be protected from the sun. I had another spot on my ear & face that my dermo doc froze. I’m dressed like this every time I’m on the water. I can’t imagine how much worse it’d be if I didn’t protect myself. It may look goofy as hell but….WARNING!

  • I know a few boat owners that have Power Pole shallow water anchor systems. I’ve had 1 since Mar 2011 on my boat. A bolt broke that deploys the hydraulic ram cylinder. These aren’t EZ to find at your local hardware/box store. I contacted Power Pole Monday June 19th at 9:00 am. At 3:00 pm Tuesday Fed Ex delivered a replacement kit to my front door. How’s that for customer service. And it was free. Hey Comcast & Century Link – awh forget it. Bartender make that a double double.

1400 plus Lakes in
Lake County, FL

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Steve Henderson

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Camp Villages – 2017

This is an annual event that strives to entertain grandchildren with fishing-related Activities.  It is sponsored by the VCDD Recreation Department and supported by volunteers from The Villages Freshwater Fishing Club.

The La Hacienda Regional Recreation Center was the venue again this year.  The patio made an excellent place for serving hot dogs after the program events, which included, 1) Knot tying; 2) Practice Casting; 3) A real tournament Bass fishing boat presentation, 4) Fishing from the bank of Lake Mira Mar.  The Villages Clowns were on site to perform their exciting face painting.

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Brownie & FOTM

No, Brownie isn’t referring to what our daughters belonged to nor does it mean that the dish on top of the stove, that’s too hot for human consumption, but not for the #@&%* dog….at least he saved me half….hell yes I ate them.

Ken Fox 4.0 lb 5/24/17
Alpena, Mi

Ken Fox 4.8 lb 5/23/17
Alpena, Mi


Brownie refers to what Ken Fox caught at Long Lake near Alpena, Mi. If you saw the action the anglers had on Major League Fishing, you know this area is loaded. Fox said he had 35 fish days throwing spinnerbaits, worms, & spooks catching fish up to 4.8 lbs. Fox did tell me that it was 25 mph windy days with rain & balmy temps to 58 degrees. BTW the brownie is AKA smallmouth bass. If you’ve never had the opportunity to catch these guys, you don’t know what you’re missing.

  • FOTM

FFC VP Rob Husson 7.1 lb
5/29/17 Village Pond

It’s May 29, Memorial Day, and FFCVP Rob Husson decided to do what he loves, fish the ponds in The Villages. Husson knows most or all the ponds accessible in the community. He’s provided us pictures before of bass exceeding 6 pounds but I believe this may be his largest that I’ve ever reported. Check out this 7 pound 1 ounce beauty. Husson said he caught this bass on a swimjig with a Houdini trailer. Also the pond that Husson caught his bass from had a major fish kill 3-4 years ago. This pond was featured in R&R mentoring session recently using the same lure. Here’s proof that the strong will survive. Husson’s fish can easily qualify for a fish of a lifetime for most of us. Congratulations VP Rob Husson on your 7 pound 1 ounce bass qualifying for the Fish Of The Month FOTM.

FFCVP Rob Husson 7.1 lb
Swim Jig Houdini Trailer
Village Pond




















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Veterans thank you for your service and God Bless America.

Steve Henderson

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The Birds Have Flew Da Coop

That whooshing sound is the egress of the “snowbirds” heading to wherever….and with that the restaurants are accessible, Sunday church services aren’t nearly as crowded, and the happy hour lines at all the squares don’t stretch out to the street….at least by the third time in line you don’t mind as much & by the 4th…. who shives a git 🙂 >

5/9/17 Winner Mike Murphy
Lake Hernando Big Bass
wt 6..83


But hey….look at Mike Murphy with his 6.83 lb big bass he caught while fishing a local club tournament held at Lake Hernando on May 9th. Murphy said this is the only lake he can ca$h on….Murphy had 10.45 lbs to win the tournament.  I’m not even sure if he had 5 fish. If he did, this’ll give you an idea on what the others weighed. I had 5 that weighed 5.35 lbs. I called them Ohio River fish….that reminded me of catching nothing but small fish….12″ squeakers.

Phil McNeal 5/11/17
wt 4.15 Spro Aruko Shad
Lipless Crankbait



I took Phil McNeal to Griffin recently and told him to throw a lipless crankbait, Spro Aruko Shad, as far as he could sling it and crank it in with an erratic retrieve. And with that you see the results. McNeal’s bass weighed 4.15 and was the largest fish of the day.




Pres Randy Disanto
Tilapia wt 2.4

Pres Randy Disanto 5.0 lbs
Village Pond








Back inside the bubble, here’s FFC President Randy Disanto holding a tilapia he snagged while bass fishing in one of the retention ponds in The Villages. Randy did say he snagged this fish….snagged it like Bill Dance does in the mouth or snag it like Randy says which is “I dunno”. He also targets them purposely on a fly rod & these critters are like catching bluegils on steroids. Not sure if his bass came from the same pond but it did come from a Village retention pond….weight was 5 lbs even. Nice bass regardless where it’s caught. Notice there’s not a blemish on it. Make sure you’re registered for Trophy Catch while fishing in Florida. 8 pound plus bass qualify. Click on the link provided at the top of the page under menu that says TrophyCatch.

Below you’ll notice Wayne & son Jeff Barksdale with a pair of nice bass and then there’s Wayne holding a tilapia that actually ate his bass bait (shakey head). I’d say by the looks of that tilapia, it’s much larger than the one Randy Disanto is holding on scales that reads 2.4….I’m guessing Wayne’s is over 4.

Jeff Barksdale 5/21/17
Caught on DD22 Crankbait Winter Haven Chain

Wayne Barksdale Tilapia
Caught on shaky head 

Wayne Barksdale 5/21/17
wt 7.11 Caught on shakey head










Don Millich 5/18/17
Lake Griffin wt 4.4
Black Toad

Don Millich 5/18/17 Caught on a Toad
Lake Griffin

Don Millich caught a pair of top water toad eaters. There’s nothing that’ll get the heart pumping quicker than an explosive strike from a STUPID fish….and I love catching the really DUMB ones….the ones that miss it the first time….you make another cast & they swipe at it again & miss….can you say 3rd time’s a charm?!?!? It’s highly recommended that 50 lb min braid be used on no less than a MH rod. My choice is 65 lb braid with 7′ MH rod.


Lake Griffin 5/22/17 wt 4.11
Black Zoom Horny Toad

This bass inhaled a Zoom Horny Toad black with blue legs. The amount of toads consumed during todays outing was 12. Total fish caught were 4 and the largest is pictured. The aggravation comes when you have one on & it jumps then dives around the pads wrapping you up & comes off. I didn’t mention the gar that like to eat the legs off especially from the toads that have blue legs.

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Now’s the time to get your FFC shirts and hats monogrammed. Pur-chase  from Custom Apparel or provide your own.


Just because the summer is here, don’t think for a minute that the fish won’t bite. Water temperature May 22 at Griffin was 86. These Florida fish still eat. Bass are in shaded areas. Panfish are near cover also. Usually you find one you’ll find the other. Cormorants in the water may be a good sign that there’s baitfish available. Watch them diving for food and you may catch your targeted specie there too.

Don’t forget about Camp Villages on June 13 that’s held at Hacienda Recreation Center.


Steve Henderson

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Shoulda Been Here Yesterday

We’ve all heard it before….Shoulda been here yesterday….last week they were hitting like crazy….back home I’d catch them on….Yeah, well the first 2 I can handle but when the “Back Home” comes out I’m thinking Dude, I really don’t care what you caught them on “Back Home”….we’re fishing where people don’t carry a spatula (Ice Scraper) in their cars. At least most of us.

Danny Barksdale 5th place KY Lake with 2 day total 41.7 lbs & $1300 4/29/17

Here’s Danny Barksdale, from the infamous Barksdale clan. He proudly shows off 4 bass of his day 2 catch from Ky Lake that put him in 5th spot in USA Bassin & collect $1300 for bringing in a 2 day total of 41.7 lbs. This was a team event and Danny fished alone. His unable to attend partner was his brother.

Jeff Barksdale at the Winter Haven Chain
Caught on jig

Here’s Jeff Barksdale with a nice 7.11 jig fish he caught with dad Wayne while fishing near Lakeland, Fl on 5/7/17. You may ask yourself how do these guys do this? Maybe dads teachings had something to do with it. Maybe!?!?






You’ve seen posts in the past about the Barksdale Clan….or have you? If not look below as Wayne Barksdale shows off another one of his Trophy Catch qualifiers. Wayne said this bass ate a 10.5″ worm. Hmmm….it seems FFC member Bill Gorman was also catching big bass on 10.5″ worms.

Barksdale shows off a Trophy Catch qualifier wt 8.10
























Swallowed Hook & Survived

Although I’ve caught fish before that showed signs of previously being caught, there’s no doubt about this bass. It weighed 2.4 & ate a Lipless Crankbait – 1 Knocker. Look down its throat. Click on any picture to enlarge.

Closer to home are some recent catches caught on lipless baits while fishing Lake Griffin. Below is a 2.6 & 6.1 caught May 1st & the hatless pic fish weighed 5.5 caught on May 6. Earlier this year the pro’s mentioned that Griffin has really come alive & in years to come will be excellent.

Wt 5.5 caught on lipless






And what about FFC member Rick Clark holding not 1 but 2 Trophy Catch qualifiers. Although  these were caught a few months ago, they’re still worth showing. I have no idea what Clark caught them on. Maybe he’ll provide some insight at the meeting. Nice fish Rick.

Rick Clark wt 8.14 St John’s

Rick Clark wt 8.8 St John’s






Dennis Renfro, Fisheries Mgr for FWC, will be at the next FFC meeting to discuss the progress made on the Emeralda Marsh. Lets hope when it opens we’ll be able to access the area. Lake Griffin was lowered to make repairs at the lock. So throw the drought into the equation. Although catching has been good recently, it’s no good if we can’t launch a boat. Hello Lake Yale. I’ve received numerous complaints about the area. Anyone have pictures?

1400 plus Lakes in
Lake County, FL

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Steve Henderson

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FOTM = Fish Of The Month

Scriptures said that Jesus fed the multitude with a few loaves of bread and fish….I’m not sure if there were teenage boys included in the multitude….have you seen these guys eat? Anyway that’s what was reported and who am I to question the writings….but I am curious if braid or mono was used on a spinning or casting reel??

So what is the plural of fish – FISH? FISHES? PHISH – Fish can be used referring to plural….fishes may also be used….and I’ve seen Phish in concert back in the 90’s….who you ask? Look em up….But this picture will show the definition of fish & FOTM.

  • FOTM

Former FFC Pres Jerry Echols with “Multitude”

Look at Jerry Echols standing over his multitude of specks that he & Trevor Bailey caught while down near Kissimmee on 4/27/17. Trevor said it was his best day ever catching “specks”. As for Echols, an open water specialist,  not every time he goes out is this successful but it isn’t out of the ordinary either especially catching 1.8 to 2 pounders. Heck of a catch Jerry.




Bill Gorman Caught 4/11/17 Wt 7.8
Bait used Zoom Fluke Red Fleck

Continuing on with FOTM is FFC member Bill Gorman with his 7.8 lbr that he caught in Griffin on 4/11/17. Bill said he’s not only using flukes but 10″ worms dragging them slowly over pads. Dandy fish Bill.

Jerry Lester FFC Treasurer/Web Master Griffin Wt 3.6


Here’s FFC web master treasurer Jerry Lester in his  Gheenoo with a nice 3.6 lb bass caught on Aruka Shad.


Then there’s some shots taken during a tournament weigh-in at Venetian Gardens at Lake Harris. Although yours truly may have been better off  ordering fish from Beef O Brady’s….all my fish had the tails too close to the heads….there’s someone that always catches them. Check these anglers out displaying some of their fish.

John Hendry Lake Harris
Wt 4.8

Lake Harris 4/11/17

Caught 4/11/17 Lake Harris









Below is Chip Austin showing off his trophy catch bass for sure. Chip is a new FFC member and signed up for the monthly fishing trip that Steve Felix sets up for members. WTG Chip & thank you Steve Felix for providing this service to our members. It’s a thankless job but at times like this….hey what can ya say other than nice job Chip.

New FFC Member Chip Austin shows off HIS trophy bass caught 4/20/17 on Withlacoochee Trip




















In closing here’s Don Millich holding a 3 lbr he caught at John’s Lake on 4/27/17 on a watermelon red fluke. In the past 10 days I’ve made 4 trips to John’s Lake….my first 2 trips alone & the other 2 with guests. Here’s the numbers caught per trip: 12, 20, 22, & 19. If my math is correct, of the 73 fish caught, the largest was what Ken Fox caught that weighed 3.7 lbs. Were there larger fish on & lost? Nope! 5 years ago FWC was saying if you want trophies go to John’s. I’m not saying that they don’t exist, but I was surprised that larger fish weren’t caught. I’m sure they’re there. But we had a blast catching them on flukes, Senko’s, hollowbody toads, & even the old trusty Pop R….and there’s plenty left. No I/we never bed fished.

Don Millich Caught 4/27/17
Wt 3.0 Johns Lake

Ken Fox caught 4/25/17 Wt 3.7 John’s Lake










Don’t forget that the next FFC meeting is May 9. Our speaker will be Dennis Renfro from FWC. If you’ve fished Haines Creek Marsh or the Stick Marsh, be sure to attend. Great things are happening at Griffin. Also we have election of officers. If you want to get involved, now’s your chance. Plus President Randy DiSanto will have a suggestion box at the meeting. If you want things changed, added, deleted, drop it in the box – make sure it’s legible – you don’t have to sign it.


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Remember to sign up for the next fishing trip with Steve Felix….ask Chip Austin about what he thought of his trip. Also a reminder about the Rob & Randy mentoring group for you new to Florida anglers. Fishin aint the same down here!!

Steve Henderson

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