Fish Of The Month & Other Cool Stuff / March 2021

Catch and release is a practice within recreational fishing intended as a technique of conservation. After capture, the fish are unhooked and returned to the water. Often, a fast measurement and weighing of the fish, followed by photography of the catch is worthwhile. (Source: Wikipedia)
Now we can all agree that this is good practice and the results can be very rewarding. Just ask FFC member Frank Martines. While fishing in the same general area wher FFC member Lou Benasutti landed February’s “Fish Of The Month” Frank landed what could very well be the same fish.

Frank Martines / 11lbs / Villages Pond

When first weighed in February this big girl tipped the scales at 11lbs. 8oz. After what was most likely an 8oz. egg drop the March weight was 11lbs even. Now the story doesn’t end there. As it turns out when first caught, Frank took the pic of Lou holding his catch. When caught the second time, Lou took the pic of Frank holding his catch. Now there’s a story for “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” and the March 2021 “Fish Of The Month”Pin

More March News
Some of the best fishing we have seen in quite some time came last month and the pics tell the story. FFC Program Chairman Bob Knorr reported this early March Lake Harris catch that tipped the scales at 8.73lbs.

Bob Knorr / 8.73 lbs / Lake Harris

This beast was taken on a Bizz Baits 7.5″ Plumb Apple “Mag Dizzy”

Bizz Baits 7.5″ Mag Dizzy

Sounds like there is some truth to the line. “big fish eat big baits”

Another “Outside The Bubble” catch was reported by FFC member Norm Long. Norm took this 9lb. 10oz. giant from a private pond in Marion County.

Norm Long / 9lbs. 10oz. / Marion County Pond

A topwater bait got the job done.

Closer to home, FFC member Tim Doyle reported this nice 6lb. 11oz. Villages pond catch.

Tim Doyle / 6lbs. 11oz. / Villages Pond

It was taken around 6:00 pm on March 5th with a Watermellon Red Flake Yum 6″ “Dinger”

Santiago pond has been my go to spot recently and I have been doing fairly well.

7lbs. 7oz. / Santiago Pond

I got this 7lb. 7oz. with a creature bait on March 12th and a 6lb. 4oz. on March 14th.

Odds ‘N Ends
On March 12th, I got a text message from FFC member Wayne Barksdale. Attached to the message was a copy of a letter that he received from Bassmaster Magazine. It was a notification telling Wayne that his “Lunker Club” application was approved and his catch will be featured in the April 2021 issue of Bassmaster Magazine. Now how cool is that?

Now for those of you who didn’t see this on the “Fishing Reports Page” here’s a great “Only In The Villages” story that was posted by local angler Tom Lamphere on March 9th……
“Was fishing the El Santiago pond last evening. Was using a live minnow under a bobber. Had gotten a few small bites, but nothing much to mention. I decided to pack it in, so I walked back across the street to put my gear in my car, leaving my pole for last. I returned a minute later and…..you guessed it…my pole was gone….taken into the water!!! I took some casts with another pole, trying to snag it. Do any of you ever kayak that pond? The reel is a Mitchell 300….just in case one of you miraculously snag it” Well this story does  get better. The following morning, March 10th, a post from Frank Martines appeared and it said……”Good morning Tom sorry to hear about your loss but smile first cast at 7:30 this morning I snagged this”

Recovered Tackle

Thanks to all who have reported and sent in pics. Keep them coming.

Rob Husson

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Fish Of The Month / February 2021

When FFC member Chip Austin reported his 11.5lb. Lake Griffin catch back in January I thought to myself that it’s gonna be quite a while before we see another fish that size. Well that “quite a while” turned out to be just under two weeks! Check this out. On February 1st I got a text message from FFC member Lou Benasutti stating that he had caught the “Fish Of The Month” for February. Knowing that some anglers tend to stretch the truth a bit by holding their catch close to the camera making it appear bigger or just guessing the weight but as I scrolled down I saw that Lou had attached some pics.

Lou Benasutti / 11lbs. 8oz. / Villages Pond

Well the scale pic said it all, 11lbs. 8oz. and caught in a Villages pond!

11lbs. 8oz.

FFC member Frank Martines was close by, snapped the pics, and assisted Lou in registering his “Trophy Catch” with FWC. It was approved and along with a cool t-shirt Lou took advantage of the $75 off a Enigma pole and plans to order a fiberglass facsimile of his catch from New Wave Taxidermy. WTG Lou!!Pin
More February Reports


For some reason fish have been “Socially Distancing” themselves from anything that I have thrown but others have been quite lucky. On February 20th, FFC member Wayne Barksdale reported a 8lb. 6oz. Lake Griffin catch taken with a Magnum Junebug Bug.

Wayne Barksdale / 8lbs. 6oz. / Lake Griffin

FFC Club President Randy DiSanto reported a 7lb 4oz. Villages pond Bass

Randy DiSanto / 7lbs. 4oz. / Villages Pond

and FFC member Rich Haessley reported a 5lb. 12oz. and a 4lb 1oz. taken with a wacky rigged Senko at Poinciana pond.

Rich 5-12

Rich Haessley / 5lbs. 12 oz. / Poinciana Pond

FFC club treasurer Len Durscholz closed out the month with this 4lb. 20z. catch.

Len Durcholz / 4lbs. 2oz. / Villages Pond


Thanks to all who have reported and sent in pics. Keep them coming.


Rob Husson

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Fish Of The Month / January 2021

After some great repots in December could things continue into the new year? Well it certainly looks like we’re off to a great start. On January 20th I received a report from FFC member Chip Austin and the story is best told in his words.


“Thought I’d share an 11.5 lb. caught at Griffin yesterday.

Chip Austin / 11.5 Lbs. / Lake Griffin

I got it on a purple, emerald senko wacky. I saw the fish first, spooked it and I circle back around about 30 feet away and dropped my power poles. I could barely see the beast on like a bed in a hole in the hydrilla. Tried a jig, nothing, Ned rig, nothing then I threw out that wacky and saw my line take off and set the hook. 1/0 hook on upper lip hooked about 1/8th of an inch. 8 lb test. Had my hands full. Can’t believe I got it in.” WTG Chip. A Fish Of The Month pin is headed your way.Pin
More January Happenings


FFC member Wayne Barksdale sent this report to me on January 14th and it just had to be shared. “This is just a FYI..the unlucky number 13 once again goes by the wayside as well as the theory that when Florida weather gets a cold front the bass shuts down. Yesterday..January 13th when the air temperature was 51 degrees and the water temperature was 56 degrees my fishing friend Bill Chumbler caught this 8lb 11oz bass on a rattle trap while fishing lake Griffin”

Bill Chumbler / 8lbs 11oz / Lake Griffin


A follow up report from Wayne came on January 29th. Check this out. “Fished Griffin today with my snow bud friend Bill Chumbler. Our best day on Griffin in quite awhile. We caught 25 bass. My best was 7lb 13 oz..

Wayne 7-13

Wayne Barksdale / 7lbs 13 oz / Lake Griffin

Chumbler had a 6lb and the rest were nice 3 and 4lb. Used just 3 lures. Chatter bait..trick worm and my favorite bait..zoom junebug red speed worm” ” I certainly wouldn’t want to be fishing against these two guys in a tournament!


Members Frank Martines and Jim Jones reported a number of fish taken in January. Most were in the 2 to 3-1/2 pound range and the Strike King Red Eye Shad seemed to be the lure of choice.


Finally on January 30th I got lucky. This 8lb. 3oz. couldn’t resist a 6.25 in. Bass Assasin XX Fat Job worm.

8lbs. 3oz. / Villages Pond


Thanks to all who have reported and sent in pics. Keep them coming.


Rob Husson

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Local Angler Records 13lb. 11oz. Villages Pond Catch!!

Fishing Florida waters this past December was certainly a challenge. Frosty mornings, warm sunny afternoons, and water temps all over the place certainly made things interesting. On top of all that, finding a bait that worked took considerable time. Well it looks like FFC member Frank Martines figured it all out and the results speak for themselves. On December 7th Frank took this 6lb 9oz Chatham Square Pond Bass on a Squarebill.

Frank Martines, 6lbs. 9oz., Villages Pond

Franks second big catch in December was this 7lb 2oz beast that was taken with a Bluegill color Red Eye Shad crankbait.

Frank Martines, 7lbs. 2oz., Villages Pond

Thats 13lbs 11oz of Villages pond Bass!!! WTG Frank. Another “Fish Of The Month” pin is headed your way.Pin

FFC member Jim Jones is having success fishing the ZMan “Fatty Z” soft plastic bait.

Jim 3.8

Jim Jones, 3lbs, 8oz., Villages Pond

Best fished with a Shakey Head or Jig Head this 5″ bait is definitely worth trying. This 3lb 8oz Villages pond Bass found it irresistible.

Z MAN FattyZ ElaZtech 5″

Now it’s been a while since I’ve reported a decent catch but that all changed on December 19th. This 5lb 2oz hit a gold lipless crankbait.

5lbs 2oz. Villages Pond

Apparently this fish has an appetite for artificial baits. Two days later club President Randy DiSanto took this same fish on a silver crankbait.

Thanks to all who have reported and sent pics. Keep them coming.

Rob Husson

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Fish Of The Month – November 2020 / Are You Superstitious?

“Just like walking under a ladder, crossing paths with a black cat or breaking a mirror, many people hold fast to the belief that Friday the 13th brings bad luck. Though it’s uncertain exactly when this particular tradition began, negative superstitions have swirled around the number 13 for centuries” (Source: History.com)
Now FFC member Wayne Barksdale has a totally different view on the subject and is best told in his words.
“So much for Friday 13th bringing bad luck. This morning I was fishing Lake Griffin with a long time snow bird Bill Chumbler. We started fishing at 7:30am and at 8:00am I was throwing a white Zoom frog in and around pads. The water exploded in about 3 feet of water and I was fortunate enough to land a10lb 9oz Bass. I have two pictures
One is the bass on the scale.

Wayne Barksdale / 10 lbs 9oz / Lake Griffin

And on the other look on the back of the bass and there is a $100 tag.

Tagged Trophy Bass

This is the fourth tagged Bass I have caught. Three from the Harris Chain and one from the Winter Haven Chain”
FWC provided some additional information about Wayne’s catch. Records show that this Bass was released in March 2020, about eight months prior.

Close Up Of Trophy Tag

When released it was 25″ long and weighed 10lbs. 5oz. Using Google Earth maps it was determined that this fish was caught in basically the same spot wher it was released. According to FWC this is fairly common. For more information about FWC’s Largemouth Bass Tagging Studies here is a helpful link. Largemouth Bass Tagging Studies | FWC (myfwc.com)

Now back to that Friday the 13th thing. Wayne might say “Myth Busted”

Pin
Thanks to all who have reported and sent in pics. Keep them coming.
To find out what other members are reporting, just click on the “Fishing Forums” tab at the top of this page.

Rob Husson

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I Know What You’ve Been Eating And It Shows

Back on November 6th, FFC member Wayne Barksdale fished one of his favorite spots over in Lakeland, Fl. Several nice Bass were taken and this 6lb. 2oz. beauty was the catch of the day.

Wayne Barksdale / 6lbs. 2oz. / Lakeland, Fl

Now if you look close you will see a lot of yellow or gold looking colors. According to FWC this happens when Bass are feeding heavy on Craw The high level of Iodine in Crawfish will produce some bright coloring. Thanks for sharing the info. Wayne.

Rob Husson

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Retention Ponds Are High in Contaminates

That’s why they are mandated by Florida regulations: To protect rivers and lakes from the suburban runoff. The article from the Orlando Sentinel: http://bit.ly/32Yid8n begins with:

Regional water managers began requiring these ponds a decade ago to catch dirty rainwater running off streets and parking lots before it flowed into clean rivers and lakes.

Now scientists are re-evaluating these panaceas, concerned that the ponds may be causing another environmental problem.

Scientists know that toxic metals from gasoline, motor oil, rubber and asphalt settle to the bottom of these retention ponds, accumulating in the sediment. Now a regional biologist who is studying the man-made ponds says that fish feeding on organisms in the sediment also pick up these toxic metals.

Orlando Sentinel, 11/18/2020

Jerry Lester

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Fish Of The Month, October Happenings, And A Villages First

Fall fishing in Central Florida can sometimes be quite tricky but this past October was an exception. Water and air temps remained steady for the entire month making for some excellent fishing. This 9lb. 24+ in. Lake Griffin giant taken on a very windy October 29th by FFC member Dave Larsen earned the title “Fish Of The Month”

Dave Larsen / 9lbs. / Lake Griffin

Dave’s method was a soft plastic worm worked along the edge of a grass line. I would guess that as soon as Dave got home he updated his Lake Griffin map. Definitely a spot to re-visit.Pin

There were a number of fish caught in October that deserve “Honorable Mention” On October 26th FFC member Rich Grunwald reported this 8+ lb Oklawaha River beauty.

Rich Grunwald / 8+ lbs / Oklawaha River

It certainly looks like this former Mid-West fisherman has got a good handle on how to fish our southern waters. Rich finished the day with a total of 18 Bass taken on both live and artificial bait.

The local ponds have also provided some nice fall fishing. On October 10th Club President Randy DiSanto landed this nice 5lb 10oz Ashland Pond Bass while fishing a Ned Rig.

Randy DiSanto / 5lbs 10oz. / Ashland Pond

Now we don’t see Randy in the pic but his his name is on the scale. Two days later at the same pond I landed a 5lb 9oz Bass with a crankbait. Same fish? Could be.

Me / 5lbs. 9oz. / Ashland Pond

FFC members Frank Martines and Jim Jones both reported 6 plus pound Bass taken from Chatham Square Pond on Calumet ave.

Frank Martines / 6lbs. 3oz. / Calumet Ave

Jim Jones / 6lbs 6oz / Calumet Ave

Both fish were taken with a chatterbait. Jim recorded a 6lb 6oz on October 13th and Frank recorded a 6lb 3oz. on October 16th.

Now here is a Villages first and it comes from Club President Randy DiSanto. On Saturday October 10th Randy claims to have caught the first ever “Rock Bass”

Randy DiSanto / “Rock Bass” / ????

It was taken with a Ned Rig at Chatham Square Pond. Based on the photo it appears to be a juvenile weighing less than a pound.

Thanks to all who have reported and sent in pics. Keep them coming.

Rob Husson

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Fish Of The Month – September 2020

Although there were several notable catches reported in September, they don’t compare to what we saw in the previous two months. The month started with several reports of 5lb Bass and nothing hitting the 6lb mark. That all changed on September 23rd with a report from FFC member Wayne Barksdale. Wayne and his son Jeff hadn’t fished together in about 5 months and a trip to one of Wayne’s favorite spots in Lakeland, Florida seemed like a good choice. Using basically the same set up, a 5/16oz. Shakey Head tipped with a Magnum Finesse Junebug worm they worked an area approx. 10-12 ft deep. with a gravel or shell bottom. The results would put a smile on any anglers face.

Wayne Barksdale / 8lb. 4oz. / Lakeland, Fl

By 11:30am Jeff had a 5lb. 4oz. recorded and at 12:00 noon Wayne landed this 8lb. 4oz. trophy earning the title “Fish Of The Month”. The day ended with over 20 fish caught! WTG guys!Pin
The local ponds are still producing and those who put in the time are rewarded for their efforts.

Jim Jones / 5lbs. 9oz. / Villages Pond

Jim Jones reported a nice 5lb 9oz Villages pond Bass taken with a Ned Rig.

Ted Kasubik / 5.96lbs. / Villages Pond

Ted Kasubik managed to land a 5.96lb Villages pond Bass before a Gator moved in and took over his spot.

Steve Felix / 4lbs. 10oz. / Poinciana Pond

Steve Felix took a nice 4lb. 10oz. Bass from Poinciana pond.

A final “Fish Of The Month” submission came from our Club President Randy DiSanto and it could qualify in about 6 years from now.

Early Entry For “Fish Of The Month”

I doubt this little guy even moved the scale. Thanks to all who have reported and sent pics. Keep them coming.

Rob Husson

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Fish Of The Month – August 2020 – Where’s Frank??

Having a catch recognized as “Fish Of The Month” is nothing new for FFC member Frank Martines and his photos have inspired us all. Frank has a neat way of taking pics by placing his phone on his golf cart, setting the timer, and lining up the perfect shot. Well it appears that Frank wandered a little too far from his golf cart this time and the lucky angler does not appear in his pic. So what are we looking at?

Frank 7-14

Frank Martines – 7lbs 14oz – Villages Pond

Frank’s Villages pond Bass was taken on a Chatterbait and tipped the scale at 7lbs. 14oz. We miss you Frank but it’s O.K., It’s “Fish Of The Month’ not “Fisherman Of The Month”Pin
There were several outstanding catches reported in August that deserve “Honorable Mention”

Jim 7-9

Jim Jones – 7lbs 9oz – Villages Pond

On August 14th, FFC member Jim Jones took this 7lb 9oz. Villages pond beast on a slim shake worm.

Steve Felix and Tim Doyle reported identical 7lb. 1oz. Villages pond Bass. Steve’s was taken with a Shiner and Tim’s was taken with a watermellon red flake Senko

Felix 7-1

Steve Felix – 7lbs 1oz – Villages Pond

Tim 7-1

Tim Doyle – 7lbs 1oz – Villages Pond

Last July we saw Rich Grunwald’s 8lb. 1oz. Oklawaha giant. Well he backed it up in August with this 7lb. 4oz. Oklawaha catch. WTG Rich.

Rich Grunwald – 7lbs 4oz – Oklawaha

Gene Jackson has reported great fishing on Lake Harris. Check out this 6lb. 12oz. beauty.

Gene Jackson – 6lbs 12 oz – Lake Harris

Gene also reported some great Bluegill fishing.
Thanks to all who have reported and sent in pics. Keep them coming.
To stay informed about what others are doing, click on the “Fishing Forums” tab at the top of this page and follow the directions.
Rob Husson

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