Camp Villages Fishing Derby – 2018

The annual Camp Villages Fishing Derby has always been a favorite and this years event sold out quickly.
On Tuesday June 12th we had 40 future anglers and their grandparents gather on the banks of Lake Mira Mar to learn the basic skills of fishing.
Participants were separated into groups and guided to six different stations which included a biologist, knot tying, a fishing boat, and practice casting.

Biologist Station

Biologist Station

Knot Tying

Knot Tying

Fishing Boat

Fishing Boat

Casting Practice

Practice Casting

At the last station, participants got the chance to try out what they had learned by casting a line in the stocked pond. As soon as the lines hit the water it was nonstop action for the next hour and a half. Nearly everyone caught a fish.

The Catch

Fish On!!!

Waiting For The Bite

Waiting For The Bite

The day finished off with lunch that was prepared by The Villages staff and each participant was given a new rod and reel combo to take home. Special thanks to all of the Freshwater Fishing Club members who volunteered their time to make this years derby a great success. Thanks also to club President Randy DiSanto and FFC member and webmaster Jerry Lester for some great pics.

Rob Husson

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Outside The Bubble or O.T.B.

(Click on any picture to enlarge)

Having lived with acronyms in my previous life, some things are hard to get away from. So going forward consider this authors topics to be Outside The Bubble or O.T.B. While the locals have been hammering the big bass in The Village ponds, there’s also quite a bit of great action “Outside The Bubble” too.

(L) Ethan Warfel & brother Braden 5/26/18
Wt 9 oz Memory Endless

Ethan Warfel of Fenton Park, MO Second Place (SMILE SAYS IT ALL)

Here’s 6 y/o Ethan Warfel that weighed in a 9 ounce bass, to take home a prestigious trophy for 2nd place. While not a Florida Trophy Catch qualifier, come on….this is Missouri….this young man caught his FIRST BASS while fishing a “Derby” near his home town of Fenton Park, MO. Ethan appears to have the right sponsors lined up already….Nike & Shimano for starters. Tiger Woods even has Nike….This kid could be the next KVD!!


Rick Cope wt 7.8 Pitchin
Lake Jackson 5/11/18

Rick Cope Lake Jackson 5/11/18
wt 6.7 Frog

Rick Cope Lake Harris 6/1/18
wt 6.15 Swimbait

Feast your eyes on these. Umatilla, FL resident Rick Cope fished Lake Jackson a few weeks ago with a friend. He scored as usual catching some bragging size bass. Cope said he caught them pitchin, throwing a frog, swimbait, and casting a squarebill, concentrating mainly on shallow water.

On a quiet calm morning, Mother Nature showed me some mercy and said throw a topwater to get bit. I could not buy a strike. Plan 2….Screw this I’m going into search mode. And so I put the trolling motor on go fast & started slinging away. I soon was getting smacked by 12 to 13 1/2″ bass on my lipless baits. Nothing big but fun anyway. I then switched to the 1.5 squarebill. My first

L to R
Spinnerbait, Booyah 1 Knocker, Spro Aruka Shad, 1.5 Squarebill

Squarebill Griffin Wt 4.9

fish weighed 4.9 lbs. The strike was dismal but once it reached the boat or saw me….EZ now….she took off only to eventually swim alongside & get snatched. She was then weighed, photo’d & released. In  5 hours I caught 18 but only had 4 over 14″ & the largest was the 4.9. No tournament weight but I wasn’t fishing a tournament anyway.



Wayne Barksdale No Moby’s but STILL NICE in my book

Father & Daughter Danny Barksdale & Ashley finsihed 3rd at KY Lake 14 lbs +

Earlier Wayne Barksdale told me he’d been catching plenty of 2’s & 3’s and an occasional 4 but no Moby’s….as in Moby Dick. I’d take his catches any day. I seldom hear from Barksdale when he’s not catching….but when he contacts me it’s usually because he’s on numbers, size, or in many cases both. Then there’s his son Danny with Danny’s daughter Ashley that just fished KY Lake and came in 3rd with 14 pounds & change. Danny lives near KY Lake & fishes it often and has won many tournaments there. It seems it’s in the Barksdale gene pool.

Pine Island – Launch here to fish N end of Griffin $5 fee

Fisherman are known to launch at 1 end of the lake & run to the other. You weren’t aware that all the fish in the lake are at the opposite end??? Really….they must be….then you get back to the ramp only to hear that some guys fished just outside the takeoff area and filled their limits. Also remember that many boat ramps are release areas & seeded often by weekend tournaments….except for maybe Pine Island that’s located at the north end of Griffin. I’ve used this ramp dozens of times.

Griffin 6/5/18 wt 5.8 Squarebill 1.5 Chartreuse

Boo Yah 1 Knocker Pair of 12 inchers

Your much closer to Haines Creek and the Oklawaha too.  Yes the river flows North out of Griffin. Although this looks like old Florida, your gear is probably more secure there than at Herlong Park. They charge $5 to launch and you pay inside. You don’t mind it especially if the bass are biting. This day they were. The 1.5 squarebill proved itself again when I caught a bass that weighed 5.8. And don’t sell the 1 Knocker or Aruka Shad short. I caught another 4.9 on the Aruka Shad and had a double on the 1 Knocker. Total bass caught for the day was 22 with 5 best weighing 14.11…..You know where I’m going tomorrow!!

Steve Henderson


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Lake Sumter Guided Fishing Experience / F.O.T.M.

When FFC Board Member Charlie Byus was notified that he was one of the ten names picked in the lottery for the guided fishing trip on Lake Sumter, he had no idea what was in store. After several frantic calls, he quickly assembled his team of three, FFC President Randy DiSanto, FFC member Joe Clouse, and yours truly.

Charlie Byus, Rob Husson, Dave Weston, Randy DiSanto, Joe Clouse

Charlie Byus, Rob Husson, Dave Weston, Randy DiSanto, Joe Clouse

The date of May 30th was selected and armed with an arsenal of baits and tackle, we headed out under threatening skies and looming showers.
With nine previous trips under his belt, our guide Dave Weston put us right on the fish and the fun began! Within minutes it was “Fish On” and it lasted for the full two hour trip. There were a couple times when all four of us had fish on at the same time and Dave didn’t know where to put the net.

Dave Weston assisting

Dave Weston assisting

When the dust settled, the total count for the trip was 65 fish caught. A staggering number for fish taken with soft plastic baits. Sizes ranged from 1-1/2 – 4lbs.

Biggest fish almost didn’t happen. Randy had one so deep in the Hydrilla we thought it would never see the light of day but he kept the pressure on and landed a nice 5lb. 4oz.

For more information about the guided fishing trips on Lake Sumter, visit the district web page, click on the departments tab, then the tab marked recreation. There you will find a complete description of the tours and a printable list of dates, times, and fees.

Rob Husson


F.O.T.M. (Fish Of The Month) May, 2018
We’ve all heard the stories of the monsters that swim in The Villages ponds. Well folks, here’s the proof.

While fishing Poinciana pond on Saturday, May 12th, FFC member Ray Bidwell got the surprise of his life. This Common Carp tipped the scales at 29.76 lbs. Considering the fact that Ray was fishing with 12lb. test line, I would guess that landing this beast was no easy task. FFC member Jack Hoban was close by and snapped the great pics.
A Common Carp weighing 35 lbs. would qualify for state record so who knows, the next time this fish appears it might be a contender.

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

Rob HussonFOTM

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R&R Fishing Clinic / May 15, 2018

The last fishing clinic before our summer break was held at Calumet pond. Sixteen participants were given instruction on how to rig and fish soft plastic worms. R&R Clinic May 2018
This method of fishing is by far the least expensive yet the most effective way to catch Florida Bass. Instruction was also given on how simulate a natural movement and attract more fish. Things worked out well for FFC members Jack Hoban and Bill McGovern as  they each landed a Bass weighing over 3 pounds.

This program has been very well received and will resume again in September along with our regular monthly meetings.
Rob Husson

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FFC Monthly Meeting, May 2018

The last Freshwater Fishing Club meeting of 2017/18 was held Tuesday, 5/8/18 and the officers for the 2018/19 season were voted in. The results are as follows.

Board Of Directors (Officers)
President – Randy DiSanto      Vice President – Rob Husson
Secretary – Open                        Treasurer – Len Durcholz
Board Members
Trevor Bailey, Jim Jones, Jerry Echols,
Don Kindilien, Charles Byus, Paul Besse
Board Member At Large
Steve Felix
Program Chair
Bob Knorr
The position of club secretary remains open at this time and will be addressed when our meetings resume in September.
After some general announcements and the presentation of the “Fish Of The Month” pin, the Glen Lau film “Bigmouth” was shown. This has always been a club favorite.
Camp Villages is fast approaching (June 12th) and should be another success. Thanks in advance to all who have signed up to volunteer.

Rob Husson

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F.O.T.M. (Fish Of The Month) April, 2018

Early morning downpours and the threat of passing showers all day couldn’t keep FFC member Frank Martinez from doing what he enjoys most, fishing the local ponds.
On April 23rd, while some folks were home watching “The Chew” or catching up on what was happening on “General Hospital”, Frank was tossing a Strike King Red Eye Shad in Calumet Pond. Well folks his effort paid off big time when he reeled in this 7.2 lb. beauty and proving that weather has a bigger effect on fisherman than it does on the fish.

Frank Martinez 7.2 Lbs. Crankbait Calumet Pond

Frank Martinez 7.2 Lbs. Calumet Pond

Thanks to all who have submitted photos.  Keep them coming.
Rob Husson


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Somes Got It – I Don’t

Ralph Peckham 7.0 lbs
Lake Miona -worm 4/6/18

Really don’t need an explanation of the title of this post. At least not at this juncture. Here’s Ralph Peckman fishing Lake Miona in his kayak. Nice bass Ralph. Oh yeah….they’re in there….big bass….& in most lakes in Florida. Check out the smile behind the tasty sunglasses. (Click on ANY picture to enlarge)



Trevor Bailey 4/21/18 Canal Street 5.0 lbs worm



FFC Board Member Trevor Bailey hoists a nice 5 pounder from Canal St. pond that goes to show ya that you don’t need no stinkin boat to catch Big Bass in Florida….or outside The Villages for that matter. WTG Trevor – I’m jealous!



Topwater Zoom Horny Toad 4/24/18 wt 8.10

As usual Wayne Barksdale, who’s know slouch to this game, scored another 8.10 lb Trophy Catch qualifier recently on the Harris Chain. He caught another 7 lb also with a dozen ranging from 1.5 to 4 lbs. This streak continued for 2 days. Yeah….that’s what I said too. We/I shoulda been there. Good job old buddy!



Marni Strautman 4/28/18 Stickmarsh – shiner

Moving further south….about a 2.15 hr drive, here’s FFC member Marni Strautman displaying her….what seems to be usual catch….6 lb bass. Her husband named “Rip” is an excellent foto graffer. Don’t see your name in lights too much Rip. Nice catch Marni.



John Hendry Okeechobee wt 7 lbs

Friend & tournament angler John Hendry sent me a pic of one of his catches after I sent him a score sheet result of a recent tournament I fished. He made sure to send me his picture immediately….I’d say to rub it in….but that’s okay. John said he’d caught the bass on a vibe tail worm and hasn’t been catching many….however on each trip he catches a nice one. John now resides near Okeechobee. I can hear it now – Hey honey can we move to Okeechobee? Oh yeah….not in my lifetime.



Tim Sachs 4/28/18 Harris Chain 8 lbs

Chuck Westlake 4/28/18 wt 8 lbs Toad

Here’s new Villager & FFC member Chuck Westlake with his Atlanta guest Tom Sachs showing how it’s done on the Harris Chain. There are larger bass than 8 pounders cruising these waters but as you can see these fish are elusive to many….especially this writer. It’s been 3 years since I’ve weighed in a Trophy Catch qualifier. You may notice that Trophy Catch is mentioned often. Sign up for Trophy Catch by clicking on the link at the top of our web site and reap the benefits. While you’re at it scroll down the right side of our home page and become a regular subscriber. I’ll keep you informed of the bite & conditions outside The Villages and more….

Tournament Dir Bill Genes 6.45 lb tournament Big Bass

April 24, 2018 results from Tsala Apopka Chain near Inverness….21 anglers….66 fish caught, 1st place was 5/8.16….Big Bass weighed 6.45 caught by tournament director Bill Genes who only had 2 fish. His total weight was 7.95 & good for 2nd place. There was a 5 fish limit of squeakers that weighed 4.98 lbs. I won’t mention my 2 weighed 2.34 lbs. This is the type of weights from the Ohio River and yours truly has done it many times. The Tsala Apopka Chain is a watershed that’s been hit hard with hurricane runoff over the years….but it is truly one of the prettiest areas I’ve fished  locally. As for my results….one of these days I’ll learn what this game’s all about….maybe.

See ya at the weigh-in.

Steve Henderson

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