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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Fish Of The Month – July 2020 & What Makes The Number Seven Lucky?

With air temps in the 90’s and feels like temps in the triple digits, fishing Florida waters in July can sometimes be a less than pleasing experience. Some good sun protection and plenty to drink can certainly make your outing more enjoyable. Just remember, fish still have to eat and here is a good example. On July 30th while fishing the Oklawaha River, FFC member Rich Grunwald took this nice 8.1 pound Largemouth Bass with a live Shiner.

Rich Grunwald, 8.1 Lbs. Oklawaha River

A catch worthy of the title “Fish Of The Month” but it also qualifies as a Florida “Trophy Catch” WTG Rich!Pin
Now lets take a closer look into that “Lucky Number Seven” thing.

There are seven days of the week, seven colors of the rainbow, seven notes on a musical scale, seven seas, seven continents, and Snow White ran off to live with seven dwarfs. July is the seventh month so lets take a look back and see if this “Lucky Number 7” related to fishing.
On 7/2, FFC member Wayne Barksdale reported a nice Lake Griffin Largemout Bass that weighed in at (get ready for this) 7lbs. 2oz.

Wayne Barksdale, 7lbs. 2oz., Lake Griffin

Wayne also reported five others having a combined weight of 20lbs.

On 7/27, FFC member Jim Jones reported this Villages Pond beauty that weighed in at 7lbs. 4oz. (there’s that number seven again)

Jim Jones, 7lbs. 4oz., Villages Pond

On 7/28, FFC member Frank Martines reported this Villages Pond Channel Catfish that tipped the scales at 7lbs. 3oz. (do we see a pattern here?)

Frank Martines, 7lbs. 3oz., Villages Pond

Finally on 7/28, FFC member Bob Heinbach reeled in this nice Villages Pond Tilapia that measured (watch for it) 17″

Bob Heinbach, 17″ Tilapia, Villages Pond

Now is this just luck or something more. Who knows? Certainly interesting.
It’s now August, the 8th month. Will we see some 8 pounders? Time will tell.
Thanks to all who have reported and sent in pics. Keep them coming.
Rob Husson

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Fish Of The Month – June 2020

With the exception of a few good reports, the month of June was fairly quiet. The local ponds have produced some average size Bass and some decent size Tilapia. Central Florida lakes seemed to have done a little better and here’s a good example. FFC member Denny Dzurinko posted this on the Fishing Reports page on June 24th and for those who have not yet signed up, here is the story. “Yesterday, 23 June, my wife wanted to take a ride around Lake Harris, Little Lake Harris, and Lake Eustis. So we rented a pontoon boat 8:30a – 12:30p from Venetian Gardens. Knowing how far it is around those three lakes, I didn’t think Id have enough time to do any fishing but I brought one rod with a green twist tail rubber worm left over from my last trip. A tiny tackle bag with tape measure, but no scale. After almost four hours of cruising the perimeters of three lakes, we got back to Venetian Gardens about 10 minutes early. We called Venetian Gardens per their instructions when we were 10 minutes out so they could meet us at the gas pump. The guy said give me 5 minutes and come on in. So I grabbed my pole with only 5 minutes to fish and on the second cast, caught a nice bass on the edge of Lilly pads.

Denny Dzurinko – Venetian Gardens Catch

It measured 22.5″ long with a girth of 15.25″. When I got home, I went online to the FWC bass weight calculator and it turns out that those measurements converted to 6 lb 5 oz. Not a bad day for two casts in 90 seconds. I put her back unharmed and headed in”
Now this was not the biggest fish reported in June but definitely a noteable catch and worthy of the title “Fish Of The Month”FOTMThere were several “Honorable Mentions” in June and they were taken by several different methods. A Heddon Torpedo did the trick for FFC member Len Durcholz.

Len Durcholz – 5lbs. 9oz. – Villages Pond

Len quickly waved down a nearby landscaper that snapped the pic of Len holding this 5lb. 9oz. Villages pond beauty.

FFC member Trevor Bailey took a different approach and landed this 7.46 lb. Lake Griffin giant with a soft plastic Speedworm.

Trevor Bailey – 7.46lbs – Lake Griffin

A chatreuse/pepper lizard got the job done for FFC member Frank Martines.┬áThis 6.10 lb. Santiago pond Bass just couldn’t resist.

Frank Martines – 6.10 lbs. – Santiago Pond

Another Santiago pond catch for Frank was this 7.1 pounder taken with a Ned Rig.

Frank Martines – 7.1 lbs. – Santiago Pond

Some nice size Tilapia have been hitting on flies. FFC member Bob Heinbach took this 17″ long, 3lb. 10oz. at Freedom Point.

Bob's Tilapia. 3.1 Lbs

Bob Heinbach – 17″ long 3.10 lbs. – Freedom Point

Thanks to all who have sent in reports and photos. Keep them coming. If you have not yet registered to receive fishing reports just click on the “Fishing Forums” tab at the top of this page and follow the directions. It’s a great source of information.
Rob Husson

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Fish Of The Month – May 2020

Going to change things up a bit this month and let the lucky angler describe his catch. I received this message from FFC member Wayne Barksdale on May 12th. Here is the story.
“What a great bass trip I had today. Went to Lakeland to fish the Winter Haven chain. All ramps are big bass was 8lb 7oz.

Wayne Barksdale – 8lbs. 7oz. – Lakeland

Next was a 6lb 2oz. I caught several bass in the 3 and 4lb range. All of them were in 10 to 12 ft. grass just a hard bottom. Used a Tokyo Rig with June bug trailer and magnum trick worm. June bug. Used regular 5/16 weight for magnum”
Sounds like a great day to me!

Several nice fish were reported last month. I encourage everyone to sign up on the fishing reports page and share what you have been doing.FOTM
Rob Husson

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April Happenings & Fish Of The Month

April, 2020 will be remembered for a number of reasons. With stores and restaurants closed and most activities put on hold things weren’t looking good. A steady diet of take-out food and jigsaw puzzles can get old real fast. Well a number of FFC members made the best of things and headed for their favorite fishing spot and here are just some of the results. FFC member Wayne Barksdale was the first to report and it’s no April fools joke. Fishing Lake Griffin on April 1st, Wayne started his day with a 6lb.-14oz. Bass

Wayne 6-14

Wayne Barksdale 6lbs. 14oz. Lake Griffin

and finished the day with a 7lb.- 2oz. Bass. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Wayne 7lbs. 2oz.

Wayne Barksdale 7lbs. 2oz. Lake Griffin

On April 13th, FFC member Rich Haessley landed a 8lb.- 0oz. Villages pond Bass on a Tokyo Rigged 10″ Culprit worm.

Rich Haessley / Villages Pond

Note the Leupold logo on Rich’s hat. Do they make a spotting scope for fish?

On April 15th, FFC member Jack Lee Askew reeled in this Lake Paradise giant while fishing a Watermelon/Pumpkin Ned Rig.

Jack Lee Askew / Lake Paradise

Jack is fairly new to fishing this set up but it’s quickly becoming his favorite.

On April 20th, FFC member Tom Steenson landed this Lake Paradise beast.

Tom Steenson / Lake Paradise

Tom did not have a scale but with a 23-1/2″ length and a 18″ girth we can safely say that it was 8lbs.

Now not all fish are taken with soft plastic baits. A properly presented fly can have great results. FFC member Bob Heinbach landed this nice 21″ Bass and a 17″ Tilapia. Both taken from a Villages pond.

Bob Heinbach / 21″ Bass

Bob Heinbach / 17″ Tilapia

Fish Of The Month
It’s sounding like the “handshake” is going to be a thing of the past but if “rubbing shoulders” is an acceptable substitute, FFC member Jim Jones is your guy. Maybe a little of Jim’s good luck will rub off. On April 4th, Jim landed yet another Villages pond Trophy Catch qualifier.

Jim Jones / 8lbs. 8oz. / Villages Pond

Now Jim has been fishing the Ned Rig almost exclusively but he decided to mix things up with a chatterbait. Turned out to be a good choice as this 8lb. 8oz. couldn’t resist the offering. Now April wasn’t such a bad month after all.

Thanks to all who reported and sent in pics. Keep them coming.FOTM
Rob Husson

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Fish Of The Month – March, 2020

We have all heard the story that if a Greyhound catches the rabbit, it stops running and if a Bass falls for a artificial bait once, it probably won’t take it a second time. Well let’s examine this “Myth” a little closer. On March 15th, FFC member Jim Jones landed yet another Villages pond trophy Bass that weighed in at a whopping 9lbs. 7oz.

Jim Jones / 9lbs.7oz. / Villages Pond

This giant was taken with a Z-Man Big TRD bait fished on a Toyoko Rig. It was weighed, photographed, and quickly released. Now lets fast forward a couple days. While fishing the same pond, using artificial bait, in the same general area, FFC member Frank Martines reeled in this monster.

Frank Martines / 9lbs. 7oz. / Villages Pond

Look familiar? After a quick trip to the scale and a weight of 9lbs. 7oz. appeared, I think we can safely say “Myth Busted” A couple more photos, a quick release, and who knows, we might just see this one again someday. Time will tell. Now back to that Greyhound story, the jury is still out on that one.FOTM
Thanks to all who have reported and sent in pics. Keep them coming.
Rob Husson

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Fishing Forums

We now have 3 Google Groups, or forums:

1) Fishing Reports. To be used exclusively to report fishing results and the response thereto.

2) Kayak Fishing. To arrange kayak fishing trips and to discuss kayak fishing, in general. (Fishing results should be posted in Fishing Reports.)

3) Fishing Buddy. All other fishing communications, including communications to find a fishing buddy.

Jerry Lester

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More About the Ned Rig

The Ned Rig was discussed last month by pro angler Trevor, Fitzgerald. This month’s speaker, was FFC member and Club Secretary Jim Jones. Jim has used the Ned Rig to catch numerous 8+ lb. Bass in The Villages retention ponds. So, when Jim spoke about his techniques for fishing it, the members were eager to listen.

The main advantage of the Ned Rig is that when it sinks to the bottom, the buoyant plastic becomes vertical, thus preventing it from sinking into the bottom debris. The vertical tail continues to be visible and to entice. Here is a refresher of the configuration.

Jerry Lester

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Fish Of The Month – February 2020

(Now You See Me – Now You Don’t)
On February 15th, just three days before this years Villages Bass Fishing Tournament, FFC member Rich Haessley spent a little time at Miona Rec. Center pond fishing the beds. Knowing that fish on a bed can be quite finicky, Rich decided to keep it small. A white Sunami stick bait cut down to 3″ and fished Wacky Rig was the winning combination.

This 8.1 lb. giant just couldn’t resist the offering. Now fast forward three days to the tournament. Although a total of eight Bass were caught in this pond during the three hour event, this big one never appeared.FOTM

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

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February Happenings

While our friends up north are thumbing through their latest Bass Pro and Cabela’s catalogs and hoping for a early spring, things here in Florida are moving at full steam and there’s plenty to report. Now in it’s 11th year, the annual Villages Bass Fishing Tournament was another great success. On February 18th, 45 anglers took part in this three Villages ponds event.

A total of 17 Bass were taken during the three hour event and although the numbers were slightly lower than last years count, the quality of fish taken was a big improvement.

Steve Cothran – 6lbs. 3oz. – Miona Pond


Steve Felix Weighs Art Hoover’s 4lb. 2oz. Catch

tourney 9

Noah Orndoff records a 3lb. 8oz. Catch


Steve Felix Recording Tom Hart’s Catch At Bonita Pond

The results are as follows:

Top honors went to Rich Spitler with a 10lb. 8oz. two fish Ashland Pond catch.

Rich Spitler – First Place – 10 lbs 8oz. Total Weight

Finishing second was John Schwarts with a 7lb 5oz. two fish Miona Pond catch.

John Schwarts – Second Place – 7lbs. 5oz.

In third place was Steve Cothran with a single 6lb. 3oz. Miona Pond catch.

Steve Cothran – Third Place – 6lbs. 3oz.

Honorable mention went to Noah Orndoff with a 6lb. 0oz. two fish Bonita Pond catch.

Noah Orndoff – Honorable Mention – 6lbs. 0oz.

The “Big Fish” of the event was taken by Rich Spitler at Ashland Pond weighing in at 6lbs. 5oz.

Rich Spitler – “Big Fish” 6lbs. 5oz.

It was nice to see fish taken at all three ponds and the totals are as follows. Three fish were taken at Ashland Pond, six at Bonita Pond, and eight at Miona Pond. The awards banquet was held Thursday, February 20th at Miona Rec. Center where prizes were presented to all the winners. There was a special drawing added this year for a seat on the Lake Sumter guided fishing trip and for finishing in first place, Rich Spitler got a automatic seat. The remaining three seats were won by anglers Art Hoover, Tom Soli, and pond judge Tom Spade.

Art Hoover – Tom Soli – Tom Spade – Rich Spitler

A Fitzgerald Vursa rod was donated by Trevor Fitzgerald and the lucky winner was Frank Vockell.

Fitzgerald Rod Winner – Frank Vockell

A big thank you to all who participated in this years event. A special thank you to Lisa Parkyn and Dominic Pascuzzo from The Villages Recreation Dept, Brooker Bait & Tackle for some great tackle, and of course The Oakwood Grill for the great food.

Food Provided By Oakwood Grill

Villages Pond Stocking Update

On Friday, February 21st several FFC members met at The Everglades Rec. Center Pond to watch the first stocking of Bass.

Pond Stocking At Everglades Rec Center Pond

The pond is located directly behind the rec. ctr. and is a designated fishing pond. Prior to this stocking, this pond was stocked in advance by Langford Aquatics of Lakeland, Florida with Bluegills and Shiners.

Fred Langford

Freddy Langford of Langford Aquatics

This will be a immediate food source for the newly released Bass. Looking forward to hearing some good reports from our newest fishing location. FFC member Chip Austin just couldn’t wait to wet a line and took a shot at the stocking tanks.

Chip Austin At The Stocking Truck

Annual Villages Outdoor Expo

Now in it’s 19th year, this two day event showcases a number of outdoor activites available to Villages residents.

Rob Husson Showing Types Of Soft Plastic Baits

Fishing, kayaking, sailing, R/C model cars and boats, scuba, biking and archery are just a sampling of the participating clubs. As always the Freshwater Fishing Club provides visitors information about fishing opportunities here in central Florida.

Steve Felix Provided Harris Chain Info.

Assisting this year were FFC members Bill Gorman and Steve Felix providing info. about fishing the Harris Chain Of Lakes.
Monthly Fishing Trip

Lake Panasoffkee was the location for the February 25th trip and looking at the pics provided by FFC member Tom Spade it appears that it was a success.

Tom Spade – Lake Panasoffkee Bowfin

A mix of Bass, Bowfin, and Pickerel were the catch of the day.

John Rumplash’s Lake Pan Pickerel

Now look close at the pics. Is this the best dressed duo of fisherman that you have seen?

Here’s A New Technique

Tom’s crisp white Bass Pro Shops hat and John Rumplasch’s white Reel Legends shirt certainly make a statement. Members interested in future trips can sign up at any monthly meeting. As trip information becomes available it will be posted. Simply click the “Meetings/Events” tab at the top of this page.

Rob Husson

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