Starting The New Year Off Right

Garth Brooks might have had friends in low places….but many of our friends are in cold places….so with the holidays over….it’s cold if you’re a Floridian….the bass are in the wanna fool around mode….or soon will be. You break out your Christmas gifts & head to the lake with your northern brethren in tow only to find that micropterus salmoides, aka largemouth bass, are no where to be found….maybe for some. Below left is Rick Cope’s OH friend Grant Hatfield holding a 3 & 6 pounder….2 decent fish. Then there’s Larry Lemon with a heavy 6 pounder. Look at Grant’s long skinny fish compared to Larry’s short wide load.

Grant Hatfield

Grant Hatfield – 3 & 6 lbs

Larry Lemon - 6.6 lbs

Larry Lemon – 6.6 lbs









Rick Cope is no stranger on here and has proved it many times with his catches. Check out Rick’s pics below. These Harris Chain bass are not uncommon and recent catches registered on Trophy Catch show the results of how fish management is working. Look at the poor gals tail on the lower right picture. Rick said this fish was 26″ long but skinny & weighed 6 lbs 14 oz.  Rick also mentioned that his best 5 fish recently went over 21 lbs.

Rick Cope 6 lb

Rick Cope 6 lb

Rick Cope 6.3 lbs

Rick Cope 6.14 lbs









Long time friend & tournament fisherman Rick Cayton from Sparta, KY made his annual trek to the sunshine state to fish with me….I should have told him to leave the cold windy weather behind….nonetheless Rick was on cue catching them even though I stuck him in the back of the boat. No front ending this year, I thought….seriously though I was glad to see him get bit.

Rick Cayton 6 lb 10 oz Caught on Toad Lake Deaton

Rick Cayton 4 lb 10 oz Caught on Toad Lake Deaton

Rick Cayton pair of 5 pounders on lipless

Rick Cayton pair of Lake Griffin
5 pounders Caught on Lipless










Here’s a couple more results from Ricks visit below. Not every day was a banner day. There were 2 days that we blanked and 1 day we didn’t go. The best 5 bass we weighed in was 13.20….

Rick Cayton 4 lb 13 oz Ate a Lipless

Rick Cayton 4 lb 13 oz
Ate a Lipless

Rick Cayton 5 lb 6 oz

Rick Cayton 5 lb 6 oz









Rick Cayton hoisting a 6 lb 2 oz

Rick Cayton hoisting a
5 lb 2 oz


So the next time you’re out & the fish aren’t cooperating MOVE, switch baits, & enjoy your company. I know I did.

Note: The majority of these fish were caught on lipless crankbaits….some on plastics pitchin/flippin in heavy cover….and even some on flukes tossed on spinning rigs. Be observant & look for ANY surface action especially baitfish.


Steve Henderson


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