Fish Of The Month – February 2019

Its always fun opening my inbox and seeing what members have submitted. It looks like February was a good month for several FFC members. The first report came from FFC member Ron DeLeonardis.

Ron DeLeonardis – 6lbs 3oz – Poinciana Pond

While most of us swear by a Texas rigged soft plastic worm to get the job done, Ron took a different approach by fishing a 5″ long diving minnow. The result was this 6lb. 3oz. Poinciana pond beauty. It might be time to change it up a bit and start throwing a hard bait for a while. You never know.

On February 19th during the annual Villages Bass Tournament the news of a big catch at Bonita pond traveled quickly to the other ponds.

Chip Austin – 6lbs. 1oz. – Bonita Pond

It wasn’t long before we all knew that the lucky angler was FFC member “Chip” Austin and his 6lb. 1oz. catch was enough to clinch not only second place in the tournament but also took “Big Fish” at the event.

The report I received on February 24th from FFC member Tom Spade is one to be shared.

Tom Spade – Sunshine Bass – Lake Harris

No monster fish here but a nice example of a hybrid or “Sunshine Bass” For its size it certainly packs a punch when hooked. Tom was fishing Lake Harris just west of Venetian Cove Inlet in approx. 11 feet of water when this one took the bait.

FFC member Bob Heinbach’s February 28th catch rounded out the month.

Bob Heinbach – 15″ Tilapia – Calumet Pond

Now fly fishing folk do things a little different. They take great pride in tying their own flies and they record their catch in inches instead of pounds. I had to chuckle when Bob reported his catch. It goes something like this, “I caught this 15” Tilapia at Calumet Pond today using a “Trash” fly. Now what is a “Trash” fly? Apparently it is something that Bob has created and clearly it works. WTG Bob

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

Rob Husson

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2019 Villages Outdoor Expo

This years event was very well attended and the interest in fishing is still very strong. With the help of FFC members Bill Gorman and Phil Beitel we were able to answer everyone’s questions during the two day event.

14th Annual Outdoor and Sports Expo

The fact that we are not accepting new members was not an issue. Most everyone we talked to thanked us for providing such an informative web page.

Pres. Randy DiSanto and V.P. Rob Husson



Rob Husson

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Villages Bass Fishing Tournament – 2019

Now in its 10th year, The Villages Bass Fishing Tournament is going strong. On Tuesday, February 19th a total of 59 anglers put their skills to work fishing Bonita, Poinciana, and Ashland ponds.

Poinciana Pond – 7:15 AM

Fishing started promptly at 7:30 AM and within the first 30 minutes three fish had been recorded.

Pam White assisting Art Hoover with his 3lb 3oz Poinciana catch

Ted Kasubick – 2lbs. 15oz – Bonita Pond

Chip Austin – 6lbs. 1oz. – Bonita

Fishing continued until 10:30AM when a whistle blew and all fishing stopped. Anglers turned in their score sheets showing that a total of 14 fish had been caught, weighed, and released during the three hour event.

Participants at Ashland Pond

The awards banquet was held Thursday, February 21st where participants enjoyed a great dinner followed by the presentation of awards.

Awards Banquet – Churchill Rec. Center

With a total catch weight of 6lbs. 9 oz. FFC member Ted Kasubick took the top prize.

Ted Kasubick – First Place

Second place went to FFC member “Chip” Austin with a 6lb. 1oz. total catch weight.

Janet Austin accepting for Chip – Second Place & Big Fish

Third place went to FFC member Neal Parkhurst with a 4lb. 8oz. total catch weight.

Neil Parkhurst – Third Place

The “Big Fish” prize went to “Chip” Austin for his 6lb. 1oz. Bonita pond giant. Unfortunately “Chip” was away and unable to attend the banquet so his wife Janet accepted in his behalf. Thanks to all of the volunteers that made this years event possible.
Rob Husson

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February Guest Speaker – Trevor Fitzgerald

When it comes to quality rods, “Fitzgerald Fishing” has really made its mark and they are quickly becoming the rod of choice for both pro and amateur anglers. We were very fortunate to have Trevor Fitzgerald, the man who started it all, speak at our February meeting.

Guest Speaker – Trevor Fitzgerald

He started several years ago building rods from kits. They worked well but he saw room for improvement. He purchased some blanks and hardware and got to work. With lots of trial and error the result was a high quality custom built rod to be proud of. When his friends became aware of his talent they too wanted a custom built rod and soon there was a waiting list. What started as a part time thing Fitzgerald Rods have certainly made a mark in the world of fishing. Trevor explained the entire process of rod making from start to finish.

The Many Steps Of Rod Building

He described the many types of grips and guides used in the process. He was eager to answer any questions that members had. He also brought along copies of his latest catalog and two “Versus” rods that we raffled off.

Rod Winners – Ed Ehrhardt and Wayne Barksdale with Trevor Fitzgerald

Lucky winners were Ed Ehrhardt and Wayne Barksdale. If you would like to see the full line of Fitzgerald rods, stop by Brookers Bait & Tackle in Leesburg. They carry the full line.

Rob Husson

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Fish Of The Month – January 2019

Only three days into the new year, FFC members Rip and Marni Strautman have reported not one but two Lake Rodman trophy catches. Rip’s 10lb. 7oz. giant hit early morning and it only got better from there.

Rip 10lb. 7oz. Lake Rodman

Shortly after noon, Marni landed a 10lb. 6oz. monster.

Marni 10lbs. 6oz. Lake Rodman

Both were submitted to FWC’s Trophy Catch program and there will be some nice goodies headed their way.

Bill Shelton 17.6lb. Longnose Gar Lake Harris

At mid month while fishing Lake Harris, FFC member Bill Shelton had a OMG moment. Bill quickly learned that anything can happen when fishing with live bait. Not knowing at first what had taken his offering Bill knew that it was something big. After what seemed to be an eternity Bill finally got his catch in the boat. This 52″ Longnose Gar tipped the scales at 17.6lbs. WTG Bill.

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

Rob Husson

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January Happenings

NOTICE: We apologize, due to venue constraints we are not accepting new members and guests at this time. Monthly meetings will be open to current FFC members only. This web page is updated regularly and it contains a wealth of information that we hope you find helpful. We do encourage residents who are interested in joining our club to get on our waiting list. Just send your name and phone number to When space becomes available we will contact you in order received.
Wayne Barksdale Scores A Money Catch
For FFC member Wayne Barksdale the 2019 season got off to a great start. While fishing Lake Griffin on January 2nd Wayne landed a nice Bass with a bright yellow tag attached. Now I’m sure that anyone who fishes the Harris Chain on a regular basis knows that this is a “Money Fish” and in this case it amounted to a cool $100 for Wayne.



As it turns out this was the third tagged fish that Wayne has landed. Two years ago he caught a 8lb plus Bass with a $200 payout and that same year a 3lb Bass with a $50 payout. The FWC tagging program started a number of years ago and it collects information from anglers who in turn are rewarded for their reporting. Wayne has agreed to give a short description of this program at our February meeting.
R&R Fishing Clinic / January 15th, 2019
Despite the cool morning temp, seventeen FFC members met at the Miona Rec. Ctr. pond for the monthly clinic.

January Clinic at Miona Pond

This months topic was how to rig and fish a creature bait. This method is normally very productive but unfortunately the fish had other ideas. All agreed to give it another try when water temps come up a bit. Anyone interested in attending a future clinic can sign up at our monthly meetings.

Rob Husson

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Terry “Big Show” Scroggins Speaks At January Meeting

From selecting a rod to choosing what type of bait to use, Terry covered it all at the January meeting.

Tips For Selecting A Rod

He described in detail some of the best performing baits and how with slight modifications they can be made even more effective. Something as simple as trimming the skirt on a chatterbait to make it run deeper or adding a small spinner blade to a soft plastic worm to make it vibrate.

Modification To Soft Plastic Worms

He also shared some of his favorite colors and how water clarity is a factor when selecting color. Terry also provided some very helpful information to those who fish the St. Johns River. Fish seem to be active in areas of moving water. Great information for those attending this months trip.
Rob Husson

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