In The Heat Of The MOWment

It’s 0410 Wednesday morning Aug 30th….time to hook the boat up & go right? WRONG  – my 4 legged alarm wants out. Are you serious??? You mean old dogs have the same problem as old men??? This is my 3rd time up before daylight & that noise I hear in the hood is the newspaper guy tossing papers onto driveways….Ah yes we love our animals.

Several hours pass….Do I mow the grass….or Lake Deaton anyone? It’s close & I haven’t been in 2 months. Water ought to be up….but I’ve never done any good there during the summer. ( Click on any pics to enlarge )

Deaton Feb 2014

Looking N Deaton Ramp 8/30/17

Looking SW from NW Corner Deaton

Not All Are Giants wt 8 oz

And a sure sign that they’re not biting is an empty parking lot. Just remember – not all anglers brag about what or where they’re biting & yes I didn’t get there until almost 1100. Bright sun & temps north of 90 is the menu of the day. I’m not complaining….I moved here for a reason. Notice the 30 month ago comparison of Deaton water levels with today. The Villages on the north side of Deaton is probably sodded, watered….pretty much established. Reclaimed water used for this area? I’m not a hydro engineer so you be the judge. Deaton is definitely up and for now the catching remains disappointing. I know there’s times that the schooling bass are on the prowl but not the day I was there. Notice also how the lily pads are expanding in coverage. There used to be a lane from the boat ramp to the north shoreline. It’s filling in.

Trevor Bailey & Jerry Echols “On Em” near Gainesville. Specks abound 8/29/30

Trevor Bailey & Jerry Echols caught their limits of “Specks” near Gainesville 8/29/17

And because the bass aren’t gorging themselves doesn’t mean that the specks/crappies aren’t  biting. FFC Membership Chairman, Trevor Bailey (pictured) went fishing with 1 of the best crappie anglers I know, former FFC President Jerry Echols. Bailey said they limited out (25 ea angler) early at a lake near Gainesville. Echols spider rigs his boat with a scientific method. Echols has told me in the past that he’d rather fish for specks this time of year than spawning season. In the north we’d search for these fish in brushpiles or whatever cover was available. Echols said summer months these fish cruise open water making it ideal for his application with 8 rods poking out the front of the boat and whatever the amount out the back. Just imagine when you hit a school. The Subaru commercial that the kid says ZOOM ZOOM comes to mind. Small jigs & minnows are the menu.

Don holding nice Northern Pike while fishing French River in Canada away from FL heat.

Further north here’s FFC member Don Kindilien with a nice northern pike he’d caught while fishing the French River in Canada. Kindilien said the fish was 38″ & weighed 18.9 lbs. Yeah I’ll bet he put up a fight.

Hadley Village Resident Joyce Goodine at East Machias, Maine – fillet time.

Here’s Joyce Goodine, that’s rubbing it in, about her catch while at East Machias, ME on Gardner Lake. Uh yeah I’m jealous. Those were to be an evening meal. Nice job Joyce.

Web Masters Business Luncheon

My fellow web master friend, Jerry Lester, has been under the funk for sometime while having a knock down drag out fight with shingles. So to help him rebound I decided to take him for a ride to Ocala for lunch to Tony’s Bar & Grill….well that’s what it used to be. My wife and I had eaten there before & I remember it being a nice place….besides Jerry & I wanted something light but pleasing to the pallet. That place worked a miracle because he wanted to go back VERY soon. He heard they had good wings. I don’t remember….Did we eat lunch???



Harvey, Irma, Next???

With the ongoing tragedy of Harvey & the pending of Irma’s arrival, that at this moment is estimated to have winds of 120 mph by Tue Sep 5th….I can’t stress enough about preparedness. It’ll never affect me….famous last words from person saying “Hold my beer & watch this” ….

Please help your fellow man anyway you feel comfortable. Right now FEMA is asking for volunteers at recovery centers. It’s with a heavy heart, & I’m sure I speak for many, to see this tragedy persist along the Gulf Coast. Is it over? Irma has just been declared a Cat 2 Hurricane and will be “extremely dangerous” per the Weather Channel.

Please say a prayer for all involved. We truly need divine intervention.

The Villages Starter Box, shown below left, will be raffled at Sep 12th FFC meeting. Tickets are available for $2 each or 3 for $5.

Villages Starter Box 91 pc $85.99 – Tournament tested & works in FL available Brooker Bait

FFC LOGO – Custom Apparel 3451 Wedgewood Ln Southern Plaza near Publix








Steve Henderson

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Power Pole & Bass Tracker Boat Warranty – Eclipse Fishing

I heard if you put a Power Pole on the back of a Bass Tracker Pro Team 175, it’ll void the warranty. Really!!!

Tim Frederick

I saw FLW Power Pole Pro Tim Frederick and asked him if it’s true? He advised me to contact BPS and I did with the following reply: Bass Tracker Pro 175 models aren’t designed to support the extra weight and therefore is not recommended….and will void the “transom warranty.” The gal said “it will void the warranty of the hull in that area”. I know a few individuals that have Trackers with Power Poles on them and none are Pro models and are even older. To my knowledge they’ve had no issues. The Tracker Pro Team 190 & 195 models are ok & even show brackets available ($145) as options when building a boat. Know before you buy….

FFCVP Rob Husson 8/17/17 Wt 5 lbs 4 oz
Yum Dinger
Villages Retention Pond


On Aug 17, 2017 FFCVP Rob Husson sent me a pic of a nice bass he’d caught from a Village pond. I commented to Rob that 2017 has been a great year for him. It’s also safe to say that he’s caught the majority of his large bass slowly dragging a Yum Dinger….similar to a Senko. Get with Rob at the next FFC meeting on Sep 12. I’m sure he’ll be glad to tell you his technique. As for his location….as my dad used to say, “I caught them at wet lake.” They’re all wet.


8/21/17 During Eclipse
Lake Griffin

So what’d you do the day of the eclipse? I thought I’d fish, imagine that, instead of getting hung up with the eclipse. I’m a self proclaimed weather geek & have seen enough promo on the subject and decided to check how the fish would react. I launched at 1:00 pm at Griffin….before the start of the eclipse. I zoomed to a favorite spot and caught 1 bass on a squarebill that was 12 1/4″….kept looking for activity on the surface….ospreys diving for food….cormorants swimming/flying around….baitfish skipping….it’s been some 24 hours later at this writing & I’d probably still be waiting. My one surprise was that it didn’t get as dark as I thought it would during the eclipse. I tried to watch it but had issues when I had to put on my rainsuit. Pretty tough to see thru the clouds. And check this monster mushroom. It looked awesome from a distance don’t ya think?!?! And I could watch this with my prescription sunglasses while wearing a rainsuit. I should have just left the rainsuit off because I was as wet with sweat as I would have been with rain.

(Click on any pics to enlarge)

Villages Starter Box 91 pc $85.99 – Tournament tested & works in FL available Brooker Bait

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Bass fishing & Olympic sport? Don’t laugh – Stay tuned. Also if you like what you see, scroll down the right side of the home page & sign up. It’s painless 🙂

Steve Henderson

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10″ Worms to Wire Leaders

On Aug 8th there were 17 of us that fished Lake Harris launching from Venetian Gardens. Have you launched there lately? Hydrilla & eels grass everywhere. Obviously they’ve not sprayed that area….although good for the fish & savvy anglers….not so for the boaters. Here’s John Hendry showing 1 of his 5 that weighed 5.34….Hendry caught his largest bass at 1:52 with 8 minutes to get to weigh-in.

John Hendry wt 5.34
Big Bass Aug 8. 2017
Lake Harris Tournament

Hendry’s total weight was 5/12.20 lbs giving him 1st place & Big Bass. As for the rest….well not so good. 35 fish were weighed in with 6 out of 17 anglers having zero. I only had 4 that weighed 5.13….called my Sparta, Ky friend Rick Cayton & he said, “You could have fished the Ohio River and had that weight”….and that’d been for 5 fish. I just laughed – but it’s true.

Rick Cope 2 of 5
Lake Griffin May 2017

Here’s Rick Cope with some late entries from Lake Griffin he caught back in May of 2017. Cope was also fishing a tournament. Nice sack Rick.

Rick Cope 3 of 5






Wayne Barksdale Wt 5.11
Lake Griffin 8/9/17

I saw FFC member Wayne Barksdale yesterday at Eagles Nest ramp on Griffin. He said he’d had a good day but it was getting hot & decided to quit. His arsenal consists of swimbaits & worms slowly dragged across the eel grass & hydrilla. Barksdale generally catches them….but he’s also told me “You don’t hear from me on days I don’t”!

Barksdale said “You’re getting late start aren’t you?” My reply was that I was just launching the boat because I’ve got a bunk trailer bracket that broke & was taking it to Jungle Welding aka Updike Welding in Leesburg across from the post office. I dropped off the trailer & within 2 hours received a call from Peter saying it was done. He had to fabricate another steel bracket for me & drill 3 holes. I was VERY pleased with the service and the cost. And yes you may be thinking I can do this myself. Well I could have if I had the steel, a drill press, and bits large enough to bore the hole. It’s like this….better to have it done by a professional than try this myself. Highly recommend his services if you need any welding on steel or aluminum. The only reason I didn’t wait was because Peter was going to lunch.

While waiting for my trailer to be fixed I went to Brooker Bait & tackle in Leesburg. Visiting with George, who was working the counter, a young man age 13 or so came in and purchased a bag of Zoom watermelon red 10″ worms that he casts on his baitcaster and drags them slowly across the bottom with great success fishing at Venetian Gardens. Duh – no Steve, launch from Venetian Gardens and run to Apopka where there’s no fish. Mental note to self to stay in Venetian Gardens. Shortly thereafter a couple came in & the man asked if I could help him & showed me some soft plastics the shape of a 2″ willow blade. Personally I’ve never seen anything like them before. He said a friend had given them to him but with no hooks and he wanted some. The only thing I could figure was a drop shot rig with a small hook or nose hook them on a 1/16 oz road runner. And his next question was “Do you have wire leaders?” Stop right there….This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this. Owner Bill Brooker has mentioned this several times in the past about people coming into the store & wanting wire leaders…..folks we’re not fishing for walleye, muskie, or northerns even though we have some toothy critters. Well that prompted me to do this: Over the years many have tried to catch bass since moving to Florida with little success. This aint minnuhsowtuh or mitchigunn – “GO BUCKS” These fish don’t read the same literature as their brethren. Below is a picture of what has worked and is tournament proven by many especially me. Keep in mind this is only a SMALL PORTION but will definitely get you started towards success when rigged properly. This isn’t junk you’ll see advertised on TV for nineteen ninety nine or WAIT receive the next box free….just BS shipping and handing. Bill & Natalie Brooker at Brooker Bait & Tackle have the inventory sheet printed out so all you need to do is call and say you want The Villages Starter Kit. Please allow 24 hrs before pick up. There’s 91 pieces including the box consisting of 40 trick worms, 5 crankbaits, 15 weights, 10 hooks, 10 toads, 10 flukes. $85.99 out the door. This box will be pre-assembled/loaded. Call the store at 352-460-0695 to order. And BTW, the Freshwater Fishing Club makes zero from this sale. We’re here to help.

Villages Starter Box 91 pc $85.99 – Tournament tested & works in FL













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1400 plus Lakes in
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FLW Podcasts & Videos

Watch results of Forrest Wood cup on internet Aug 11 thru Aug 13. Lake Murray SC

Just a reminder that if you like what you see scroll down the right side of the home page & sign up for future blogs. The whole truth & nothing but the truth to include the good bad & ugly.


Steve Henderson

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When was it you did anything for the first time? Do you remember? Oh come on get your mind out of the livewell….I’m referring to catching your first bass, driving the golf cart, or driving the boat. My 14 y/o grandson visited recently and accomplished all three. First came the golf cart….nervous was the norm….considering where we live I’m nervous daily & drive on average 7200 miles a year in a golf cart AND DON’T GOLF. Once arriving back at the house I looked at Sam & said “no bumps or bruises, we’re hear to talk about it, we’re fine so it’s all good.

Sam Anderson 7/26/17
1st Time Captain

The following day 3 of us were to go fishing….younger brother/grandson Lucas picked a fine time to get sick….on vacation….so he stayed home. Sam & I went to Lake Griffin with my hopes of putting him on ANYTHING. Feel like temps in 100’s made for a miserable outing.

My first bass wt 1 lb 5 oz
Lake Griffin 7/26/17 FOTM?




Sam did manage to catch a 1 lb 5 oz bass on a Carolina rigged watermelon red fluke. I caught 3 dinks on a worm. While running around the lake Sam jumped at the chance to take the helm. He told mom he got the boat up to 31….at least that’s what he told her but when I said trim it up and give it more gas the GPS read 41. There was a little bit of throttle remaining….just a little….heh heh.

Wayne Barkasdale 6 lb 5 oz
Lake Griffin July 21, 2017


I was reluctant to post the Fish Of The Month (FOTM) picture of Wayne Barksdale with an always nice specimen weighing 6 lbs 5 oz that he caught on a junebug trickworm….lets face it….FOTM or first bass of your life? Of course I’m prejudice but we’ll let the readers be the judge.

And for those that thought they’d seen it all, this pic was sent to me. When Jose Cuerpo or whoever he is, says something….you know it’s gotta be gospel….right Jerry Echols 🙂




Not valid with any other discount – Applies only to FFC members in good standing

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Steve Henderson

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PM storms, hot air & water temperatures are changing things up somewhat. Slow dragging a plastic ??? across the bottom works….or does it….yes it does AT TIMES. Just when you think you’re going by the book & things are supposed to function as normal it gets FUBAR on you. (you’ll figure it out) July 11 Don Millich & I were fishing a tournament near Inverness on Lake Henderson. This wasn’t a buddy tournament….we were competing against each other in my boat. I tried my darnedest to front end him :)….but I did offer him the front deck….REALLY! I caught 2 on a white hollowbody toad in 15 min. So much for that bait after 90 min. We switched locations & started throwing worms. Me a junebug trick worm & Millich a junebug speed worm. He looked like KVD ripping that thing thru the water. Well guess what? He was getting bit. Me, on the other hand, was slowly dragging a trick worm intermittently & getting bit.  In the heat you slow down??? In the cold you slow down??? Who the hell writes these stories anyway? I’m just telling you what we used & what worked that day. Normally a Tsala Apopka Chain tournament can be won with a sack of 5 weighing 9 to 11 lbs. The results were 18 anglers caught 35 fish. 8 anglers blanked. First place was Brian Reed with 8.31 lbs. Scales weigh in 100’s. Millich & I both had a decent fish & thought maybe big bass and it weighed the same. What’s the chances of that on scales set to 100th of a pound. Our fish each weighed 2.38. Millich finished 4th over all & 1 place out of the money. And if I wouldn’t have knocked his fish off with the net he’d have beaten me. That’ll learn ya. My 5 weighed 6.80 & awarded me 3rd place….woo hoo….  I reminded him on the way home that I netted his 10.14 lbr last year in a tournament on this same body of water. We celebrated with a chocolate shake from MD’s going home. BTW winner Brian Reed was ripping a stick bait JUST LIKE KVD.  Reed also had big bass 3.22….He fished within 150 yards from Millich & I. Go figure!

Harris Chain Bassmasters Tournament

Click on picture for information


Weight 7 lb 6 oz

July 7, 2017 Yum Dinger strikes again….or is it the same fish??? Different shirt, hat, deodorant? FFCVP Rob Husson fishes the retention ponds in The Villages. He gets to his locations via golf cart NOT 65 mph hi-tech go fast water gadgetry. This is fish number 4 OVER 7 lbs that he’s caught in 2017. The day before he sent me a pic of a 7.0 on scales. Click on any pics to enlarge. Hey Rob where’s that selfie stick?



Not all are trophy catch – Is that a CARP??

Many are away from the humidity & located in the north someplace. Here’s Wayne Barksdale with a….wait a minute….that ain’t no smallMOUTH. Did you catch that on a doughball? I’m sure it put up a good fight anyway. You’ll have to fill us in on your technique….NOT!!


My 4.5 lbs has a long way to go – Wanna be like Rob

L/R Top Row Livingston & Cotton Cordell
1 Knocker

Here’s a bass that ate my last Citrus Shad colored XCalibur 1 Knocker. We’ve all got favorite baits  & recently that was mine. I’ve tried to find a facsimile but….close. Natalie at Brooker Bait in Leesburg said the bait company Boo Yah is coming out with other colors. By then I’ll probably have another favorite color.

The Livingston lipless crankbait worked catching, but I only heard it make noise for a few casts & the noise didn’t work immediately. Another quality Cheenuh product. I still see Bassmaster pro Randy Howells smiling face & him saying “She ate a Livingston baby”. You’d be happy too if you’d just won the Bassmaster Classic.



Rick caught this 2 lb bass on white spinnerbait

Here’s Mr. Rick that caught this 2 lbr at Herlong Park while walking the shoreline on July 18. Rick said he’d been randomly casting a white spinnerbait and been there about 20 minutes. I’d been out 5 hours and caught 4. My largest wasn’t much bigger than his. And that towel around his neck, not for wiping fish slime off his hands. Feel like temp was 102.




Mr Mike caught this bass on a black worm


And then, Mr Mike, full name withheld, shows me a 2 lbr he caught on a worm at Herlong Park on June 29. Had to laugh….not sure if he was in a witness protection program or what….he jumped out of the way of his parked vehicle to get it out of the photo.  Keep in mind that many local bass tournaments on Lake Griffin release their fish at the ramp. You can FIND most ANY Florida tournament scheduled on our web site by clicking on Meeting/Events & scroll down under NEAR-TERM MEETINGS & EVENTS ….FL Bass Tournaments.


Remember that a boat ramp is used often by boaters & local marine dealers to launch test boats. Some anglers get upset when a boater uses this area and disrupts their fishing. This is a BOAT ramp and not fishing ramp. Many boats are beached near the ramp dock while anglers get their trailers. There’s plenty of water surrounding the area for shore anglers access.

FLW is returning to the Harris Chain Feb 22-25 2018. WTG Lake County Tourism & Leesburg Pro angler Tim Frederick for promoting the area. If you missed the weigh-in last year, here’s your chance. Between now & then I’m sure we’ll see many wrapped boats pre fishing. Please show some southern hospitality & welcome them back.



Stay Cool

Steve Henderson

FFC LOGO – Custom Apparel 3451 Wedgewood Ln Southern Plaza near Publix

Not valid with any other discount – Applies only to FFC members in good standing

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Make Mine A Double & FOTM

Make mine a double….but first….Some 5 or so years ago the state of Florida enacted a program called Trophy Catch that allowed anglers to show their catches to the state FWC folks and are rewarded for their efforts. Rules were to register, photograph your Trophy Catch on scales, and release the fish alive. Freshwater Fishing Club VP Rob Husson followed the rules….he thought!! Husson has been signed up for Trophy Catch for several years & has come close to catching an eligible bass. On June 12th Husson was casting a 6″ Yum Dinger, color watermelon red flake, at one of The Villages retention ponds when he hooks into a fish of a lifetime….a 9 lb 11 oz giant. President Randy Disanto took a full length picture showing the weight of the fish. Husson forwarded the picture and the story to me. I was so happy for him. He puts in countless hours and was finally rewarded….ALMOST…. Husson called me 2 days later to say that FWC turned him down because he wasn’t holding the scales by the handle. Needless to say he was bummed and I thought WTH….BUT rules are rules and it shows how you’re supposed to present a fish to qualify for the program. It gets better!!! Husson received an email from FWC on 6/26/17 saying that after review by ofFISHals <— ya like that….that his submission had been accepted. So….congratulations Rob Husson for a catch of a lifetime….a 9 lb 11 oz Bass. I’ll drink to that. Make it a double. And the fish was released to be caught another day. Husson knows where she lives. 🙂

VP Rob Husson 6/12/17 Villages Pond 9 lb 11 oz
FOTM Trophy Catch

























Jerry Lester 6/9/17 shellcracker ate 5/8 oz Lipless Crankbait

And look (L) at this shellcracker that wanted to eat a 5/8 oz lipless crankbait. Webmaster Jerry Lester caught this while bass fishing at Griffin. He mentioned about having hits but they kept missing it….except for this one. Like to have a bucket of them that size.

WayneBarksdale 6/11/17
Lake Griffin Wt 5.3 lbs
Happy 62nd HS Class Reunion Shirt

What do you do to impress your HS classmates at your 62nd class reunion? You show them that you still have the get up & go that many probably got up and went. And wear your school shirt.


Lake Griffin 6/18/17
Wt 7.4 lbs Swim Bait

Wayne Barksdale NEVER gets tired showing me his catches and I’m forever jealous grateful. Barksdale along with FFC Board Member Trevor Bailey reportedly caught nearly 50 bass on June 16 at Griffin but nothing over 3 lbs. Those are always fun especially whether you’re a novice or seasoned angler.

Lake Griffin 6/23/17
Wt 4 lb 15 oz
Aruko Shad

And just for the heck of it here’s a 4 lb 15 oz fish that gobbled up a lipless crankbait. Yep….you’d be a happy camper too. One more thing. With all the clothes I wear, except for long pants, you’d think I’d be protected from the sun. I had another spot on my ear & face that my dermo doc froze. I’m dressed like this every time I’m on the water. I can’t imagine how much worse it’d be if I didn’t protect myself. It may look goofy as hell but….WARNING!

  • I know a few boat owners that have Power Pole shallow water anchor systems. I’ve had 1 since Mar 2011 on my boat. A bolt broke that deploys the hydraulic ram cylinder. These aren’t EZ to find at your local hardware/box store. I contacted Power Pole Monday June 19th at 9:00 am. At 3:00 pm Tuesday Fed Ex delivered a replacement kit to my front door. How’s that for customer service. And it was free. Hey Comcast & Century Link – awh forget it. Bartender make that a double double.
1400 plus Lakes in
Lake County, FL

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Steve Henderson

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Camp Villages – 2017

This is an annual event that strives to entertain grandchildren with fishing-related Activities.  It is sponsored by the VCDD Recreation Department and supported by volunteers from The Villages Freshwater Fishing Club.

The La Hacienda Regional Recreation Center was the venue again this year.  The patio made an excellent place for serving hot dogs after the program events, which included, 1) Knot tying; 2) Practice Casting; 3) A real tournament Bass fishing boat presentation, 4) Fishing from the bank of Lake Mira Mar.  The Villages Clowns were on site to perform their exciting face painting.

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