February 2020 Meeting of The Freshwater Fishing Club

Pro Angler Trevor  Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald Fishing was the guest speaker.  He discussed his line of rods. He also markets reels. The rods have gained respect among all anglers, amateur and pro, alike.  They are available at Brooker’s Bait Bait and Tackle in Leesburg.

Fitzgerald Rods


Jan Windscheffel was the lucky raffle winner of a Fitz rod.

Fitzgerald discussed several different baits and methods of fishing them. Currently very popular, is the Ned Rig. It can be fished slow or fast, but generally on the bottom.

Ned Rig

Frank Martines used a Ned Rig to catch his 12lb. 11oz. monster Bass in a Village pond.

Frank Martines with 12#-11oz Bass

Various trailers can be used on the Ned Rig.

Trailers that are used with Ned Rig

Fitzgerald also discussed the Buzz Bait. The Buzz Bait is a shallwow running, noisy bait that is effective in Florida.

Buzz Bait

The Wacky Rig was also discussed. The wacky rig is a very popular way to rig a plastic worm. This is when the hook is centered on the body of the worm, causing the to sag evenly on both sides. Sometimes anglers will prefer the hook to be off-center but most of the time it’s centered.

Wacky Worm
Weedless Wacky Rig

There are a few different ways to rig a wacky worm. The first way is to simply pierce the hook through the center of the worm. The biggest problem with rigging wacky worms this way is they get torn up pretty quickly.

That was always the traditional method to wacky rig a worm, but as the rig gained popularity more effective ways emerged. Now, more often than not, you’ll see fishermen using o-rings to wacky rig.

An o-ring is small rubber ring that slips over the worm so that the hook can attach to it instead of piercing the worm. Some anglers choose to still pierce the worm so that the ring acts as the reinforcement. The rings are put on with an o-ring tool that can be found just about anywhere that sells tackle, as pictured to the left.

Fitzgerald’s favorite knot for joining a Fluorocarbon leader to braid is the FG knot. It has a very small profile so it goes easily through the new micro guides. http://bit.ly/2vzvE0B


Trevor Bailey was recognized for his long service as Membership Chair.  He performed this important job for 12 years. He is replaced by Larry Griffin.

Trevor displaying plaque


Trevor Fitzgerald wins the FLW tournament on the St. John’s River just days following his appearance at The Villages Freshwater Fishing Club.

Jerry Lester


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Fish Of The Month – January 2020

The new year is off to a great start and several members have reported some outstanding January catches. FFC members Rip Strautman, Rich Grunwald, and Gary Leonard have all reported Bass weighing in the 7lb-9lb range. Some were taken with live bait and others with artificial. As always there is one catch that takes things to another level and this one might just be a Villages pond record breaker!

Frank Martines 12lb. 11oz. Villages Pond Catch

It looks like FFC member Frank Martines has mastered fishing with a Ned Rig and this 12lb. 11oz. giant just couldn’t resist his offering. It’s hard to believe that there are fish this size swimming in our local ponds but they do exist. My guess is that a fish this size would be about 13-14 years old. Frank’s catch was submitted with a video and approved by “Trophy Catch” and some goodies are headed his way. If you would like to check out Frank’s submission and video, visit the Trophy Catch web site, click on the Gallery Of Catches tab at the top of the page, then scroll down to January 29th.

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

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Bass Fishing Tournament February 18, 2020

Don’t miss this.  Download the application by clicking here.  The start time is 7:30 am.  Event will run until  10:30 a.m.  All judges and anglers must attend the pre-tournament meeting at Pimlico Recreation Center at 10 o’clock, February 12th.  Please note we had to make a pond change after the application was printed.  Poinciana pond will be replaced by Miona Rec pond, which is across Bailey Trail from the Miona Rec Center.

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Capt. Zack Slankard Presents FFC Members with the Latest Tips and Tricks

Capt. Zach Slankard spoke to the January 2020 meeting of the Freshwater Fishing Club about techniques for catching Crappie and Largemouth Bass.

Zach spoke first about Crappie. He suggested spinners and small jigs, even tiny crankbaits to catch them.

For Bass, Zach encouraged the use of rattle baits and the venerable Texas-rigged trick worm.  He also discussed use of the Alabama Rig saying that it was an effective way to catch Bass and Crappie, with the smaller trailers used for Crappie.

A raffle was held to see who the two participants would be on a free guided fishing trip generously contributed by Capt. Slankard. Rich Spitler and John MacMullen were the lucky winners.

L-R: Rich Spitler, Capt. Zach Slankard, John MacMullan









Posted by Jerry Lester



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Fish Of The Month / December 2019

December 2019 ended with not one but two outstanding catches worthy of being called “Fish Of The Month”
Now If you are a follower of this web page you you have seen several trophy size Bass taken from our local waters. For most of us, catching a Bass weighing over 8 lbs. would be the catch of a lifetime. Well folks they are here and just waiting for anglers that are willing to put in the time. Check this out.

Jim Jones / 8.7 lb. Villages Pond Catch

FFC member Jim Jones landed this 8.7 lb. Villages pond beauty on December 1st making it his 5th approved “Trophy Catch” Jim has had great success fishing a “Ned Rig” and a Z-Man Big TRD bait making it one of his favorites. For those who are not familiar with this method, Jim will give a full presentation at our March meeting. Jim has also noted that that if you do land a qualifying bass and find taking a still pic difficult, FWC will accept a video and that’s exactly what Jim did for this catch and it can be seen by clicking on the Fishing Reports tab at the top of this page.
On December 30th, I received a email and some pics from FFC member Tom DeYoung describing a recent trip to Lake Miona. This story is best told by Tom himself so here goes. “I went fishing with Captain Al and another member, Ed Gonion at Lake Miona on Thursday, December 26th. I was fishing with one of Captain Al’s rods with 6 pound line using darts with small minnows. I hooked a smallish crappie and was bringing him to the boat when I felt that he was really getting heavy. I though initially that the fish was coming in with lake weeds but turned out to not be the case.

Double Catch / Lake Miona

Somewhere in the process of retrieval, a 5.8 pound bass attempted to take the hooked crappie. With the help of a net, I was able to land both fish. I was wild looking at the bass with half of the crappie sticking out of its mouth. The bass was not hooked in any way and probably could have spit out the crappie at any time but chose not to”

Tom DeYoung’s Lucky Catch

Looks like we just got a quick lesson on how the food chain works.FOTM
Thanks to all who reported and sent in pics in 2019. Looking forward to seeing what the new year brings.
Rob Husson

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R&R Fishing Clinic – December 2019

The December clinic was held at Calumet pond. This month’s topic was fishing a “Ned Rig”

FFC Members At The December Clinic

The Ned rig consists of any small 2 to 4 inch soft plastic (ElaZtech) baits rigged on a small mushroom or ball head jig. The bait is almost exclusively thrown on spinning gear and is typically cast out, allowed to fall to the bottom, and then slowly hopped along bottom on the retrieve.

Fishing The “Ned Rig” At Calumet Pond

It’s considered an ultra-finesse technique because it’s generally fished on light line and tackle. It’s well known as being a bass fishing technique, but can also be super effective for other species as well. After a few hits and misses two small Bass and one Catfish were the catch of the day. As members get more familiar with this method I’m sure we will be getting some good reports.

Jim Jones Showing Several Ned Rig Options

FFC member and Club Secretary Jim Jones has been fishing this rig for close to two years with great success. Jim has offered to give FFC members a more indepth description of this method of fishing at out March meeting.
Rob Husson

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December 2019 Monthly Meeting

This months guest speaker was Thomas Blackwood from Freedom Boat Club.

Thomas Blackwood / Freedom Boat Club

Founded in 1989 in Sarasota, FL., Freedom Boat Club is the oldest and largest boat club in the nation. It provides an affordable option to boat ownership and to deliver a hassle-free recreational boating experience for its members.

Q&A With Thomas Blackwood

After a very informative presentation of how a boat club works, Thomas answered a number of questions from members.

Rob Husson

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Brooker’s Open House Well Attended by FFC

A goodly number of Freshwater Fishing Club members attended Brooker’s annual open house.  Food was tasty…and free. Tim Frederick and  Shaw Grigsby were in  attendance.  A few of the members attending were not in the photo, including yours truly.

2019-12-07, FFC At Brookers

Jerry Lester

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November Happenings / Fish Of The Month / And One Unusual Sighting

Temperatures are finally going down and the fishing is starting to heat up. Along with another very successful “Pro-Challenge”

Tim Frederick’s 2019 Winning Team

November was a very busy month. As always the monthly club trip is a highlight and the November trip to Lake Panasoffkee did not disappoint. FFC member Tom Spade sent in some great pics and the smiles say it all.

Now my guess is that Bowfin was not the targeted species but it ended up the majority of what was caught. Anyone interested in attending one of the regular monthly trips can sign up at any monthly meeting. Information can also be found on this site by clicking on the Meetings And Events tab at the top of this page.
Another great November event was the B.A.S.S. High School Bass Tournament held on The Harris Chain Of Lakes. FFC Program Chair Bob Knorr sent in this report. “Spent some time Saturday and Sunday at Ski Beach in Leesburg , Fl. Watching High School Bass fishing teams from Florida weigh in their catches.

Harris 1Harris 2

Have seen the College Series but never HS. Weigh in is just like the Pro Bass Tournaments, 151 teams of two anglers in a boat, the boat is run by a parent or volunteer. These kids are great and had a ball fishing our lakes. They actually pay out money , called scholarship money. If you ever get the chance to watch one of these weigh ins, give it a try, these kids will be our future Pro Bass Anglers in a few years”
As always there is one outstanding catch that merits the title “Fish Of The Month” but this one comes with quite a story. Let’s just call it a story of “Old School” vs “New School” At the beginning of last months meeting, FFC member Tom Yazel was proudly showing off pics of his big catch that he had in his phone.

Knowing that it could possibly be the Fish Of The Month I asked Tom to send them to me. Judging by the look on Tom’s face it was like I had started talking another language. The “Old School” method of fishing a soft plastic worm and catching a big fish suddenly clashed with the “New School” method of sharing the pics. After several failed attempts we were finally able to make the transfer. This 7lb. 8oz. beast was taken on November 2nd at Miona Rec Center Pond. If only our smart devices came with directions!  Great catch Tom!FOTM
Now here’s something you don’t see every day. FFC member Wayne Barksdale probably spends more time on Lake Griffin than most and has most likely seen it all but this even surprised him.

Yes folks that’s a Manatee coming over to check out Wayne’s boat. I guess this guy/gal has been seen several times and is quite healthy according to FWC.
Thanks to all who have reported and sent in pics. Keep them coming
Rob Husson

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Pro Challenge Results

Click on the following link to see the article and pictures by professional photographer, Ron Pearce. https://www.smugmug.com/gallery/n-LJhQKm/

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