Panfishing Clinic

Robert Edmundson, Joe Stone, and Jerry Echols provided a clinic on panfishing as the featured speakers at The Villages Freshwater Fishing Club meeting on April 11, 2017.   Joe Stone, panfishing advocate, introduced Edmundson as the best Crappie fisherman in Central Florida.


Robert Edmundson with Joe Stone looking on

Joe Stone, past president, and proponent of “Little fish” fishing shared his experience from years of panfishing.


Joe Stone

Jerry Echols, also past president, added his special insights from  years of Crappie fishing.


Jerry Echols

Jerry Lester


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The Fish Hit The Pan – Election Nominations – June 13 Camp Villages

Black Crappie

Remember when you caught your first crappie or bluegil? Are you kidding….I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast this morning….But I do remember catching bluegils by the bucket full and then having to take them home and watch dad scale & clean these tasty morsels. Mom would fry them and we’d eat the tails like they were potato chips. What about fish eggs? Ate those too….not recommended today but there’s a lot of things that aren’t recommended doing today….riding bikes without helmets, outside without sunscreen, driving in The Villages…..You tell me of the 3 which is the most dangerous. Glad we’re on the same wave length here. Moving right along….did you know that the crappie, known as specks also, FL state record is 3.83 lbs? Keep in mind these are black crappies down here & don’t get as large as their northern cousins. Bluegill

Then there’s the bluegil. These little guys have more punch per pound than most freshwater fish. You get 1 of these sideways pulling critters on light line – a cane pole or fly rod & you have a battle that lasts about as long as eating an ice cream cone in a golf cart running 20 mph in 90 deg heat. And you thought I was gonna say something else 🙂  The FL state record is 2.95 lbs. Right now you’ll see boats gathered in groups & chances are they’re probably catching these guys.

Redear Sunfish

I think the preferred specie is the Redear Sunfish, aka Shellcracker, because they get much larger than their look alike cousins. They’re lean & mean also & can provide instant action especially if you’re in a herd of them. The FL state record is 4.86 lbs. You’ll hear anglers mention catching 3 pounders often and if you’ve never seen one this size picture a cutoff lower section of a canoe paddle with lips.

There’s several ways to find out more about catching panfish….grab your rod & bait & head to the local water hole, click on —> Trophy Catch Web Site, where the information you just read was derived, or come to our next meeting and listen to 3 experts that have been fishing for them with a combined time of over 100 years. And yes it’s different down here on the way they’re caught….but not much.

Weighed 4.7 Black Hollowbody Toad

Here’s a few pics from Lakes Harris & Griffin taken in the past since April 1st. I caught this 4.7 casting a black hollowbody toad under a dock. Good old 50 lb braid when you need it because he wrapped me around a couple posts.

Wayne Barksdale with a chunky 6 lb + Swimbait Bass



Then there was Wayne Barksdale who always out does me and shows off a nice 6 lbr that he caught on a swimbait at Griffin.





But wait….just because you’re in the back of the boat, don’t kid yourself. There’s still “dumb” fish to be caught. Barksdale slipped up & let 1 slide by so FFC Board Member Trevor Bailey catches this dandy that weighed 7 lb 8 oz. Just shy of a Trophy Catch qualifier. That’s STILL a fish of a lifetime . WTG Trevor….too bad Wayne heh heh.

Trevor Bailey – Swimbait – Lake Griffin Wt 7-8 lbs
























Just a reminder that Nominations For Election Of Officers & Board Members will take place at our FFC April 11th meeting. 

  • Note from FFC President Randy DiSanto
Camp Villages is a 9 week program that offers a variety of activities for residents of The Villages and their grandchildren to enjoy together.
The Clubs’ participation in this program will be on Tuesday, June 13th, 9:00am to 11:00 am, at La Hacienda Rec Center.
We will be looking for volunteers to  help with the activities, Fishing, Casting, Knot tying, etc.  We will also have a bass boat on sight. Can you please help us with this event. It’s only 2 hours.
Randy DiSanto
President FFC
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John Hendry 3/25/17 Wt 10-8

The FOTM (Fish of the Month) caught by John Hendry at Lake Okeechobee, weighed 10-8 lbs. Yeah a  Trophy Catch for sure. But there’s a problem….the problem was that John caught this bass 2 days too early while he was pre-fishing for a Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament. Upon tournament day, Hendry did manage to catch 5 that weighed 12-5 and was good enough for 5th place that pays $942. Hendry has fished 100’s of tournaments but elected to fish this BFL event as a c0-angler or back of the boat. Yes he proved that you can catch fish behind someone that normally is a seine off the front deck. WTG John!!

Old Guy (Me) Rousseau
Wt 6-4 Senko

I was fishing a small club tournament on Mar 28 at Lake Rousseau. Catching numbers wasn’t an issue. Catching sizeable fish was. Normally a topwater bait first thing in the morning works. Nope!! I went through an arsenal until I used a Senko and scored. Even though I caught this 6 pounder, it still wasn’t enough to win with the 4 additional squeakers. My 5 weighed 11-2.

FFC member Ron Freund
St John’s River 3/28/17

The FOTMfish of the moment – & giant of the week was caught by Ron Freund while fishing with the FFC at St John’s River. Steve Felix, FFC fishing trip chair, says regardless of the catch results, the Castaways Restaurant is worth the trip to eat their clam chowduh. So keep that in mind on your next fishing adventure. If you’re a golfer you go to the 19th hole. Well if you’re fishing you go to….

Next FFC meeting, April 11, will be about panfishing. You want crappies & bluegils? Don’t miss it. Also we have nominations of officers for our upcoming election that’s held in May.


Steve Henderson

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2017 Bassmaster Classic & The Villages Club Cart Classic


Now that The Villages Bass Tournament is behind us, aka Club Cart Classic won by Rick Clark,  it’s time to crown the king of bass fishing with the Bassmaster Classic just held at Lake Conroe, TX. 52 anglers qualified for the 3 day event. The top 25 after day two were eligible to fish day 3 for the crown and $300,000 for 1st place. 4 time winners Rick Clunn & Kevin VanDam are no strangers to the winners circle regardless of Classic wins. Clunn never qualified this year but VanDam did & was right in there until the end but wound up finishing 10th.

Brent Ehler

Brent Ehler is a 10 year veteran fishing the FLW circuit along with winning the coveted Forrest Wood Cup. Although he’s only been fishing the Bassmaster trail for 2 years, don’t let that fool ya. His pa$$ion runs deep but during this tournament he fished mainly shallow while others concentrated on deeper areas. If you were a fantasy fisherman, your choice anglers probably got blown away. The Texas guys crashed & burned.

Edwin Evers on bedding bass for 2 hrs

After moving around for 2 days, here’s Edwin Evers with the sticks down sitting on a bass for 2 hours plus. It had to be a giant for him to stay on this bedding bass this long. He left it….it’s still there. The reining Classic Champion finished 11th.

Swindle told emcee beard trimmer Dave Mercer his breath smells like diesel fuel

Not all the action was on the water on day 3. Gerald Swindle has been sporting a beard for a few months and all jokes aside he decided to make a money raising event for breast cancer awareness. A friends mom is battling the disease now. Swindle said he’d cut his beard for $2017….and then the sponsors started coming on board. There will be 10’s of thousands of dollars raised when it’s said & done. I’m sure it’ll be covered on the Bassmaster television show. The “G” man is a comedian when not in the boat but he was all business talking about this damnable disease. Hat’s off to you “G”.

Lefebre finished 14th

Dave Lefebre was on a roll the first 2 days with a total weight of 41-1 and remaining in the top 6. On day 3 Lefebre only caught 1 fish weighing 1-15 lbs giving him 43 lbs total finishing 14th.

Mike Iaconelli finished 6th with 2 fish brought in on day 3 giving him total wt 48-7.


Ike showed the crowd, 1 of 2 fish he brought in on day 3. This former Classic Champ told the winner “your life is about to change drastically.”



25 Year Old Champion Jordan Lee

Champion Jordan Lee Wt 27-6








With a day 2 weight total of 29-6 for 25 year old Jordan Lee, he pulled out all the stops on day 3 and clobbered them by catching a 5 fish limit totaling 27-4 giving him the largest sack of the day and the lead. He never looked back and with that was declared the 2017 Bassmaster Classic Champion. Congratulations to Jordan Lee.

Ott DeFoe had Big Bass for the 3 days weighing 9-9.

Congratulations also go to Rick Clark that won The Villages bass tournament recently…. 1 extra note was given to me from judges & anglers at the pond that Clark was fishing….they awarded him 8 out of 10 for a swan dive he did into the pond. You’re lucky nobody took pictures Rick. Just keep in mind, your secret is always safe with me. 🙂
1400 plus Lakes in
Lake County, FL

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

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







Steve Henderson

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2017 Villages Bass Tournament

The tournament produced a record 28 fish by 37 anglers.  The tournament was held on March 22, 2017.

Heaviest sack was caught by Rick Clark: 5 fish (8 Caught); 5lb-12oz in Poinciana Pond.  Biggest fish was caught by Ken Fox at 1lb-11 oz in Miramar Pond.  Ken also took 2nd Place with 3 fish; 4lb-2oz.  3rd Place went to Dave Makarewicz: 2 fish; 2lb-8oz in Poinciana Pond. Honorable Mention went to Al Hendricks: 1 fish; 1lb-8oz and Cork Burr: 1 fish; 1lb-7oz, both at Poinciana Pond.

Total fish by pond: Poinciana; 16 fish. Miramar; 10 fish.  Bonita; 2 fish.

2017 Klub Kar Klassic

 L-R Pres. Randy Disanto, 1st with 5 fish Rick Clark wt 5.12, 2nd with 3 fish Ken Fox wt 4.2, 3rd with 2 fish Dave Makarewicz wt 2.8

The tournament banquet was held at La Hacienda Recreation Center and attended by the anglers, judges, and spouses, numbering 82.  It was catered by Oakwood Grill providing their usual fine fare.

Jerry Lester


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Bradley Dortch Wins Harris Chain

Hat’s off to Adam Sumner, manager of Lake County Tourism and Leesburg FLW Pro Angler Tim Frederick for putting together a great event on the Harris Chain. Sumner told me that he and Frederick had been working on this for 4 years and finally securing the stop with the blessing from FLW & the Lake County Commission….165 professional anglers signed up & were paired with that many co-anglers. Below are some of the top 10 anglers that got a check.

Rusty Trancygier stopped at Brooker Bait & Tackle Saturday evening after the tournament to replenish his stock along with purchasing another couple rods. He broke 2 and jokingly said he may only have $150 remaining on his credit card. Natalie Brooker replied, you’re good until you get your check. Yeah I’d say. ($14,000) And yes his credit card cleared. (Click on any pics to enlarge)

Shane Lehew 4th, $21,000

Rusty Trancygier 10th, $14,000

Chris Whitson, 7th, $17,000

JT Kenney 2nd $30,000






The way that emcee Chris Jones brought the anglers up on the stage was always playful & with suspense. He didn’t know what the anglers had in their black weigh bags but Chris had them remove 1 fish at a time to show the crowd.

Bryan Thrift just had 2 in a row 2nd place finishes & more top 10’s than anybody & has won over $2,039,391

Bryan Thrift had finished the last 2 tournaments in 2nd place behind Mark Rose who won the last 2 tournaments. Rose took home $250,000 but finished out of the money this tournament winding up in 65th place. FLW paid this event down to 50th place and $10,000. Places 51 thru 53 received $4,000 ending the pay out. As for Bryan Thrift, he’s won $2,039,391 with 9 wins and 52 top 10 finishes. He’s been a professional angler for 11 years.

For 3 days John Cox, Forrest Wood Cup Champion, led & many thought it was his but slid to 3rd place on day 4. Then there was rookie Bradley Dortch that’s been fishing the FLW tour professionally for 1 year. Today was a break through day for Dortch. His mom was there & told emcee Chris Jones that her son didn’t even have a place to stay last night because he thought he’d never be in the top 10. Days Inn, located in Leesburg, held a room for Dortch. Like most anglers, they’re probably not in the bed over 5 hours. Dortch’s win today will be a life changing experience with easily acquiring sponsors & his social media popularity will sky rocket.


Bradley Dortch $100,000

Bradley Dortch Winning Wt 73-9 & $100,000




























Wayne Barksdale 3/11/17 Wt 5.3
Winter Haven


And happy birthday to friend Wayne Barksdale who continues to submit pics that I’m forever grateful….and jealous….as he and his friend Sam fished at Winter Haven Saturday while the FLW Pro’s were fishing the Harris Chain. I figured you’d like a new boat for your birthday Wayne so I’m taking up a collection….it may be a while so….























Steve Henderson

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The Chicken or The Egg – FLW at Harris Chain

So how’d it all begin? Maybe it was proposed through the Sumter, Lake, & Marion County districts dot guv….your latest and greatest favorite Hollow Wood actors that seem to have all the answers….or just maybe it was divine intervention with the help of Director/Mgr Rick Stout & his crew at the Florida Bass Conservation Center.

Hatchery 3/10/17

Members from The Villages Freshwater Fishing Club (FFC) visited the hatchery on Mar 11. Stout explained the whole stocking process including the life cycle of a largemouth bass and how they get started in one of the fourteen 30′ long starter tanks. This 10 year old 18 million dollar complex, 1 of 2 in the state, is world renown for growing Florida strain largemouth bass. Click to see —>  FL Hatchery Statistics


FFC Members at Hatchery 3/10/17

FFC Members at Hatchery 3/10/17

Hatchery Trip 3/10/17






FFC Pres Randy Disanto Secret Spot??
2/18/17 Wt 3.7

Rich G. 3/8/17 Village Pond

Rich G. 3/8/17 Village Pond










Here’s  some recent pics from a couple Villages ponds. With the Villages Bass Tournament approaching, not many anglers are sending in pics of their latest results. Keeping it a secret gang ?? Ever hear of drones? Although no officials of the FFC are permitted to enter the tournament, here’s President Randy Disanto showing a nice 3 lb + bass he caught….and you KNOW the contestants would love to weigh that fish in come tournament day. Lure used was made of plastic with metal and line wuz ….you get the idea.

There’s so much going on this weekend….I drove to Millers Boating Center & met FFC member Ken Fox for Miller’s annual boat show & fishing seminar. Last year I purchased a Helix Humminbird side imager. Just like cell phones & ME it’s an antique. Are you kidding me? It’s only 12 months old. Humminbird rep told us in a seminar yesterday that the latest & greatest is 3 X more powerful than what I now own. Example was them showing a bicycle underwater that you could see the spokes in the wheel and even the reflector….I couldn’t tell if it was a Huffy or Schwinn so wasn’t interested. Besides, no training wheels. Just show me the fish – and he did. Pro Anglers Shaw Grigsby & Terry Scroggins were there along with others. Numerous booths specializing in boating accessories too.

Tim Frederick

FLW Pro Time Fredrick Day 2 Making The Cut

I left Millers & drove to see the day 2 weigh-in of the FLW Pro’s at Venetian Gardens to cheer on local Professional Angler Tim Frederick. Tim was in 4th place on day 1 with almost 22 lbs but slipped to 10th on day 2 with only 10-07  lbs. Tim told me at 1:45 he had 2 fish in the box….2 day total of 32-06 kept him in the top 20 to fish for big money. Many notables struggled also. Jimmy Houston, Larry Nixon, and even Mark Rose that has won the past 2 tournaments.

As for the back of the boat angler, Robert Crosnoe weighed in 10 bass for 2 days that totaled 33-01 lbs. I’m not sure what his total cash prize was but the previous tournament held at Guntersville was worth 20K to the top co-angler. C0-anglers fish 2 days while the pro’s can fish up to 4 depending on their daily finishing position. All pro’s fish 2 days, then the field is cut to the top 20 for day 3 & top 10 on day 4.

Come join me in cheering our hometown pro on at today & tomorrows weigh-in. Hopefully he makes it to day 4. There’s several professional anglers, that didn’t make the cut, on site this weekend for autograph’s & pictures, kids events, and of course tackle & boats on display. If you were at last months B.A.S.S. Open tournament, let’s just say that this FLW is over the top comparatively speaking. BTW 1st place can be as much as $125,000. Weigh-in starts at 4 PM but festivities are going on throughout the day. Also you can watch it live on

Steve Henderson

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