Fish Of The Month – May 2020

Going to change things up a bit this month and let the lucky angler describe his catch. I received this message from FFC member Wayne Barksdale on May 12th. Here is the story.
“What a great bass trip I had today. Went to Lakeland to fish the Winter Haven chain. All ramps are big bass was 8lb 7oz.

Wayne Barksdale – 8lbs. 7oz. – Lakeland

Next was a 6lb 2oz. I caught several bass in the 3 and 4lb range. All of them were in 10 to 12 ft. grass just a hard bottom. Used a Tokyo Rig with June bug trailer and magnum trick worm. June bug. Used regular 5/16 weight for magnum”
Sounds like a great day to me!

Several nice fish were reported last month. I encourage everyone to sign up on the fishing reports page and share what you have been doing.FOTM
Rob Husson

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April Happenings & Fish Of The Month

April, 2020 will be remembered for a number of reasons. With stores and restaurants closed and most activities put on hold things weren’t looking good. A steady diet of take-out food and jigsaw puzzles can get old real fast. Well a number of FFC members made the best of things and headed for their favorite fishing spot and here are just some of the results. FFC member Wayne Barksdale was the first to report and it’s no April fools joke. Fishing Lake Griffin on April 1st, Wayne started his day with a 6lb.-14oz. Bass

Wayne 6-14

Wayne Barksdale 6lbs. 14oz. Lake Griffin

and finished the day with a 7lb.- 2oz. Bass. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Wayne 7lbs. 2oz.

Wayne Barksdale 7lbs. 2oz. Lake Griffin

On April 13th, FFC member Rich Haessley landed a 8lb.- 0oz. Villages pond Bass on a Tokyo Rigged 10″ Culprit worm.

Rich Haessley / Villages Pond

Note the Leupold logo on Rich’s hat. Do they make a spotting scope for fish?

On April 15th, FFC member Jack Lee Askew reeled in this Lake Paradise giant while fishing a Watermelon/Pumpkin Ned Rig.

Jack Lee Askew / Lake Paradise

Jack is fairly new to fishing this set up but it’s quickly becoming his favorite.

On April 20th, FFC member Tom Steenson landed this Lake Paradise beast.

Tom Steenson / Lake Paradise

Tom did not have a scale but with a 23-1/2″ length and a 18″ girth we can safely say that it was 8lbs.

Now not all fish are taken with soft plastic baits. A properly presented fly can have great results. FFC member Bob Heinbach landed this nice 21″ Bass and a 17″ Tilapia. Both taken from a Villages pond.

Bob Heinbach / 21″ Bass

Bob Heinbach / 17″ Tilapia

Fish Of The Month
It’s sounding like the “handshake” is going to be a thing of the past but if “rubbing shoulders” is an acceptable substitute, FFC member Jim Jones is your guy. Maybe a little of Jim’s good luck will rub off. On April 4th, Jim landed yet another Villages pond Trophy Catch qualifier.

Jim Jones / 8lbs. 8oz. / Villages Pond

Now Jim has been fishing the Ned Rig almost exclusively but he decided to mix things up with a chatterbait. Turned out to be a good choice as this 8lb. 8oz. couldn’t resist the offering. Now April wasn’t such a bad month after all.

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

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Fish Of The Month – March, 2020

We have all heard the story that if a Greyhound catches the rabbit, it stops running and if a Bass falls for a artificial bait once, it probably won’t take it a second time. Well let’s examine this “Myth” a little closer. On March 15th, FFC member Jim Jones landed yet another Villages pond trophy Bass that weighed in at a whopping 9lbs. 7oz.

Jim Jones / 9lbs.7oz. / Villages Pond

This giant was taken with a Z-Man Big TRD bait fished on a Toyoko Rig. It was weighed, photographed, and quickly released. Now lets fast forward a couple days. While fishing the same pond, using artificial bait, in the same general area, FFC member Frank Martines reeled in this monster.

Frank Martines / 9lbs. 7oz. / Villages Pond

Look familiar? After a quick trip to the scale and a weight of 9lbs. 7oz. appeared, I think we can safely say “Myth Busted” A couple more photos, a quick release, and who knows, we might just see this one again someday. Time will tell. Now back to that Greyhound story, the jury is still out on that one.FOTM
Thanks to all who have reported and sent in pics. Keep them coming.
Rob Husson

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Fishing Forums

We now have 3 Google Groups, or forums:

1) Fishing Reports. To be used exclusively to report fishing results and the response thereto.

2) Kayak Fishing. To arrange kayak fishing trips and to discuss kayak fishing, in general. (Fishing results should be posted in Fishing Reports.)

3) Fishing Buddy. All other fishing communications, including communications to find a fishing buddy.

Jerry Lester

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More About the Ned Rig

The Ned Rig was discussed last month by pro angler Trevor, Fitzgerald. This month’s speaker, was FFC member and Club Secretary Jim Jones. Jim has used the Ned Rig to catch numerous 8+ lb. Bass in The Villages retention ponds. So, when Jim spoke about his techniques for fishing it, the members were eager to listen.

The main advantage of the Ned Rig is that when it sinks to the bottom, the buoyant plastic becomes vertical, thus preventing it from sinking into the bottom debris. The vertical tail continues to be visible and to entice. Here is a refresher of the configuration.

Jerry Lester

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Fish Of The Month – February 2020

(Now You See Me – Now You Don’t)
On February 15th, just three days before this years Villages Bass Fishing Tournament, FFC member Rich Haessley spent a little time at Miona Rec. Center pond fishing the beds. Knowing that fish on a bed can be quite finicky, Rich decided to keep it small. A white Sunami stick bait cut down to 3″ and fished Wacky Rig was the winning combination.

This 8.1 lb. giant just couldn’t resist the offering. Now fast forward three days to the tournament. Although a total of eight Bass were caught in this pond during the three hour event, this big one never appeared.FOTM

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

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February Happenings

While our friends up north are thumbing through their latest Bass Pro and Cabela’s catalogs and hoping for a early spring, things here in Florida are moving at full steam and there’s plenty to report. Now in it’s 11th year, the annual Villages Bass Fishing Tournament was another great success. On February 18th, 45 anglers took part in this three Villages ponds event.

A total of 17 Bass were taken during the three hour event and although the numbers were slightly lower than last years count, the quality of fish taken was a big improvement.

Steve Cothran – 6lbs. 3oz. – Miona Pond


Steve Felix Weighs Art Hoover’s 4lb. 2oz. Catch

tourney 9

Noah Orndoff records a 3lb. 8oz. Catch


Steve Felix Recording Tom Hart’s Catch At Bonita Pond

The results are as follows:

Top honors went to Rich Spitler with a 10lb. 8oz. two fish Ashland Pond catch.

Rich Spitler – First Place – 10 lbs 8oz. Total Weight

Finishing second was John Schwarts with a 7lb 5oz. two fish Miona Pond catch.

John Schwarts – Second Place – 7lbs. 5oz.

In third place was Steve Cothran with a single 6lb. 3oz. Miona Pond catch.

Steve Cothran – Third Place – 6lbs. 3oz.

Honorable mention went to Noah Orndoff with a 6lb. 0oz. two fish Bonita Pond catch.

Noah Orndoff – Honorable Mention – 6lbs. 0oz.

The “Big Fish” of the event was taken by Rich Spitler at Ashland Pond weighing in at 6lbs. 5oz.

Rich Spitler – “Big Fish” 6lbs. 5oz.

It was nice to see fish taken at all three ponds and the totals are as follows. Three fish were taken at Ashland Pond, six at Bonita Pond, and eight at Miona Pond. The awards banquet was held Thursday, February 20th at Miona Rec. Center where prizes were presented to all the winners. There was a special drawing added this year for a seat on the Lake Sumter guided fishing trip and for finishing in first place, Rich Spitler got a automatic seat. The remaining three seats were won by anglers Art Hoover, Tom Soli, and pond judge Tom Spade.

Art Hoover – Tom Soli – Tom Spade – Rich Spitler

A Fitzgerald Vursa rod was donated by Trevor Fitzgerald and the lucky winner was Frank Vockell.

Fitzgerald Rod Winner – Frank Vockell

A big thank you to all who participated in this years event. A special thank you to Lisa Parkyn and Dominic Pascuzzo from The Villages Recreation Dept, Brooker Bait & Tackle for some great tackle, and of course The Oakwood Grill for the great food.

Food Provided By Oakwood Grill

Villages Pond Stocking Update

On Friday, February 21st several FFC members met at The Everglades Rec. Center Pond to watch the first stocking of Bass.

Pond Stocking At Everglades Rec Center Pond

The pond is located directly behind the rec. ctr. and is a designated fishing pond. Prior to this stocking, this pond was stocked in advance by Langford Aquatics of Lakeland, Florida with Bluegills and Shiners.

Fred Langford

Freddy Langford of Langford Aquatics

This will be a immediate food source for the newly released Bass. Looking forward to hearing some good reports from our newest fishing location. FFC member Chip Austin just couldn’t wait to wet a line and took a shot at the stocking tanks.

Chip Austin At The Stocking Truck

Annual Villages Outdoor Expo

Now in it’s 19th year, this two day event showcases a number of outdoor activites available to Villages residents.

Rob Husson Showing Types Of Soft Plastic Baits

Fishing, kayaking, sailing, R/C model cars and boats, scuba, biking and archery are just a sampling of the participating clubs. As always the Freshwater Fishing Club provides visitors information about fishing opportunities here in central Florida.

Steve Felix Provided Harris Chain Info.

Assisting this year were FFC members Bill Gorman and Steve Felix providing info. about fishing the Harris Chain Of Lakes.
Monthly Fishing Trip

Lake Panasoffkee was the location for the February 25th trip and looking at the pics provided by FFC member Tom Spade it appears that it was a success.

Tom Spade – Lake Panasoffkee Bowfin

A mix of Bass, Bowfin, and Pickerel were the catch of the day.

John Rumplash’s Lake Pan Pickerel

Now look close at the pics. Is this the best dressed duo of fisherman that you have seen?

Here’s A New Technique

Tom’s crisp white Bass Pro Shops hat and John Rumplasch’s white Reel Legends shirt certainly make a statement. Members interested in future trips can sign up at any monthly meeting. As trip information becomes available it will be posted. Simply click the “Meetings/Events” tab at the top of this page.

Rob Husson

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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.

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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