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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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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