Local Fishing Guides and FWC Representative Address Fishing Club

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L-R: Steve Jones, FWC: Capt. Grady Maynard, Guide; Capt. Zach Slankard, Guide

FWC representative, Steve Jones, advertised a job for Creel Clerk on Lake Griffin. Click here to see the job description: Creel Clerk001

Capt.  Grady Maynard discussed Bass fishing on Lake Griffin.  “It’s still hot and people are fishing grass out in the lake.”  He recommended fishing the attractors.  For big bass, he recommended big Texas-rigged worms, 12″, Red Shad or Watermelon Red.

Capt. Zach Slankard talked about fishing for Crappie.  “Crappie can be caught winter or summer, but peak time is the last week of December to the last week in January.”  He discussed using jigs and rigging practice.

A drawing was held for a guided Bass fishing trip with Capt. Maynard.  The winners were Art Hoover and Rich Grant.

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Art Hoover, Capt. Maynard, Rich Grant

President Randy Disanto reminded the membership of the upcoming “Pro Challenge”.  The Pro Challenge is a Villages retention pond fishing event featuring 4 teams captained by pro Tim Frederick; Head of District Recreation, John Rohan; pro Shaw Grigsby; and a Club membership team with captain yet to be named.  More to follow.

Webmaster, Jerry Lester

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O.T.B. 2’s Company 3’s ??? / Backlash B Gone / The Livewell

50 years ago Bassmasters was formed by Ray Scott. 40 Years ago Operation Bass/Red Man Tournament Trail known today as FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) was formed. 7 years ago MLF (Major League Fishing) was formed by anglers Gary Klein & Boyd Duckett with the intentions of “growing the sport”. With focus on competitive angling, the public wasn’t aware what transpires on the water during competition…henceforth camera crews & judges were put in each boat, with “real time” tracking and instant release.

Terry Scroggins New 2019 MLF Angler

Shaw Grigsby MLF Original Angler





MLF originally starting with 14 anglers. Upon airing on the Outdoor Channel in 2012, it was an instant success. The public liked the format with the following enacted:

  • Surprise venues
  • No practice days
  • Real-time leader board in each boat
  • No limits on the number of fish weighed
  • Implement time-based deadlines & weight-based cut lines

Fast fwd to 2018…Boyd Duckett & 79 other anglers have formed a new, invite only tournament circuit of the cream of the crop from the cast for cash community. Many anglers were disgruntled with B.A.S.S. for some or many reasons. But the who’s who in the business signed a 3 yr contract with MLF starting in 2019. And yes I said the who’s who…KVD just to name 1… B.A.S.S. scrambled to keep regular Elite anglers from dropping out with several changes such as lower entry fees & more money for pay outs… FLW is eliminating c0-anglers from the pro’s boats and more…

Will MLF, B.A.S.S. and FLW survive? It was thought that maybe all 3 tours could combine forces into 1…It was a thought…B.A.S.S. has over 500,000 subscribers. Do they fish bass tournaments? NO! Not all! Is there a niche for them? YES! Same with Fishing League Worldwide & Major League Fishing. My prediction is they’ll all make it. At least we may know something in 3 years. That’s when the MLF anglers contract runs out…on second thought they signed a non-disclosure agreement.

Money was no issue in forming the new MLF tour with 2 main owners worth 13.5 billion. Johnny Morris of BPS/Cabelas and Stan Kroenke of KSE Sports. Recording & live segments will consist of 350 hours of live coverage & 850 hours of recorded coverage. Networks that will air will be The Discovery Channel, CBSN, CBS Sports, WFN, & the Outdoor Channel…so far… The Outdoor Channel lists MLF as their number 1 show. In addition, the MLF 80 angler tournament organization now known as the Pro Bass Tour Anglers’ Association (PBTAA) will be ran by Gary Klein & Boyd Duckett. More to come I’m sure…

FLW says they won’t change much but will watch what happens. B.A.S.S. VP of communications, Dave Precht, said they may reduce the Bassmaster Elite Series field from 110 down to 80…or maybe even lower. One thing I’ve noticed over the years is since the inception of B.A.S.S. they’ve gone from showing how to catch bass to just tournament bass fishing. I know of only a handful of people that drag around 75-100k bass boats with vehicles to match. My guess would be <2% of anglers today are tournament fisherman. Many today dream of having success and shiny rigs while chasing little green fish…but the finances it takes pursuing such a life is a huge issue. I even contemplated this back in the 80’s but in “my” case common sense prevailed.

With MLF providing more tv exposure, it’s bound to reach the multitudes. Hopefully the younger generation will take interest…on a positive note, bass aficionado Ken Duke says fishing license sales are allegedly up nationwide.

A plug for NatGeoWild new show with Bassmaster Elite angler Mike Iconelli on Oct 12 at 10 P.M. “Fish My City”. Ike…you either like him or not. He does have one of the largest fan bases on the circuit.

Anti-Backlash Reel with microprocessor computer adjusts spool every 1/1000 seconds

Are you an angler that likes to skip baits under docks, trees, bushes….It comes with great success for many if you have the right gear. I’m lucky to skip a rock over a frozen pond. I remember eons ago watching Bassmaster TV when angler Woo Daves was using a Zebco 808 to cast under “stuff” to prevent getting a backlash. The reel was the size of a softball. Things have changed somewhat since then. Microwave ovens, cell phones, your kids in their 40’s…Check this Shimano Curado DC 150HG reel. It has a microcomputer that controls the spool rotation every 1/1000 of a second. I don’t know if it’s a guaranteed thing but maybe Santa will bring you/ME one. It’s without a doubt one of the most technologically built reels on the market. It comes in both right & left retrieve with gear ratios of 6.2:1 / 7.4:1 / 8.5.1 and available at Brooker Bait & Tackle in Leesburg.

Opening Late Nov 2018

Here’s an update on the new ramp going in at Venetian Gardens on Lake Harris. The City of Leesburg has created a perfect venue for competitive and recreational boaters/anglers alike with soon to be ample parking, restrooms, and a 2 lane ramp with floating docks. Project completion for the ramp is expected within 2-3 weeks or safer to say late Nov… although the first tourna- scheduled is the B.A.S.S. Nation on Nov 10 & 11….Dec 2 thru 8 with Team Championship, and in 2019 Jan 24-26 with a B.A.S.S. open. This is just the start of many tournaments to come. The money generated in the area by visiting anglers & guests will offset much of the cost of any project. Build it and….

September 25th on the Tsala Apopka Chain near Inverness, (Rt 41 & 44) another tournament barn burner weigh-in for 21 anglers took place…I donated $$$…The results were 64 fish caught, 1st place was 5/6.36 lbs. Big Bass was 2.92 lbs.

  • Feast Your Eyes On These

Lake Harris Trophy Catch

Trophy Catch Award Winner Shane Lancaster Sep 30….weight 8.8 lbs Lake Harris

New Personal Best 9.94lbs

Trophy Catch Award Winner Brett Hobson Sep 25….weight 9.15 lbs Palatlakaha River

8.81 lbs

Trophy Catch Award Winner David Fritz Sep 22….weight 8.13 lbs Lake Harris

What a fight!

Our own FFC speaker/guide Captain Zachary Slankard Sep 18….weight 8.0 lbs Lake Griffin….Nice job Captain Zach…. Captain Zach bookings can be made by contacting him at centralfloridabasscharters.com or (352) 255-3474.

If you like what you see, scroll down the right side and sign up for future reports and remember, O.T.B. stands for Outside The Bubble of The Villages.

See ya at the meeting Tuesday Oct 9 at Lake Miona Rec Center. Doors at 6:30 PM.

Hurricane Michael GO AWAY 

Stay safe everyone

Steve Henderson

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For some folks the month of September is a waiting game. With feels like temps approaching triple digits and water temps still in the upper 80’s some would consider these less than ideal conditions. For those who do venture out the rewards are often unexpected and here are two nice examples. FFC member Mike Toneff shows off a nice Villages pond Bass that tipped the scales at 7.2 lbs. A cream colored soft plastic shad did the trick for this early morning catch.

Mike Toneff 7.2 lbs

Mike Toneff   7.2 lbs.  Villages Pond

At mid month FFC member Chuck Westlake landed this nice 8.0 lb. beauty while fishing the weed beds on Lake Griffin.


Chuck Westlake 8lbs. Lake Griffin


As temps drop things are sure to pick up. Can’t wait to see what October brings. Thanks to all who have sent in pics. Keep them coming.

Rob Husson


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On September 20th, sixteen FFC members met at the Dead River Marina for the first monthly trip of the 2018-2019 season. With water temps still in the 80’s, Lake Eustis and Lake Harris still gave up a number of nice fish including this nice 4.23 pounder caught by Harold Hartley

Harold Hartley

Harold Hartley 4.23 pounds Lake Harris

Our monthly trips will continue right through May. Click on the Meetings/Events tab at the top of this page for more information about upcoming trips. Sign up at monthly meetings.
On September 22nd, The winners of the Lake Sumter guided trip really put their fishing skills to the test.

Group of Winners

Wayne Sheperd, Richard Anderson, Ray Ison, Rob Husson

Areas that were weed free earlier in the year are now full of Hydrilla. Some might think that this is a bad thing but it didn’t take long to discover that its the perfect hiding place for fish. Several fish were taken in open areas but the majority came right out of the weeds. Ray Ison did have several hook-ups on a spinner in open water and I had success with a drop shot rig.


Ray Ison

Ray Ison

Sumter Catch

Rob Husson

A Texas rigged soft plastic stick worm proved best. All together we landed a total of twenty fish ranging in size from 1-1/2 to 3-1/2 pounds. Now lets do some math. Its a two hour trip, twenty fish, tells me that a fish was caught every six minutes. Can’t beat that.

Rob Husson

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R&R Fishing Clinic / September 18, 2018

Under bright blue skies and warm September sunshine, nineteen FFC members and one guest met at the Miona Rec. Center pond for the first clinic of the 2018-2019 season.

Members & Guest / Sept. 18th Clinic

Participants were shown the many ways to rig and fish soft plastic baits. Methods discussed were the Texas Rig, The Carolina Rig, and the Drop Shot Rig. Instruction was also given on how to simulate a natural movement of the bait. After several hits and misses one of our newest members Bill Foley landed the catch of the day, a nice 4lb. 1oz. Largemouth Bass. The biggest of two fish that Bill caught during the event.

Bill Foley / 4lbs. 1oz.

This program has been very well received and it will continue right through May. Sign up at regular monthly meetings.
Special thanks to club Secretary Jim Jones for helping out and providing the great pics.

Rob Husson

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Tom Abdelnour Speaks at September 11 Meeting

Tom Abdelnour provided a rundown of his fishing experience on Ocala National Forest lakes and springs.  Tom discussed access to these remote bodies of water and his techniques for fishing them.  Tom fishes vegetation where available from his 12-foot jon boat including lily pads, eel grass, Hydrilla.  When fishing pads, he stressed casting deep into the pads.



There are approximately 600 natural lakes in the Ocala National Forest with lakes Bryant, Mill Dam, Kerr, Crooked, Wildcat, Lou Echo, Grasshopper, Eaton and Quarry Fish Pond being the most popular. A booklet titled “Fishing Opportunities in the Ocala National Forest” by the Ocala National Forest Interpretive Association is available at the Visitors Welcome Center at the intersection of S.R. 40 and C.R. 315. This booklet describes sport fishing locations, with recommendations for fishing methods and accessibility, as well as a topographic map.IMG_0766cropped Tom also fishes several of the Forest springs with Alexander being his favorite.

The club paid for four seats to fish the Lake Sumter charter on September 22 and then provided them to four lucky raffle winners.  The club provided the raffle entirely free.  Lucky winners are pictured below.


L:R Wayne Sheperd, Rob Husson, Richard Anderson, Ray Ison

Jim Jones was elected Club Secretary.

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L:R Jim Jones, Secretary elect, and Randy Disanto, Club President. (Jim is holding the raffle jar for the 50/50 raffle.)

Jerry Lester

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O.T.B. LakeBigBass.com The Harris Chain Plus

(Click on any pics to enlarge) O.T.B. = Outside The Bubble

Three years ago FLW pro angler Tim Frederick, who won the 2018 opener at the Big “O” and who’s also sponsored by Lake County Tourism, handed me a fistful of LakeBIGBass.com stickers. If you’ve not visited the web site, may I suggest you do so. There’s an abundance of information. Did you know the state record for largemouth was 17.27 lbs? How about a black crappie that weighed 3.83 lbs that was 14″ in length. Restaurants & ramp locations are listed along with some Trophy Catch recipients.

(L) Here’s Rick Cope, from Umatilla, with a hollowbody toad bass that he caught. Cope said that the 7.4 lb bass was the largest of his 5 that gave him a win during a Greybeards Tournament on Aug 30th while fishing Lake Griffin.

Nick Cope, Rick Copes son, out did dad when he caught a 2.4 lb peacock bass. No this wasn’t caught locally…but came from canals near Del Ray Beach some 3 1/2 hrs south of here.  I sure wish they’d survive farther north but these fish have to have WARM water year round. I’ve never caught any but if you’ve ever seen them on tv they annihilate a topwater lure. Gorgeous is an understatement. Dad said it was very slow the day they were there and used shiners to catch their fish. WTG Nick.

Wayne Barksdale hoists a nice 6.3 lb fish that he’d caught on stickbaits while at Griffin on Aug 14. Fortunately for the fish, Barksdale is on the mend for a tune-up on his knee….but beware….Barksdale will be on the water seeking vengeance before the end of September. Also FFC member Stan Lippian contacted me saying that he’d caught an 8.73 lb bass while dragging creature baits in 8′ of water. The fish have positioned themselves deep to escape the heat. On one of my recent outings the surface temp was 91.3 deg. The swimming pools in The Villages are set to be 81-83. Water temps in the 90’s feels like bath water.

Above I’m holding a 4.14 & 4.5 that I’d caught at Griffin on Aug 26 while dragging a speedcraw thru eel grass & hydrilla. And yes these were caught during the heat of the day. Normally…. you find the cover….you’ll find the fish. Look above at the baits pictured. And yes that is/was a crappie. Little guy was floating. I’d seen a cormorant cruising around and the crappie/speck may have met him by mistake. That top bait, a squarebill, has really shown itself in deeper water ripping it off of vegetation. While most throw lipless rattle type baits, try a squarebill instead. Don’t be surprised if you snag a couple. The only thing I dislike about crankbaits is that if the fish jumps, many times the bait goes one way & the fish the other.

Here’s some scores from some recent outings I’ve participated in. Don’t laugh…it could have been you. This was on Aug 21 while I was visiting a friend in KY, we fished a tournament along the Ohio River. The massacre was like this: 22 anglers, 14 fish caught, 1st place 3.36  lbs….and that was 1 fish….Big Bass was 3.36 lbs….Nobody caught a 5 fish limit….actually nobody else brought in any more than 2 fish at a time. I blanked. Imagine that. Got to see many of old friends….it was worth it.

Don Millich caught this 4.9 lbr while the bass were schooling. I wasn’t even getting bit and had thrown multiple baits that I’d had out on the deck. Millich caught his on a trickworm – I believe. As fast as they showed themselves – they disappeared. Fish was extremely skinny too.

Back in the 80’s & 90’s I fished with a great angler & friend by the name of Wayne Hutson of Dayton, OH. Wayne and I fished a hundred tournaments or more over the years throughout OH, KY, & IN losing most but winning a few. I think our most memorable event was on July 4, 1997 while fishing the Ohio River out of Tanners Creek downstream from Cincinnati. Dog days of summer were in full bloom. It was FL weather all the way, river barges, huge yachts, jet skies, etc….We ran 60 miles to the Markland Dam and decided to fish our way back. Some 9 hours later we get back to the starting point with a limit of fish. I can’t remember the weight but we had Big Bass & came in 2nd. The grand prize was a fully rigged Ranger Boat….and you didn’t even have to catch a fish to win it. Florida professional angler Jim Bitter, of Bitters Baits,  pulled the ticket out of a bag and called out my name – Steve Henderson. I won’t write on here what I said but you get the idea. I was shocked. Wayne was shocked. In the months to follow, because it was a buddy tournament and we both had bass boats, we sold the boat and split the money. Wayne blew his on toys, tackle, whatever….I invested mine in tech stocks & lost my BEEhind. Such is life. Anyway while visiting family in Dayton, OH in August, I made it a point to swing by the old tackle store I used to patronize in Dayton called Fishermans HQ and wouldn’t you know it my old friend Wayne Hutson was there. We spent several hours catching up on the past and laughed amongst all who’d listen. Sadly Wayne told me that he hasn’t fished in 2 years. He’s dealing with family illnesses. Been there done that….it’s a caregivers worst dream seeing your love ones helpless. I pray that none of you have to go through the heartbreaking agony….and I know some of you already have. There’s a special place in heaven for you.

I was supposed to fish a tournament on Sep 11 at Panasoffkee. The tournament director moved the location to Lake Rousseau due to high water at Lake Pan. The ramp area at Tracy’s Point is always a hassle but….is what it is. The lake allegedly is up 3′ or more than it was this time last year. And we haven’t had a hurricane….yet!

There’s several areas on the Harris Chain that will be sprayed to reduce the spread of hydrilla. I’ve said before on here that Little Lake Harris is the worst I’d ever seen it. It is on the list. Go to the FWC web site to stay informed on when & where the spraying will occur.

Remember the 2996 souls who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

God Bless America

Steve Henderson

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