The 11th annual Shands Fishing for Kids saltwater trout tournament held out of Steinhatchee on Saturday overcame a whipping wind and unusually tough fishing to succeed in its fundraising mission.
A field of 77 teams took their best shots at the hard-to-find trout. Taylor County locals Ashley Mock and Robert Dice bagged five that would weigh in at 10 pounds, 2.5 ounces — plenty to win. Mark McKinney and Greg Hause finished second with 8 pounds, 15.75 ounces, and Shane Bergman was close behind in third with 8 pounds, 12.5 ounces.
Debra Evans caught the largest single trout, a fine specimen that weighed almost an ounce more than 5 pounds. The second-place trout team, Hause and McKinney, also caught the best redfish — a 6-pound, 7.25 ounce beauty.
April is a hard-to-top month when it comes to local angling. Sure, Mother Nature and the fish always have the final say, but most often it’s all good during the fourth month of the year.
Going with past statistics, fishing tournament organizers commonly choose this month even though they know there will be lots of competing events on every weekend looking to sway folks toward another contest. They also know that, aside from the busy calendar, it’s hard to go wrong in the weather and good fishing departments when their event is scheduled in April.
The 19th Save Rodman Reservoir Tournament attracted a huge field of 160 teams to Kenwood Landing on Saturday. The cause and the fishing were both great. A total of 445 bass weighed 1,250.94 pounds and 426 were released alive. The top five teams all broke the 20-pound mark. And here’s a stat you won’t see very often: 12 teams brought in five-bass limits weighing at least 18 pounds.
Presented by the University of Florida Bassmasters, the first Lake Wauburg Kayak Fishing Tournament was held Saturday morning. Entry was free to all UF students, and 62 showed up to compete. Amid perfect conditions they fished, vying for several donated prizes. And though the fish were not really in a feeding mood, a two-bass catch totaling five pounds claimed the top prize — a Lew’s American Hero rod and reel.
Held on the Santa Fe River Saturday, the Breast Cancer Awareness open bass tournament attracted a field of 86 teams. When the Santa Fe and Suwannee Rivers are at favorable levels in April, bass fishing is almost always very good … and such near-ideal conditions were in place. Pretty much every Suwannee bassing sage expected to see heavy 5-bass limits at weigh in. But fishing is among the least predictable of sports; and catches were on the low side. Walter Starling and Tyler Musgrove made a run out of the Santa Fe and into the Suwannee, where they found a whopping largemouth weighing 8.44-pounds. The beauty was the largest single fish of the day, and it anchored the team’s 14.12-pound winning limit. The well-run and well-supported event raised $23,000.00 for the Suwannee River Breast Cancer Awareness Association.
Bass fishing on Rodman Reservoir is very good now, just in time for the annual Save Rodman Reservoir Bass Tournament on April 18. And anglers looking to compete in the biggest contest of the year on the embattled lake are expecting plenty of fish-catching. Brian Dolski has fished in the Save Rodman event each of the last 15 years, and he looks forward to competing Saturday along with his son, Caleb. He reports that good-sized bass are busting big balls of shad in the famed ‘stump flats’ and along the Barge Canal cut. Dolski spent last Wednesday pre-fishing the reservoir, and he took several fish up to 4-pounds while casting High Roller surface lures. Even though the reservoir is sure to produce some big bags of fish, Dolski believes the winning catch might very well come from Lake George, where bass are still spawning along the east shore. More than 100 teams are expected to crowd into Kenwood Landing Saturday morning in this, the 19th Annual event.
Thanks for the picture Rick! Jake with his 12.5lb Bass
Recently, 5-year-old Mason Wilson became suddenly interested in the two big mounted bass on a wall in his Windsor home. Mason’s dad, Bo, had caught the whoppers years back, and now the young man had a burning desire to catch a bass himself. Two Sundays ago, Bo picked up some live minnows and took his son to a pond near Hawthorne with that goal in mind. Later that day, Mason was happy to tell anyone around that he had caught 6 bass — and he also was quick to point out that his dad had caught only one.
Now that warm weather has arrived, most ultralight and cane pole fishers report that bream and speckled perch are together, biting in shallow cover. Both Lochloosa and Newnans lakes are producing good mixed bream/speck bags. Last Friday, though, George Dekle and Larry Nutt found nothing but their favorites — specks. The longtime fishing buddies used their trolling motor to ease along in open water outside Lochloosa’s east side lily pads. With minnows and crappie jigs (mostly in a light green color), they pulled in 25 fish before 1 p.m., keeping 16 that were all over a pound. Surprisingly, when they dressed the slabs, 14 of the 16 were female fish still carrying roe.
Jeff Septer took a break from fish camp duties Sunday, headed out into Little Lochloosa, and fished minnows and crappie jigs. In three hours, he pulled in 14 nice-sized specks and 20 “throwbacks”. But the best panfish catch seen lately at Twin Lakes Fish Camp was a 57-fish mix of specks, shellcrackers, and bluegills pulled from the pads Tuesday by two unnamed regulars.