Fishing report: Anglers hope big rains miss

Joe Yarborough (left) and Dewayne Moore with two of their Orange Lake whoppers
Joe Yarborough (left) and Dewayne Moore with two of their Orange Lake whoppers. (Courtesy of Joe Yarborough)

Keeping an eye on our first hurricane threat in a while, anglers can’t help wondering what things might look like if the storm that will be named Hermine does pass close to us as forecasted. 

Never mind the scariest aspect that is always wind, a several-inch rain right now would certainly cause our already-brimming lakes to spill over. Maybe way over. And it would put an abrupt, if temporary, end to fishing that presently ranges from good to outstanding.

Consider just the interruption in Orange Lake bass fishing. For most bass anglers, the great accomplishment is catching a double-digit fish. 

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Countless times, we’ve heard a basser define his prowess based on how many 10-pounders he’s boated.  And I suppose that is as good a measure as any. It’s always been a pretty rare accomplishment, as true double-digit bass are both wary and uncommon.

I have known excellent anglers who’ve dedicated unreasonably large fractions of their lives to catch a 10-pound largemouth without ever getting there.  And that’s why it’s such an eye-opening fact that so many 2022 Orange Lake tournaments this year have produced giant bass.

Consider the Xtreme Bass Series of Tournaments. This Florida-wide trail consists of twelve divisions scattered across the state.  The most popular in this area, of course, is the Orange Lake Division.

From January through July, the once-a-month qualifiers all produced at least one ’10.’  Not until last month (the eighth qualifier) did the amazing streak end.

The big-bass catching hasn’t dried up, however.  Two Saturdays ago, in an Open Team tournament presented by the UF Bass Club, a pair of very impressive limit catches claimed the two available paychecks — Joe Yarborough and Dewayne Moore’s 26.38 pound catch for first place, and a 25.63-pound second-place limit racked up by Tony and Caleb Davis.

The difference maker was the 11.26 Orange Lake monster vanquished around midday by Yarborough.

A very large rain event right now would likely put an end to the 10 Pound Bass Parade for a while.

The UF Bass Fishing Club, by the way, just released its Fall Fundraiser bass tournament schedule.  The first of these will go out of Rodman Reservoir’s Kenwood Landing on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Tournaments are also scheduled for Lake Rousseau, the Harris Chain, the St. John’s River, and Orange Lake.  Teams that have competed in at least four of these events will qualify to fish a series championship. Contact Jake Keller (914) 359-0425 or Carson Kamien (407) 851-1321 for
more.

In the world of outdoor sports, the fall season spells ‘hunting’.  An army of hook-and-line fans, however, is just as excited for the uptick in fishing action brought by the cooler mornings.  The improved bite is often seen first in the salty gulf shallows that would likewise be adversely affected by a huge slug of tropical rainfall.

For now, the gulf coast is producing just fine. Carson Kamien and Karson Pobio fished for a couple of hours Sunday morning out of Suwannee.  The young anglers stayed near the river mouth, casting topwaters and jerkbaits.  They found trout in a creek mouth and boated a dozen fish from 12 to 19-inches long in short order. 

Four redfish followed, including the trip’s highlight — a 29-inch red that blasted a small Whopper Plopper surface bait.  The lure was designed for — and is most often used for — freshwater bass.  But quite a lot of bass lures are also great redfish catchers.

George Deloach of Gary’s Tackle Box fished Tuesday with Greg Brown out of Steinhatchee.  At their first stop north of the river, the Gainesville anglers noted the presence of “tons of baitfish.” 

The men worked subsurface lures through the wads of minnows and boated dozen good-sized reds and trout with twitchbaits and swimbaits. 

While at work two days later, George got a text from Greg, who was back on the water and whacking the fish.  It seems Brown had decided to go south instead of north, and it worked out well for him (even though baitfish were not present). His morning started with a cobia on his first cast.  Then, it was upper-slot reds and trout at a good pace.

For a while, he said, he hooked “a red on every cast.”  The fish-catching ended abruptly, though, when several sizable sharks moved in.

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Peter

Great report as always, Gary is a very good writer and I am so glad to have found his fishing report after the Sun made the mistake of dropping him.