Bass, bluegills, shellcrackers are all bitin’ in area lakes, rivers

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Hello Folks,

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend. I know the fishin’ has been good in most of the chains in our area and folks are gettin’ on the water early and takin’ advantage of the early mornin’ bite.

Kyle at Bitter’s Bait and Tackle reports that you can still catch a few bluegills and shellcrackers in Lake Monroe and Lake Jesup.

Most of the panfish are bein’ caught on red worms and crickets. There are a few bluegills and shellcrackers on the beds, but they will be movin’ to deeper water as the summer days get hotter and longer.

The bass fishin’ is still good in most of the chains and lakes in our area. Kyle reports that the bass are bitin’ in John’s Lake, the Butler Chain, and the Maitland Chain. You need to get on the water early and catch ’em on the early mornin’ bite. Top-water baits are good early and then switch over to plastic worms and slow-sinkin’ Senko-type baits as the sun gets up. Look for bass movin’ to deeper and cooler water as well.

I wanted to take a moment this week and recognize a great bass fisherman and true man of faith. I had the pleasure of goin’ to Leesburg and talkin’ to some of the pros who were here last week. As you know, Major League Fishing was havin’ a tournament on the Harris Chain just before Memorial Day weekend. I had watched the tournament all week on my computer.

I decided to go down to Venetian Gardens and see if I could get any interviews with any of the pros. Well, as luck would have it I talked to Mark Rose and I got to interview Ott Defoe. Ott and Mark had just finished the knockout round and they both qualified for championship day. Durin’ my interview with Ott, I asked him what he was goin’ to do on championship day. He told me that he was goin’ to do what he did all day long today, and that was to fish around docks, cypress trees, and Kissimmee grass. Most of his fish came from Lake Harris and that was where he was goin’ to fish all day on championship day.

Well, that’s exactly what he did and he won the tournament by fishin’ in Lake Harris. Ott was throwin’ a Rapala Crank-bait called the OG Slim, and a swim-jig. The new crank-bait is one that he made in his garage. It has slimmer sides than a normal crank-bait. He fished in shallow water around the docks, cypress trees, and made short casts with his baits. One of the things that he told me was that he had to make repetitive casts to his targets. Ott reported that he was makin’ three to five casts to each target to get a bite. The crank-bait only dives down to 6 feet, but he was able to get the bait down quickly in the shallow water. The bass would eat his crank-bait within the first 10 feet of his retrieve.

On championship day, once he got to his spot on the lake, he fished up and down that shoreline all day. He never started his Mercury motor the rest of the day. Imagine this, Ott caught 30 bass that weighed 73 lbs., 14 oz. that day. His largest bass was 5 lbs., 12 oz. The winnin’ stringer of bass won him $100,000.

I would like to say that it was my pleasure to meet Ott Defoe and interview him as well. He is a great professional angler and a great ambassador for his faith. After fishin’ all day, he took time to talk to everyone who was around his boat and interviewed with several reporters who were there. He was the nicest guy and a true gentleman to everyone he talked to.

If you ever get a chance to meet him, you won’t be disappointed. He truly is a great guy, and a good fisherman too. He has won three Bass Pro Tour trophies fishin’ in Major League Fishing.

Well, that’s it for this week, and I’ll see ya next week.

Tip of the week: go fishin’.

Save a few and good luck!