We are a Club that makes Fishing and Friendly tournaments a part of our lives. We have members from all over the Clearwater, Tampa area and are open to all ages. But currently mostly retired Fishermen that enjoy extra time at the lake.
We are a draw format and welcome non-boaters as well as Boaters
Our meetings are held at Betts Fishing Center. 126th. Ave North , Largo, Fl.
Our meeting is the first Thursday of each month and our tournaments are the 3rd Saturday of each month month with our end of year in February and our TOC in March.
This site is under construction at this time , please check back for updates
Bill Poirier, 5 fish- 6.75 lbs
Norm Whitten, 5 fish- 4.56lbs
Rod Martin, 4 fish- 4.04lbs
George Close, 2 fish- 1.53lbs
Rich Rybka, 1 fish- .9lbs
Rod Martin, 4 fish- 5.81lbs
George Close, 4 fish- 5.78lbs
Norm Whitten, 5 fish- 5.75lbs
Rich Rybka, 1 fish- 1.80lbs
Bill Poirier, 1 fish- 1.02lbs.
Big Fish 5.67 , Total 10.48 lbs
Bill (Billy Basser) Poirier
7.67 lbs with 4.68 lb big fish
1st place Rod Martin 17.72 lbs
2nd place Rich Rybka 13.96 lbs
3rd place Bill Poirier 13.023 lbs
4th place Norm Whitten 11.96 lbs
5th place John Fugate 10.715 lbs
6th place George Close 3.276 lbs
Rod Martin with 8.12 lbs
Rich Rybka with 7.95 lbs
3rd Place with Big Fish of 4.83
John Fugate with 7.90 lbs
Bill Poirier with 7.13 lbs
Norm Whitten with 4.9 lbs
George Close with 1.55 lbs
Bill Poirier 5 fish for 6.78lbs and BF of 2.69lbs
Rod Martin 3 fish for 1.72lbs
Rich Rybka 3 fish for 1.61lbs
John Fugate 2 fish for 1.12lbs
Norm Whitten 2 fish for .97lbs
The "Classic" was held on Lake Blue Cypress on March 16 and 17. Here is my take on the site and the events that happened that weekend!
I want to thank our president and tournament director for this competition. Norn Whitten, you outdid yourself for this one The tournament, lodging, and weather were wonderful! The only sad thing we had to acknowledge was the mysterious missing three pounder you didn't bring to the scale, but more on that later on.
We met Friday at 9AM in Lake Wales for our customary breakfast before the tournament. Norm was smart enough to plan it there so we would be more than halfway to our destination which happened to be 111 miles east of Tampa. It's a long trip and the breakfast was a welcome interruption on our way.
Everybody got there at about the same time and we had good vittles and coffee and chatted up a storm. We drew boaters and non-boaters for both Saturday and Sunday. We had four boaters and two non-boaters so two boaters were solo each day and different boaters were solo each day as was the wishes of our club.
After breakfast we completed our journey past Yee Haw Junction (love that name) 6.7 miles east and then four miles down a bumpy road to Middleton's Fish Camp where we had three cabins reserved for us by Rod Martin. The cabins were on a canal and was reachable by both land and by sea. Rod unhooked his van and it was parked by the back door to the cabins for convenient trips to the local grocery and tackle stores.
We all agreed to prefish and the paired boater/non-boaters and solo fishermen spent the afternoon looking for fish. I was ready to call it a weekend after not finding any fish except grennels and gar, but chose to stay because I was having so much fun socializing with the gang. Good thing I did!
Friday evening we had sausages and peppers for supper and that was some good. We had all the condiments and potato salad and other stuff (I have CRS). We sat out on the veranda and talked seems like forever, but bedtime soon approached.
I roomed with John Fugate and was very tired so I tried to sleep, but to no avail. We had a long conversation our hunting days in Georgia (he still does) and all of the deer we saw and killed. I still miss hunting but my knees won't tolerate the long walks to deer stands any more so it was good to hear what John was doing in Georgia.
Got up at 5:30 AM and had sausage and egg biscuits and got ready for the days fishing.
I was solo Saturday and I am glad of that because it became a practice day for me as I had not done much on Friday. I began fishing where I had the previous year when we were last on this lake.
Let me stop right here and explain the absolutely beautiful weather we had all weekend. It was supposed to rain both days but all I got was a couple of spritzers of water. The weather was overcast and very pleasant. The best two days on a lake that I think I had ever experienced.
The added beauty of the lake itself was unreal. There are cypress trees everywhere and each on had an osprey nest in it with mated for life pairs of ospreys building nests and catching fish (better than I) and bringing twigs and sprigs of nesting material to the nests.
They would both talk to me as I went by there nests just to let me know that I was an unwanted guest too close to them. Some of the nests were only a few feet higher that I was in my boat. This went on all day long.
I had reports of 10, 12, and 14 foot alligators that the guys had seen all weekend. I wanted to film a gator close to my boat, but I thought I'd save that filming until Sunday. The old saying "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" certainly held true as I had no opportunity to film gators Sunday. My bad.
The weigh-in slip for Saturday told the tale of who did and who didn't. Rod Martin, our AOY was again first AND had big fish for the day. His partner, Rich Rybka, was second out of the same boat. Third was John Fugate. Fourth was Bill Poirier, Fifth was Norm Whitten. Sixth was George Close.
Norm would probably have been second if a three pounder he had caught earlier hadn't disappeared. His only thought was that, while he was culling a fish, the three decided to leave the live well without even saying goodbye. Sorry to hear that, Norm, but that has happened before, and should be a lesson to all to keep the live well lids cracked only as needed to add, cull, or check fish in them.
Saturday evening we had hamburgers, or more aptly, venison burgers that John Fugate brought from his recently killed deer. I'm telling you they were, in my humble opinion, the best burgers I had ever eaten. I don't know if it was the electric grill that Rod brought or the skillful way they were cooked,but ummmm ummmm good! Thank you John, for bringing those burgers.
I tried to stay awake Saturday evening but that didn't happen. I know John had the TV on for a while, but I didn't hear it at all. Good sleep!
Sunday I had Rich Rybka in the back of my boat, and I was worried that I couldn't him five fish to compliment his second place standing from day one.
We went back to the same place I had fished Saturday and began throwing baits to try and fill our creels. Again, the ospreys were talking and the gar and grennels were biting. To keep this short we did latch onto a pattern and did put five fish in each of our live wells. We also culled some of our fish as we caught eight bass each.
Dat two had Bill poirier catching the most weight, followed by Rich Rybka, Rod Martin, Norm Whitten, John Fugate, and George Close. Rich Rybka had big fish for Sunday.
When Norm combined weights for both days, the results were as follows:
first place and big fish for the "classic" was Rod Martin. Second place was Rich Rybka. Third place went to Bill Poirier. fourth place was Norm Whitten, Fifth place was John Fugate, and sixth was George Close.
We decided to eat supper where we ate breakfast on the way up to break the monotony of the drive home. I was happy with that as I was beginning to "drive by braille" drifting both off the road and into the bumpers in the middle of the road.
Had a good supper and was surprised to learn that Rod had generously paid for all of our food. Thank you, my friend, for that gesture.
Rod and Rich were concerned that I might fall asleep after leaving the restaurant so I assured them that I would pull over and nap if needed! I was fine the rest of the way home.
What a year it has been and oh so much fun with the bantering back and fourth. I think we are all blessed to be in this club and have so much fun in our travels.
The April meeting is dues time as well as the April tournament fees. If you are fishing in April It will cost you $65.00. Dues are $30.00 if you are not fishing.
The banquet in April 6th at Lake Seminole Park and begins at 12:30 PM, so bring your appetites and we will have some fun. Looking forward to seeing Bill and Sandy and Ken and Sue if you can make. Love to see you there.
God loves you and so do I,
Dear anglers of the Clearwater Senior Bass Club,
I told Rod Martin I would be writing the April newsletter for SWH Chain of Lakes, but I did not mean for it to go into May. Here goes it anyway.
When I first heard about the weather for Friday and Saturday of the April tournament I was sure apprehensive about not getting to prefish even though I knew where I would be fishing.
I came over on Friday afternoon and got in about 1PM. I called John Fugate and told him I was in the room and that I saw his boat outside. I got comfortable and was resting about 2PM when the rains began to clean the boats, trucks, and the neighborhood.
It rained from 2PM to about 10PM or so. Not only was there rain, but very high winds. I do not like lightning, winds, or anything that would make it perilous for our fishing outing. I heard tell that Saturday would be better. Hah!
The six of us went to dinner at the San Diego restaurant in the front of Howard Johnson’s Motel. We usually go there Friday evening because it is close and there was good food and camaraderie to be had by all six of us.
Rich Rybka had been walking after dinner and ran into several anglers from the local Extreme Series Fishing Club. He said that there were seven boats in their tournament out of the same ramp that we were using. More anxiety!
We also heart that there was a sixty or seventy boat tournament out of the old Lake Shipp ramp and that they were the Lakeland Bassmasters fishing club. I know a few anglers in that club and know that they are great fishermen as a whole. They also compete in the regional national amateur tournament that sends a team of twelve to compete in the national tournaments. More anxiety!
I figured that there would be no chance of getting to fish my waters. What a relief when I went to my first spot and it wasn’t covered in boats.
We had breakfast at 5:30AM in the Howard Johnson’s continental breakfast bar. It was enough to get something in our bellies to at least get the morning off to a good start.
I went to Lake May, canal three and proceeded to catch two fish right off the beginning of a good day of fishing. My next three bites however were not so productive.
I can only tell you, as a result of my oversight that I lost three fish! I did not notice that the split ring on my Pop-R (middle of the bait) had loosed my treble hook and I was without it for the next two bites. I finally looked because the strikes were aggressive and I should not have lost the fish,
I changed to a different Pop-R after carefully checking for defects and caught the next bite I had. Please listen and learn! Check your line, knots, and the hooks on your top water and single hooks on your worm rigs. I know I’m preaching to the choir when I say this but it may help you catch a few more fish someday! Point Made!
Weather was better on Saturday. No rain, but cold and windy all day. I had my rain jacket on until about 2PM. That’s how hard it was to get my hands and torso warm during the day.
I came in and put by boat on the trailer and waited for all to arrive back at the ramp ON TIME! Rod Martin was 30 seconds from being late. Saturdays are busier and more boats are in the canals and people are out in their pleasure crafts and pontoon boats and they don’t much care if they impede our getting back to the ramp on time. Plan accordingly is all I’m saying.
I caught eight fish all day and missed the three in the above reference. I feel good about the fish I put in the boat and mourn the loss of the three I missed. It was a close tournament anyway.
I got back to the ramp and met up with Norm Whitten. It appeared to Norm that I was doing well and he couldn’t figure out why he was the only one who was tired. Believe me when I say I was tired as well. Just look where I put Rich Rybka‘s total weight on my fabricated sheet. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized what I had done and it changed the standings a bit.
Rod Martin began the year as he left off last year. First place AGAIN! He had five fish that weighed 8.10 pounds and led us again. Way to go my friend.
After the dust settled and I corrected my mistake it was Rich Rybka who finished second out of Rod’s boat with five fish weighing 7.96 pounds. Very impressive!
Third went to John Fugate who had three fish that weighed 7.90 pounds. He also had big fish of the day with a fish that weighed just under 5 pounds. Good catch, John.
I finished fourth, Norm Whitten finished fifth, and George Close finished sixth. Everybody caught and there were ZERO dead fish.
Speaking of George Close, he called me when he got to Georgia during his trip back to New York. They will be back down in October and I asked Marcia if George could get down here before the October Tournament so he could come out and play with his fishing friends.
We had a great banquet at Lake Seminole and we were surprised when Bob Stojanovic show up and had lunch with us. Good to see him there. It was also good to see Phyllis, Linda, Marcia, and Sharon at the banquet. We all had a good time and vowed to be seen next year at the same place and time. Norm and Linda always put on a great feast with some extra goodies from the rest of the team.
May is on the Hernando Chain of Lakes. We are staying at The Florida Motel in Inverness in, I hope, rooms 7 and 8. That is what I asked for.
A friend from Hudson has agreed to fish with me on Friday and he should be meeting us at Robin’s Country Kitchen at 7:30AM. Rich will fish with Norm if that’s ok with Norm. I had promised my friend that I would take him fishing and this is close to where he lives. Let me know if there are any problems with this arrangement.
Rod, the ramp is on US 41 in Hernando. When you come into Hernando stay in the right lane, It will dead end onto Orange Ave and you can call if you are having difficulty getting to us. I am sorry you won’t be there on Friday, but I understand fully, and God bless you on your upcoming surgery.
If you are feeling weak Saturday afternoon then we can probably have Rich drive you home, if he is willing, and then Norm can pick Rich at your place after dropping off your boat. I am assuming a lot here so if I need to follow you home and take Rich home after that then it will be done.
That is basically all I have to say at this time so I will see most of you at Robin’s on Friday. Be there or be square!
CLEARWATER SENIOR BASS CLUB
MAY 18TH 2019
HERNANDO CHAIN OF LAKES
My fellow anglers and other liars,
I really love fishing on the three pools of lakes around Floral City, Inverness, and Hernando. I’ve had some good tournaments and some less than stellar outings, but the beauty of the area is enough in itself to bring me back to this neck of the woods.
Not sure where to start! Maybe at the Friday morning meeting for breakfast at Robin’s Country Kitchen which is 8/10s of a mile north of the Floral City light and located at 6689 S Florida Av. This is one of the highlights of my trips to this part of heaven.
Robin and Robert and Kim have always been so good to us even though we deem ourselves as outsiders. We have always been treated as family and there are no bad meals there.
One family member that I met several years ago is “Miss Dot”. She is a fixture at Robin’s and has her special seat when she comes in for breakfast. I am sorry I missed her this time as she came in at 6:30 AM Saturday. We fishermen were already on Lake Hernando as “the early fisherman gets the fish” or so it is said. It didn’t work out so well this trip for most, but more on that later.
One of the husbands of one of our line dancers at Heritage Pines was invited by me to join us on our Friday practice day. Jerry and Edna Shea are the good folks at Heritage pines I just mentioned and Jerry met us for breakfast Friday at 7:30 AM. We were all on time as a matter of fact. Breakfast was excellent and the guys got to meet and talk with Jerry before we left for Hernando and the launch ramp there.
Jerry had seldom been fishing and was used to hand lining the fish he sought in his youth. I had to introduce him to spinning rods and reels and some of the baits I use every day. Let me tell you he adapted so well to this that it deserves mentioning here.
I gave him two rods with a Pop-R and a worm on them. He was a trooper and for six hours he was casting, mostly the worm, with the reel upside down and backwards. He was comfortable that way so I didn’t try and change him. I mention this because he had seven bites all day and enjoyed catching two bass on the worm. Setting the hook on a fish where the hook tip is buried back into the worm (Texas rigged) is more difficult than most would surmise, but Jerry did it with ease.
I had a pretty good day as well and I had 26 bites and only six fish in the boat to show for it. The top water bite was not ferocious as it sometimes has been, and I struggled to get those bites in the boat. I caught three bass, a pickerel, and two sunfish.
Now is the time to tell you that Jerry and I were both very competitive while we were fishing. Jerry was two for seven (.2857142857%) or a 285 batting average whereas I was six for 26 or a (.2307692308%) or a 230 batting average. Winner was Jerry. We had fun with all of the ribbing we gave each other.
Jerry went back to Heritage Pines at about four PM and I sure hope he had a safe ride back there! One more thing! Thank you Jerry for taking the time to put on sunscreen several time during the day! Smart man!
We didn’t have but two choices of lodging in the area and both have proven to be disappointments. Central Motel had Nurse Cratchett at the front desk and was a pain to work with, and the Florida Motel didn’t have any microwave oven in the rooms we were in and that caused us a bit of a delay.
Friday when we were at Robin’s Country Kitchen I asked if we could come in for an early breakfast and Robin and Kim were kind enough to open early for us. Too early to see “Miss Dot” but early enough to get us good eating’s and satisfied for a day on the lake.
We got information from Kim about Sunrise Resort because the lake we had planned to visit in July we weren’t able to reach them even though we had a good number (I think) to reach them. Kim said that there had been a lot of upgrades to Sunrise and that we should give them a shout. One concern was the parking for four tow vehicles and trailers so, when I call, we will see what happens.
Rod Martin met us for breakfast Saturday as he had a doctor’s appointment Friday and couldn’t join us for practice day. We all left Robin’s and launched on Lake Hernando and began our tournament. We had decided that two PM would have us on the lake for a sufficient time to get us dehydrated and/or sunburned.
I had Rich Rybka with me and we took off to find our quarry at the other end of the chain of lakes. We did well, but it could have been better for Rich. I don’t know how many bites Rich had but I ended up with 11 fish out of another 26 bites (.4230769231%) or a batting average of 423. I caught seven bass, two pickerel, one mudfish, and one blue gill. I can’t describe the size of the mudfish that Rich caught, but it was HUGE! Over ten pounds for sure!
Now you all know that Rod (bless his heart) kept telling me that HE had had Rich get his five fish limits with HIM and that if I didn’t get a five fish limit for Rich that I would fail in my obligation to Rich. That stuck to me all day and I was disappointed for Rich when we did finally did get back to the ramp for weigh-in.
I was some relieved to find that the club did not all have five fish limits. It’s funny what you worry about when fishing and those worries either are realized or for naught! This was the most unusual tournament that I have fished in a long time. Usually I throw top water baits too much for my own good as worms are the usual fish getters and my baits are left by the wayside.
The weigh-in went as follows:
Norm Whitten 2 fish .97 pounds and fifth place.
John Fugate 2 fish 1.12 pounds and fourth place
Rich Rybka 3 fish 1.61 pounds and third place.
Rod Martin 3 fish 1.72 pounds and second place.
Bill Poirier 5 fish 6.78 pounds and first place with big fish of 2.69 pounds.
Thanks go out to all who assisted the weigh-in and the launching of boats and the subsequent retrieval of the same boats. Rich Rybka was instrumental in getting all of that done.
Next month is Crooked Lake. Norm, are we all set with the rental at that ramp for June? Let me know if there is something I might need to do to assist you there. Remember we are far from civilization and may need a meal there on the “Barbie”. I will again bring 12 breakfast sandwiches for Saturday morning.
That is all for now and remember that “God loves you and so do I”
See you at the June meeting at 5:45 PM at Betts,
Aka Bill Poirier
OK guys, let's get this written. June on Crooked Lake was one for the books in a lot of ways.
Four of us ended up at Bob's Landing on Thursday afternoon for "supper" with our master chef Norm providing venison chili
(venison provided by our resident hunter John Fugate) and mac-n-cheese and cookies for desert. They were fine eatins' I'm
here to tell you. Thanks guys!
I took Rich out Friday because Norm was not going to stay out as long as he knew I would. We had a great time, as always, and
got to catch a few fish as well. My plan was set and I was going to execute it Saturday!
Another great meal of cheeseburgers Friday night. Rod, never listen to me again about not bring your electric grill. We had to fire
up the weber grill and that was a job we could have done without. John Fugate did the cookin' honors and was great at it.
Thanks for the job well done.
We had rain and thunder both Thursday and Friday and we stayed off the lake when the thunderboomers were active. We're not
as dumb as we look.
I debated whether or not to have an even earlier weigh-in before the scheduled 2PM assigned time. Coulda-shoulda-woulda! More
about that in a moment.
I got back to the ramp at about 1:45PM and Norm pulled me out (with no power loading I might add). It was dry at the time! I
thought I would do Norm the same curtesy and went to get his car. Keep in mind that Norm's partner, Rich Rybka, was still fishing
in Norm's boat still trying to get his fifth fish. Rich came back to the ramp and Norm went down to drive his boat on the trailer I had
just backed down. Right at that time "came up a bad cloud" which means it started to deluge us. I had to get out of the car to winch
the boat on the trailer in the pouring down rain. Got it done but by then all three of us were drenched as Norm and Rich were
helplessly in the boat as the heavens opened up. Now is the time when I say I should have weighed in at 1PM! I'm just saying!
we weighed in our fish and you see the results below (second set of stats). Different month of the year for us and fewer fish to
show for it.
Attention! Rich Rybka caught his first two fish on the "angel pony" or devil's horse. Top water! dude! Welcome to my world except
it wasn't this day!
It was still raining when I left the ramp to return home. I stopped to plug my phone in after leaving Bob's Landing and I am sure
glad I did. Shortly I got a call from Norm and he asked if I had his car keys. Long story short. I did! Turned around and took them
back to him. My bad! That was a first for me.
Do the YTD standing look familiar? Same guy at the top after three tournaments! It is closer this year as the point system has shown it
is a better fit for our club. Norm Missed a tournament and he is still within striking distance! Good job my friend.
Thanks Norm for noticing my dead fish. I didn't even notice it as I was taking the cull tags off the fish and just putting them in the bag.
Checks and balances are in place. And thanks to all who helped with the weigh-in. Much grass!
John Grippo. Please let me know if you will be joining us at the meeting, fishing this next tournament with us, and when you are
coming over to the tournament. I have reserved two cabins for this event and want to be sure they are enough.
You are welcome, of course, to bring your own boat but I think it would be good for you to fish as a non-boater
at least the first time with us. Your choice. We would sure like you in the club.
I will see you all at the meeting the first Thursday in July at 5:45 PM at Bett's Tackle in Largo. See you then!
God loves you and so do I,
AKA Bill Poirier
Clearwater Senior Bass Club
July 20th, 2019
East Lake Toho Tournament
Hey! You out there! Gonna talk about the tournament last Saturday on East Lake Toho. It was bittersweet but still a lot of fun as well.
Another Hot hot hot week in Florida in July! We all inputted that a one ‘o clock weigh-in would be a wise thing to do, and it was as a matter of fact.
Some of you weren’t around when I spouted my rhetoric about the layout of lakes and what to look for when fishing all over the place. There were “points and pockets” and “stumps and clumps” and sprigs and twigs” and other less memorable canal innuendos. Well, now we have a new one brought to us by John Fugate. It is “nibbles and bites”!
You remember the dog food commercials about kibbles and bits? John was able to use nibbles and bites to win this tournament AND have big fish to boot. One of two limits (five fish) with a total weight of 7.64 pounds and a big fish of 2.55 pounds! I witnessed him missing what he said was his fifth fish and he got it just a few minutes later before driving to weigh-in.
Rod Martin was the other limit getter and had five weighing 4.79 pounds. Great job Rod!
Rich Rybka and I had a harder time catching fish! I was lucky enough to come in third with three fish and Rich ended up catching one but had several other bites that could have moved him up the ladder, but worm fishing has always been difficult and sometimes they just get away!
This tournament sure tightened up the race for AOY. Rod is still in first place with 51 points, but John has moved within two of Rod and is tied with me for second place in points with 49 and the tiebreaker gives me a slight edge over him.
We are travelling to Lake Reedy where John has won the past two years. I’m shaking in my boots in anticipation of this one.
Only two of us will be going over early and Rod and I will share one of the small cabins at Lake Reedy Resort. John and Rich will join us tournament day.
I took my grandson up to fish with Rod and we had a great four hours on his lake and he talked about it for a long time afterwards. Thank you Rod, for the time we spent with you.
See you at the August meeting on the first Thursday of the month at Betts’ Tackle in Largo.
God loves you and so do I!
Clearwater Senior Bass Club
August 17, 2019
Three days of fishing on Lake Reedy and I am still confused about what happened there.
I met Rod Martin for breakfast at the old IHOP at US-27 and 60 at Lake Wales. We enjoyed the breakfast and the talk of how the fishing was going to happen after we got to the Lake Reedy Cottages.
We got to Reedy at about noon and went out fishing after I had pulled my Mercury prop and cleared the fishing line that was in there. Remember to do that every few months of when you see line hanging out. Braided line is notorious for getting in the seals and causing leaks that will make your lower unit go south way too quickly!
I caught a couple of bass. One on a spinner bait and the other on a Red Eye Shad (RES)! That was the first spinner bait fish I had caught in over 10 years! I have been trying to use baits outside my comfort zone and seeing if I can get a new resource for future tournaments. It worked this week as I caught three fish on the spinner bait (one each day).
Rod provided food for evening meals as well as cokes and water and Gatorade for the weekend. He did the cooking and I did the dishes (very few dishes to do). We settled in and watched TV until my eyelids closed over my eyes and I knew it was time to hit the sack.
Rich Rybka came over Friday morning and fished with Rod for several hours before they decided they had had enough fun for that day and came in early. They told me to call them and they would come to the ramp (it was next door) and pull me out and get my boat on the trailer.
I took the time to replace my outdated license plate with the new one provided by the DMV when I renewed my tag on line. I couldn’t do it at home as my trailer was against the wall in my garage where I park my boat. I got it changed and backed over my footstool and made it two pieces. OOPS!
It began to rain and I decided to pull the boat myself as I didn’t want anyone else to get wet. Everything worked out well and I got back to the cabin in time to get a nap before dinner, or Supper as Norm calls it!
Saturday morning we blasted off and went to our first stops. I got scared as just as we began casting I pulled back on my RES and hit Rich in the side of his head and more accurately impaled the trebles in his hat. Scared us both as I know that hurt, but it could have been so much worse if he hadn’t been wearing his BPS hat.
Rich had to cut the hooks out of the hat and rendered it obsolete to say the least! God was watching us as this could have been disastrous in so many different ways!
I caught my big fish on a spinner bait early on and was some surprised as to that result. Rich got the net and the fish fell off the hook after he got it in the net. Thank you, Rich!
Our next four fish came in a very small pad field and we finally deduced that the bass were schooling through the pads. We each caught two fish, but I thought Rich had caught more. Twenty minutes after he caught his first one I looked back and saw him with another fish (so I thought). Seems he had hooked the fish in the gill plates and was trying desperately to get the hook out without killing the fish. Didn’t work out as the fish died later!
The second fish he got on in the pad field I was able to find it as Rich had the fish tangled around a pad and I happened to see the fish still attached and eased the net under him and got the fish in the net just as he came unbuttoned.
The other two fish I caught were on the RES and they were the smallest of the five fish I caught. I had my limit at 9:47 AM and that was the last fish I put in the boat.
Rod told me he culled three times to get the 3.58 Pounds of fish that he had. He also told me a bigger fish was purloined by a small but aggressive alligator where he was fishing. He also caught the gator later on but let him go by cutting the line. Sorry about the problem, Rod!
John Fugate won the tournament for the third year in a row. WOW! I had specifically made it my goal to beat him this year! So much for that finishing touch! Not only did he win but took big fish as well.
John is the new sheriff in town. The old sheriff was an Army guy who had a two and a half year run in first place. Now it is up to Rod and Rich and Norm and I to dethrone the sheriff and take over first place, but for now congratulations are in order. Was it “nibble and bites” that did the trick for you, John?
I will attach the weigh-in slip and the YTD stats to this as well as include them below as Norm cannot open my attachments!
See you at the September meeting on the first Thursday of the month at Betts’ Tackle in Largo.
God loves you and so do I!
Clearwater Senior Bass Club
September 21, 2019
This was a tournament and the days leading up to it that I will remember for a long time. Remember what? Just kidding! Wind is NOT my friend, more so today after the four windy days we had on this lake.
I went to this lake a week ago this past Thursday with Rod Martin because I had not been to the lake in many years and Rod had not been there as many times as he wanted to. Guess what? It was windy that day too!
We entered the north side canals and began in canal three as I had remembered it was one of my favorites. It is now John Fugate’s favorite canals! More about that later!
We saw 14 turkeys in three various sized flocks as we traversed the canals. I had to be reminded that we were fishing and not bird watching. I am multi-faceted and can do both! The turkeys were enjoyable and we watched the flocks pecking the ground and making their way away from us once they sensed our presence! Actually turkeys have very keen eyesight and can sense movement from a long ways away. I have even been called a turkey before. Not going back to that later!
We had a good day on the lake and I knew that I would be fishing the tournament in some of the canals on the lake. Rod said that he would probably be on the main lake if he could, but I was skeptical at best that he would be able to do that.
This past Thursday morning Rod and Rich met me at the Egg House for breakfast over in Lake Wales where we had our vittles (yummy)! They, Rod and Rich, were late due to traffic and that is worth mentioning because Rod is usually a half hour early to any of our meetings!
Rod then went to Lake Walk-in-Water to begin prefishing in earnest for the tournament on Saturday. Rich and I went on another quest!
I had told Norm Whitten that I would scout Lake Marion on Thursday and he asked if we could reserve three rooms for the “classic” in March of next year. I said I would and we would fish Marion and report back to him afterwards. Alas and alack! The fish camps were closed and the folks could not be reached so we won’t be going there in March of next year! Sorry Norm!
We did get to see one hog (about 40 pounds) and a hen turkey while we on our scouting trip so it was a success after a fashion!
We came back to Walk-in-Water and proceeded to the South canals for some prefishing of our own. It was then that I had another brilliant idea about canal fishing!
I decided to liken it to N.C.I.S. which is one of my favorite shows. If you haven’t seen it then you won’t even fathom what I am about to say about Rich as we plied the waters in the canals.
I called him a “probie” as we began fishing and he had to go from probie agent canal fisherman to agent canal fisherman to special agent canal fisherman to VERY special agent canal fisherman. I told him that very few get to be VERY special agent canal fishermen. I only know one person who fits that description and I am not a name dropper so I’ll leave that to your imagination. I will say that Rich got to special agent canal fisherman because he beat me that Thursday in the canals! Way to go Rich!
Friday I spent in the South canals and caught eight or nine fish and had a blast with my top water baits. I used both the devil’s horse and pop-r and had success with both. I also went to the North canals and fished canal one and four and did well there too. My tournament day was etched firmly in concrete! I would throw top water all day!
Our meals both Thursday and Friday were provided by Rod Martin who cooked burgers Thursday and dogs on Friday along with beans, macaroni salad and potato salad and condiments for both meals. He also provided snacks for our enjoyment! Thank you, Rod, for all that you provide for our tournaments.
Saturday morning came early (five AM) and we got up and prepared to take on the mighty black bass on Lake Walk-in-Water. John Fugate met us at the ramp and we took off across the lake to our favorite canals as the wind was still up and the water was bumpy on the way across the lake.
I visited my first canal and thought I had made a mistake choosing top water as I didn’t get bit until about a half hour later. Finally got one in the boat! I heard “another one bites the dust” song in my head and would hear that another 18 time during the rest of the day. I had 27 bites on the day and put 19 in the boat. I culled seven or eight times and got my limit to over eight pounds. The first five I put in the boat would have rivaled Rod martins smallest limit weighed in at 1.68 pounds. I don’t think I had that much early on!
It was a glorious day to say the least until I returned across the lake to even bigger waves then I remembered the other days I returned to the launch site. Anyway I got back about an hour early (as I usually do) and arrived at a nightmare situation. I took on water to the tune of six-eight inches on my floorboard as I searched for a way to tie up to the launch ramp in order to get my truck to retrieve my boat.
I had all three bilge pumps (two auto and one manual) working overtime to pump out the water around my feet while biding my time waiting for Rod and Rich and John to get back. When they finally got there John was able to drop Rich at the dock and he began to get us safely out of the water and ready for weigh-in.
It is getting to be a broken record, but John won AGAIN and took big fish pot AGAIN! Big fish was 5.89 pounds and Rod finally got to give up the travelling fish plaque because someone finally got a fish over five pounds! John your total weight was 10.27 pounds, but I forgot to adjust your weight down by ½ pound for the two dead fish you had, so you adjusted total weight is 9.77 which is still a great tournament. You da man!
Second place was taken by Bill Poirier who also had five fish but weighed only 8.44 pounds.
Third place went to Rod Martin who also had five fish weighing 6.48 pounds. Good job my friend!
Last, but not least by any means was Rich Rybka who had two fish that weighed 2.29 pounds and another fish which bounced in the boat as he retrieved him and bounced back into the drink. Rich said he had about ten other bites that managed to not get into the boat.
I want to apologize to the team as we should have gone elsewhere after the wind and wave problems we had on this lake. It is better to be safe than sorry and it could have been disastrous out there at least for me as I thought what would have happened if my big motor had shut off and I was at the mercy of the elements. God was watching us and took good care of us!
John is way out in front of us and does not look catchable for the remainder of the year, but stranger things have happened. Think about this fact! John is winning without prefishing! Of course he is not witnessing the lies and fun we have prefishing, but his job comes first!
I think George will be back in time for the October tournament on Lake Pierce. George, please let us know your status so we can plan who gets to fish with you then!
See you at the October meeting on the first Thursday of the month at Betts’ Tackle in Largo.
God loves you and so do I!