FWC Looking for Feedback on New 16" Largemouth Bass Rule

Please consider taking the survey and be sure read the background information before jumping to conclusions about whether or not this is a good idea.

From Tom Champeau, Director of the FWC Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management:

Here is your chance to provide input about potential Florida bass management ideas. You are receiving this because you are signed up to receive updates on potential freshwater fisheries rule changes. We encourage you to read the additional information about the draft proposal and to complete a new survey.

Jimmy Blount Catches Monster During Kissimmee Practice

Jimmy Blount with a 12 pounder from Kissimmee Practice 2014-04-24

Two stories about practice for our Kissimmee tournament with one that didn't get posted until over a week after the damn tournament? What kind of insanity is this? Keep calm and read on. It's all about the photograph Jack Berry took after having to put both hands in her mouth to get her into the boat.

Space Coast Bass Finatics veteran Jimmy Blount hooked into a monster during his practice for our Kissimmee tournament. That fish he's holding up registered at 12 pounds on his scale. Wow! Look at the picture. Notice Jimmy is not holding the fish out, she's right up next to his torso so you can get a better idea of just how big she is. It looks like Jimmy could have stuck his head in her mouth. That girl is huge! What a fish! I'm giddy just looking at the photograph, to catch her must have been sublime. Way to go Jimmy!

FWC Considering 16" Largemouth Rule Change

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will hold a public meeting to discuss a possible rule change for largemouth bass. The meeting will offer the public a chance to hear from freshwater fisheries biologists about the science behind managing bass fisheries, as well as public input that has led to consideration of a possible statewide rule change.

Participants will be encouraged to provide input on the proposal for a statewide five-fish daily bag limit, only one of which could be 16 inches total length or longer. In other words, four of the five largemouths would have to be less than 16 inches total length.

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. It will take place at the Round Administration Building, 315 W. Main St. in Tavares, upstairs in the Lake County Board Chambers.

To learn more about largemouth bass and the FWC’s current regulation, go to MyFWC.com/Fishing, and visit the “Black Bass Management” and “Regulations” links under “Freshwater Fishing.”

Big Females Abound as the Taylor's Win at Kissimmee

Taylors with 24.10 1st place at Kissimmee 2014-04-27

The Space Coast Bass Finatics showed up hopeful at Lake Kissimmee on April 27, 2014 after practice rumors of big fish permeated the pretournament conversation. When it was all said and done, every competing team would weigh a 5 fish limit, at least 8 fish over 4 pounds would be weighed, and the big bass of the season, Jackie Barber's seeming insurmountable 9.4 from Okeechobee, would be eclipsed twice.

The father and son team of Clyde and Raymond Taylor of Palm bay reigned supreme with a total of 24.10 pounds. They reported fishing swimbaits over grass in Lake Hatchineha and Lake Cypress. They culled several 2.5 to 3 pound fish along the way. Clyde anchored their big weight with a 9.43 pound giant female that would be the big bass of the tournament and season, at least for a few minutes. Also, the Taylor's chip ended up at the bottom of the lake so we had to penalize them 5 points for littering. Hopefully that won't come back to haunt them.

Tim Iler of Port St John and Larry Cruce of Titusville worked jerkbaits in Lake Kissimmee to earn second place with a total of 18.64 pounds. Tim casted out his jerkbait and then took a few minutes to stretch a sore muscle in his neck and back leaving his bait motionless for several minutes. Refocusing on fishing, he thought he was hung up in the grass until it started moving. A long fight ensued with the fish busting the surface a few times and going into some heavy grass. Eventually, the fish ran out of energy and Tim was able to get it near enough for Larry to scoop the fish into the net. She tipped the scales at 10.49 pounds and is the tournament's biggest fish and the leading contender for big bass of the year.

Mike Hampton of Malabar and Tim Kopf of Melbourne flipped Yum Dingers to the grass lines near the Overstreet takeoff ramp to catch 15.71 pounds to take third. One of Mike's trailer lights shook loose on the rough Overstreet road on the way to the ramp, but he spotted it on the way out and retrieved it undamaged.

This month's small creel award, a nice "Gone Fishing" wall sign donated by Ronda L. Thorne of Showcase Property Management, was earned by BJ Biles and Jackie Barber for 5 fish at 9.39 pounds. If you need a realtor, give Ronda a call at 321-783-5000. Thanks Ronda!

Calloway Catches Kissimmee Giants During Practice

Calloway with a 9-10 from Kissimmee practice on 2014-04-24

I don't write many stores on pre-fishing, but sometimes things happen that justify it. This is one of those times. SCBF veteran and big stick Mike Calloway was practicing on Lake Kissimmee on April 24, 2014 when he caught not 1 but 2 giants. One weighed in at 9 pounds and 10 ounces and the other tipped the scales at 7 pounds and 4 ounces. He reported a best 5 for the day at 24-4.

Another SCBF veteran, Jimmy Blount, reportedly caught a 12 pounder that same day during practice. If a photo surfaces of that one, it will be posted here.

Stop reading this nonsense and look at the pictures of Calloway's big ladies already!

Biles/Barber Dominate at Okeechobee

Biles/Barber with 22.09 tournament best stringer at Lake Okeechobee 2014-03-23

We hauled our gear to Lake Okeechobee for a two day event March 22-23 that launched out of the Harney Pond Canal. The weights from our club were down from recent years in general. However, as usual, some competitors figured out the secret to catching bigger fish. BJ Biles of Palm Bay and Jackie Barber of Cocoa caught the two biggest five fish limits of the tournament at 17.67 pounds on the first day and 22.09 pounds the second day to win the event by over 9 pounds with a total of 39.76. Jackie Barber anchored their Sunday catch with a 9.4 pound lunker that was the tournament's biggest fish and is the biggest fish caught at any SCBF tournament this season.

Tim Iler of Port St. John and Larry Cruce of Titusville earned second place with a two day total of 30.54 pounds. Mike Calloway of Titusville and Bill Rucker of Okeechobee sacked a two day total of 28.25 pounds to take 3rd. Calloway's 7.04 pounder was the biggest fish on the first day of the event.

Building Management Systems, Inc generously provided scratch off lottery tickets this time as the small creel award. Mike Hubbard and I were unlucky enough to win them the first day and Alan Elder earned them on day 2. If you need something designed, built, or such get a bid from BMS.

Ciavarella/Hubbard Win at Cypress

Ciavarella/Hubbard with 1st Place 16.19 at Lake Cypress (2014-02-23)

Much fog, a strange absence of drama, and the unsettling sounds of peacocks and alligators greeted us at the Lake Cypress boat ramp on February 23rd. The start of the tournament was more of a crawl than a blast off due to the fog which must have made the run to Kissimmee interesting for the several boats that opted to take their chances there.

This month's small creel prize went to the father and son team of Mike and Justin Neal who brought 1 fish for 2.50 pounds to the scales. They won a fillet knife generously donated by Paul and Kevin Parker who own the Palm Bay, Palm Bay West, and West Melbourne Ace Hardware stores. Drop by any of those Ace locations to supply your next project. Thanks Paul and Kevin!

Mr Hubbard and I started off in Cypress fishing a few spots near the boat ramp that didn't pan out and then promptly headed to the eel grass flat between the canals to Lake Hatchineha and Lake Toho. The fish were biting my Skinny Dipper knockoff swimbaits over there until the fog disintegrated and the sun started shining. With only 3 fish including a 4.73, we headed through the lock to the south end of Lake Toho for the same kissimmee grass and reed line we fished last month with hopes of filling out our limit. As luck would have it, the two pounders of last month seemed to have grown up to three pounders and Mr Hubbard promptly loaded the boat with them gleefully tossing my two smaller Cypress fish overboard. At the end of the day, we had more than I thought, tipping the scales at 16.19 pounds to win the tournament.

Mark Burt and his son Sean Burt made the trek to Kissimmee to fish lily pads with 11" worms, a pattern that yielded 20+ pound best 5 more than once in practice for them. They brought 5 fish for 16.02 pounds to the scales to finish a really close 2nd. Sean caught a stout 6.42 pounder that was the tournament's biggest fish.

Dwayne Haga and Bob Barnette opted to lock to Lake Toho where they tossed senkos to catch a five fish limit of nearly the same sized fish for a total of 15.05 to earn 3rd place.

Hampton Skips Work, Catches 7-10 at Garcia

Hampton at Garcia with a 7-10

Your club president, Mr Mike Hampton, decided to skip work last Friday, February 7, 2014, and head over to his favorite place on earth, the aquarium known as Garcia. Ditching work for fishing is worth it if you don't get a bite, but he somehow managed to catch the pictured lovely lady around 1:30pm near some healthy looking hyacinths. He claims the fish weighed in at 7 pounds and 10 ounces. Rumor has it that your club Vice President, Mr Alan Elder caught a 6-4 on Sunday also at Garcia. The fishing is good at the aquarium right now.

We'll be going back there in May when the lake is sure to have terrible navigation issues and the fish have all gone under the thickest cover in the middle of the place where you can only fish with a 5 ounce weight from a helicopter.

Cruce/Iler Win at Toho

The day after a 200 boats fishing the Bassmaster Southern Open assaulted Lake Toho, a midst a week of below average air temperatures, and amongst the final throngs of duck hunters looking to capitalize on the last day of duck season, the Space Coast Bass Finatics blasted off from Whaley's Landing in search of fame, fortune, and giant 5 fish limits of bass. Fame and fortune may be a slight exaggeration, but we were definitely looking for big limits of bass!

Blame the lower 50s water temperatures, blame the duck hunters, blame the Bassmaster Southern Open anglers, blame the cormorants, blame the FWC for turning all the beautiful hydrilla into insidious muck, blame the moon for not being full, blame your lucky hat for failing you, blame Canada for not keeping their cold air north of the border, blame that damn Palomar knot for not holding up when you were counting on it most, blame whatever you must, but the truth is that the conditions on the Kissimmee Chain for this event were tough. Everyone knew that before we launched, but we all showed up anyway and gave it our best, even one of us who knew that his big boat motor was out of commission. We got up at 3am on one of our precious days off work, hauled our equipment down to the lake in the dark, fished hard, and had fun anyway because that's what we do. He who does not have a special place in his heart for these magnificent ornery green fish is not living a full life.

What? Oh right, the tournament. After winning the last event, Mike Hampton of Malabar and Tim Kopf of Melbourne sacked 1 fish for 1.88 pounds to win the small creel award for this tournament. It was a really nice LED trailer light kit generously donated by Ferguson's Auto and Marine Supply on 192 in Melbourne. If you need a new trailer, need to have your trailer fixed or refurbished, need new bearings, need something electrical, they can fix it or supply you with the parts you need. There's a reason they've been around since 1954. Consider taking your business there next time you need something they offer!

Larry Cruce of Titusville and Tim Iler of Port St. John sacked the biggest 5 fish limit of the tournament at 11.55 pounds to win the event. Their bag was anchored by a 4.44 pound kicker by Cruce that was the tournament's biggest fish. Tony Ciavarella of Melbourne and Mike Hubbard of Merritt Island took second with 5 fish for 9.47 pounds. Mike Calloway of Titusville and Cliff Semonski of Oak Hill earned 3rd place without the use of their big motor which broke prior to the event and couldn't be fixed in time. They were not deterred by this misfortune, they arrived with enthusiasm and determination in spite of it and sacked 4 fish for 9.31 pounds anyway.

All fish were returned to the lake alive and well to grow up to be the 10 pounders we all want to catch.

Hampton/Kopf Win at East Lake Toho

Hampton/Kopf with 12.99 pounds of tournament victory (East Lake Toho 2013-12-15)

The last SCBF tournament of 2013 started with more whining and complaining at the boat ramp than usual. "There's no fish in this lake!", "The weather is going to be terrible!", "If we were smart, we would have stayed in bed!" were common pejoratives. We were at East Lake Toho and there was a cold front descending across the northern part of the lake when we blasted off. However, as usual, little green fish and weather rarely seem to do what fishermen expect.

Mike Hampton of Malabar and Tim Kopf of Melbourne caught an estimated 20 keepers to cull up to a 5 fish limit weighing 12.99 pounds to win the tournament. Their bag was anchored by a 3.38 pounder by Hampton which was the tournament's biggest fish. They caught them using skinny dippers and super flukes in the pepper grass. Jackie Barber of Cocoa and BJ Biles of Palm Bay earned a second place finish with 5 fish for 10.36 pounds. Tim Iler of Port St. John and Larry Cruce of Titusville took 3rd with 5 fish for 10.12 pounds.

A small creel award generously donated by Strike Zone was given away at this tournament. Congratulations to Mr Neal and Mr Firkel for earning a pair of floating XTools pliers and a crankbait. Speaking of Strike Zone, you can pick up Mike Calloway's Last Cast products when you are there too!

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