Some background: My sponsor (AKA the Wife) signed me up for some drum lessons for a Christmas present one year – I had been playing drum parts with friends on the game Rock Band and had expressed an interest in ‘getting back into’ the drums. Well, I showed up for the lessons, and Dave was my instructor. Dave is a great guy, awesome drummer and loves to fish! Anyhow, Dave just got back from working as a musician on European cruise ships. He spent 7 months doing that. When he told me he was coming back soon, I said that we needed to get out and fish when he got home. This is that trip!
I had gotten a new-to-me boat since Dave had left. The last boat I had was a little 2-man plastic boat (Pelican) – which was a great inexpensive fishing platform! Dave had gone out with me a few times on it, and is the person that introduced me to Zoom Brush-hogs, which he out-fished me with (5-1) on our first outing several years ago! Since then, I’ve contributed substantially to keeping Zoom in business… When Dave showed up on the morning of our trip, he was a little bit shocked to find that the little plastic boat had been replaced by a much larger fiberglass job – I thought I had told him previously about my ‘upgrade’, but it turns out that I had not. So, we loaded up and headed out for Camp Mack on Lake Kissimmee.
We arrived, launched and headed to a few usual spots. It was pretty windy out already, and obviously a front was coming in – which I would have known about had I checked the weather forecast beforehand… I usually do this, but hadn’t in this case because, “hey, we’re ‘fun fishing'” – I.e. not pre-fishing or tournament fishing.
My strategy for the day was to introduce Dave to swim-bait fishing a la Reaction Innovations Skinny Dippers and Bitter’s Baits Naked Swimmers. I gave him a crash course on fishing with bait casters, and set him up with a 7’6″ rod, 60# braid, Shimano 201e7 Curado rigged with a #6 Owner swimbait hook. I figured that we’d at least catch a few quality fish with swim-baits given the conditions (Overcast with gusting winds).
We started off in this area, fishing the grass-lines and pads, but we only had a few small nibbles. So we set off for another area that I’ve caught quality fish in before: Grass Island area. We start working into the area and start getting a few small fish hitting the tail. I change colors to the ‘Dirty Sanchez’ (Reaction Innovations) and immediately start getting more bites. I was fishing the ‘Bluegill’ (Bitter’s) color prior to this – which works well in almost all conditions. I throw Dave some baits of the same color to put on. Minutes later I hook up with what feels like a decent 5 pound class fish. It wraps me up around a clump of lily pads. I bring the boat over and finally get it unwrapped, and then she swims up to the side of the boat… She’s huge! Way bigger than five. She had a gut that just hung off of her, like a pot-bellied pig!
Dave and I caught a few more during the day, but this one definitely made the trip to Kissimmee worth it. Foul weather aside, it was a good excuse to catch up with Dave, and a great outing!
P.S. I’ve got a few more pictures and some video of this fish. I need to edit the video before posting, so ‘stay tuned’ for more content regarding this big fish.