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PECo



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 5167
Location: Avon, CT

PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:18 am    Post subject: Harris Chain, Florida 01/23 Reply with quote

I’ve been traveling a lot, recently, and didn’t have a chance to fish during the 2-1/2 weeks I spent in Arizona, the two days I was in Chicago, and the seven days I was in New Jersey and New York. But I’m in Florida, now!

I dunked my teabag off the beach in Naples for a few hours in the morning on Saturday and Sunday, but the recent cold spell that hit the area hadn’t ended, yet. The water in the Gulf was cold, in the low 60s, but, even worse, it was murky. I was the only person in the water; everything tingled painfully until it went numb:



Since I don’t fish with bait, I didn’t have much of a shot at catching anything and, yes, I got nothing.

My wife had to be in Orlando for a few days, so I chartered a fishing trip with Captain Mickey Maynard ( http://www.lakechamplainangler.com ) on Tuesday. I’ve been fishing with the Captain for years up on Lake Champlain, and since he began spending the winter months down in Florida, I’ve fished with him a few times on Lake Okeechobee and the Harris Chain. I had only one day to go fishing on this trip, so he took me out on the Harris Chain.

We launched before first light at 6:15 am and fished until 4:30 pm. The water was clear, but cold; it hung between 57 and 58 degrees all day. The air temperature quickly went from the upper 60s to 80 degrees. The sky was overcast all day, with some light rain in the very early morning. The wind stayed fairly calm in the morning, but we saw a steady wind approaching 15 miles per hour in the afternoon.

The Captain had a plan for the day, based on his years of fishing the area. He’s not a bait guy, so we threw a variety of lures. It took a while, but he finally got the first fish shortly after sunrise. He pulled the two pound male largemouth bass out from a stand of reeds along the shore. As he worked to get the hook out of it, he said, “Get a couple of more casts in there.” As I took the first cast, I thought, “There’s no way I’ll get another fish out of those reeds.” But on my second cast, I actually got bit! The Captain yelled, “Is it a good one?”, but I couldn’t tell. After all, the last fish I caught was one of 50+ striped bass out of the lower Housatonic River in the middle of December. When we finally saw it, though, he grabbed the net:



Whoo hoo! The pre-spawn, egg-laden female weighed six pounds, two ounces. I definitely started my 2018 largemouth bass fishing season with a bang.

We caught fish the rest of the morning, but up to only 2-1/2 pounds. When the Captain told me he knew a good dockside restaurant, well, who could resist breaking for beer and frog legs?



Unfortunately, a cold front moved in quickly during the middle of the day:



We saw rollers breaking in the middle of the lake after lunch, and could only manage a bunch of keeper-sized dinks in the afternoon. We ended up boating 14 largemouth bass. I also saw a decent-sized blue catfish and a couple of gar in the mostly clear, shallow water, but they weren’t interested in the lures I was throwing at the time.

If you’re down in the Orlando-area during the winter or up near Lake Champlain during the rest of the year, you should give Captain Mickey Maynard a call (‭518-578-9273‬).



Thanks, again, Mick!
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Last edited by PECo on Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:02 am; edited 1 time in total
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markm



Joined: 22 Jul 2014
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

6lbs 2 oz! again setting the bar pretty high for rest of the season.
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