This is the first edition of a new column I hope to publish with some regularity.
If you are like me you love hearing fish stories, and there's not much better than fish tales that include giant bass! In this series we'll be hearing from anglers who've landed trophy class bass and try unearth a few nuggets of wisdom from their encounter with the fish of a lifetime!
Below is Troy Leiter's story of one such fish:
I love to fish central Florida lakes. My favorite way to fish is with big live wild shiners. We anchor, use a float and occasionally free line the shiners. I prefer to fish at the end of January thru March when I’m trying to catch large bass.
We were fishing near the end of January. On the last day of our fishing trip Sunday January 28, 2018 the bites were slow. I fished a few spots that I had been catching fish on, but I hadn’t had much luck that particular morning. At 10 am I moved to a new spot that was in 8 foot of water at the edge of lily pads. The water temperature was approximately 68 degrees with overcast skies. I anchored and I cast a few shiners along the edge of the lily pads. Within minutes my shiner swam deep into the lily pads and when I pulled my shiner back to the edge the shiner came unhooked. The shiner was jumping out of the water trying to get away from something. Immediately a large bass busted the shiner on top of the water. I felt totally disgusted when I realized the shiner came off my hook and there was nothing I could do to catch this large bass.
I cast one of the largest shiners I had within ten feet of the same spot I had seen the large bass strike. Approximately ten minutes later the shiner had swam deep into the lily pads. When I pulled the shiner back to the edge the shiner was tangled. The shiner broke free and a huge bass bowed my rod over instantly. I wasn’t even able to set the hook but the bass hit so hard that she set the hook for me. She never jumped or showed herself out of the water and made several runs. She was pulling so hard that I was afraid she would pull loose because I never was able to set the hook. I finally got her to the boat and before my wife had netted her I was able to see how large she really was. My adrenaline was pumping so hard that I was shaking. When she was finally netted and in the boat she measured 27 1/2 inches long, weighed 12 pounds and 6 ounces. We took a few nice photos and measured her, then we released her so she could be caught another day.
1. How often do you fish? How long do you fish on an average outing?
I target large bass in the early part of the year. I take a few trips to central Florida that I fish three to four days at a time. Normally, I spend 6 or more hours of the day on the water. On the really good days that my shiners have been all used up we may come in off the water sooner. I typically use 5 dozen shiners a day.
2. What percentage of your time on the water are you specifically targeting giant bass?
The early part of the year. Late January thru March. I target giant bass 100% of the time during these months.
3. Do you believe a world record is currently swimming out there?
Yes, I am sure that there is a world record out there waiting to be hooked.
4. What’s your favorite big bass bait?
Live wild shiners.
5. What do you think is the biggest mistake most fishermen are making while chasing big bass?
The biggest mistake I can see is, if you are fishing a lake or area that you have access to live bait, you should take advantage of the live bait instead of artificial bait. Wild shiners are the number one big bass bait in Florida, in my opinion.
6. What’s your favorite bass fishing book?
I’m not big on reading but the book I found very interesting was a book titled Sowbelly The obsessive quest for the world record largemouth bass by: Monte Burke.
7. What purchase of 100 dollars or less has most positively impacted your catch rates in the past couple of years?
I started using braided line instead of monofilament. I feel this is a must for large fish, to pull them out of the vegetation. I use this when fishing in central Florida. It floats on the water, doesn’t stretch and it is extremely durable.
8. What’s something you believe about bass fishing that most folks disagree with?
9. What advice would you give someone trying to catch a double-digit bass?
You have to fish lakes where big bass live. Not all lakes produce double digit bass.
10. What’s your favorite time of day to target big bass?
Typically, during the early part of the year the time of day doesn’t really concern me. I have caught big bass just after daylight till all the way throughout the day. Example: In the early part of February in 2017 my biggest bass weighed in at 11 lbs. 8 oz.. She was caught at noon with the sun up high and bright.
11. What kind of structure do you favor for big bass fishing?
12. How deep do you usually target them?
It really depends on the lake. Typically, 6 to 8 foot of water.
Have you caught a giant bass over 12 lbs? We'd love to hear from you. Reach out to us at LunkerLore1@gmail.com.
Interested in more big bass wisdom? Check out the book Lunker Lore at amazon.com!