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A Bassball Road Trip to the Wakulla and Wacissa (part One)

Four guys from Florida River Fishing got together and took a February trip to Florida to beat the cold weather. This is my account of what transpired in, as I like to call it, a bassball format.

I had heard good things about the spring fed rivers in Florida so when Sumtershoaliefan (our starting buzzbaseman) asked me if I wanted to join he and Shoalieseeker (starting finesse fielder) for a trip down to warm Florida to fish some spring fed rivers, it was a no-brainer. I invited Shoalbandit (starting pitch/flipper) to join the team. I suppose I am the starting spinner baitsman.      

The cold weather in GA had been getting to us and we needed a break.  Did we find sunshine?  Did we catch fish?  Did the home team get a win?  I thought you’d never ask… 

We headed out on Feb 15th and the plan was to fish 3 or 4 days on the Wakulla and Wacissa rivers.  Unfortunately, the cold weather seemed to follow us all the way down to our opponent’s turf below Tallahassee, FL.  Still, we were in high spirits because we knew the spring fed waters were constantly coming out of the ground between 68 and 72 degrees.   

On day one of our road trip series against the bass we fished against the Wakulla River bass.  It is a very short river that comes start when several big springs come boiling right up out of the ground only 11 miles from the ocean.  There is a state park there that prevents you from floating the first few miles, so there is really only one stretch to float and fish entirely fresh water.  So, that is the area we decided to hit because we were after big largemouth and Suwannee bass. 

The first thing we noticed is just how much life seems to be in these waters.  All kinds of wading birds, fish, crabs, and reptile activity could be seen.  I suppose they all served as the home team’s fans. They would soon be disappointed.

To me, each day on the water is a completely new ballgame between the bass and each one of us.  It can be an especially tough when it is one’s first time fishing on new water – the fish have a serious home field advantage.  They were playing solid defense for the first few hours until Shoalieseeker broke through with a base knock when he scored a small largemouth.  We were on the bases!  It wasn’t soon after that Sumtershoaliefan, Shoal Bandit and I were accruing RBI’s.  We figured by the end of the day we could figure them out enough to score a decent one – a home run.   

 

Well, by mid afternoon I was able to strike with a couple solid fish – solid 1lb 11oz Suwannee (pictured above) and a healthy looking 4lb 6oz largemouth.  Despite the cold weather and the home field advantage I think we barely squeaked out the victory, even though we didn’t catch big numbers of fish this day.  Our team - “Have Yak, Will Travel”- 1 Bass – 0

On the second day, we continued the road trip over to play the nearby team of bass that lived in the Wacissa river. The temperature that morning dipped down into the low 20’s! The wind was expected to be howling at 15-20 miles an hour as well.  Despite the poor conditions, we suited up bright and early to take on our opponent. Shoal Bandit and I split up from Shoalieseeker and Sumtershoaliefan to try to sneak up on the bass from the back door. We paddled upstream from a put in and began hitting base knocks with small largemouth and Suwannees. 

We just knew that eventually we might get a chance to hit a home run.  Well, as it got close to dark I was able to fool a spawned out largemouth into striking my spinnerbait.  Until then, one of my favorite baits, the spinnerbait, had not produced much at all in this clear water.  We had been catching most of our fish on tube baits flipped into heavy cover or worked on the bottom around undercut banks.  This was at least a triple that checked in at 4lbs and 12oz. 

We knew we had them on the ropes and not even 30 minutes later Shoal Bandit hit a walk-off home run with a fat pre-spawn female that weighed 5lbs 8oz.  It was a great way to end the game and begin our road trip 2-0! 

 

The second half of the trip will be coming soon.