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As we entered Butler Lake, among the first things which drew my attention were the multi-million dollar homes along it’s shore. The first thing that drew the attention of Capt. Dave Robertson were largemouth bass blowing through schools of minnows to our left perhaps a couple hundred yards. Capt. Dave might be unique when one thinks about Florida bass fishing guides. A great many of those previously mentioned guides will have you relaxing in the front of the boat waiting for a bass to take a six inch wild golden shiner that’s either being trolled behind the boat or that has been cast back into the cover under a bobber. There’s not a thing wrong with this type of fishing and it produces bass, and on some occasions some very large bass. But if you are going fishing with Capt. Dave you’re going to get to experience all styles of fishing for bass. On the morning we would fish top water, rubber worms, flukes, jerk baits, and even the previously mentioned wild golden shiners.
The Mrs. was attending a banking convention in Orlando and I was lucky enough to be with her as right hand man, or arm candy if you will, something that I have been blessed to do these many years. I can attend the various seminars with her if I wish and in the past I have, but at least one day or morning on these trips we find time to go fishing. The wife was too busy to get away this year so I made the arrangements to hire a guide. The guide which I had fish with three years ago was booked up, but he recommended Dave Robertson of DW Bass Guide Service out of Winter Garden, Florida. That was my lucky break as Capt. Dave and I had a very good trip and he was very knowledgeable about what it takes to get bass in the boat, but is very relaxed and patient with you as attempt to pattern his fishing style to catch Florida bass.
As I said Capt. Dave saw the fish blowing through the schools of minnows and we high tailed it over to the proximity of the feeding bass and then trolled our way within casting distance. He already had a couple rods rigged with Zara Spooks. We would be using Penn Conflict reels on Bass Pro Shop Qualifier rods in medium and heavy action. The line used was 15lb Power Pro Super 8 Slick V2 with a 12lb fluorocarbon leader by Seaguar Invisible X. Of course, the reason for the braided main line was so that there would be no stretch when setting the hook and the leader made it more difficult for the fish to see the line. As I’m sure that most of my readers already are aware of, fishing a Zara Spook is called “Walking the dog” as the lure has a back and forth action when you twitch your fishing rod and then reel the slack line up created by the twitch. This action resembles a crippled minnow on the surface and when bass are feeding the lure will earn its spot in your tackle box. I suppose that fishing the surface netted me 5 or 6 bass first thing in the morning. We were fishing over about eight feet of water and the thing which was just super was that when you attempted the bring a bass to the boat the water was so clear that you could see the fish as it came in all the way to the bottom, which was where the bass wanted to go to in order to get back in the cover.
The thing which I quickly noticed about Capt. Dave is that he is never satisfied and while you fishing one lure, he has something else tied on and is fishing that to see if the bass have switched to something else. That something else was when top water died down, and we switched to 5 inch Senkos colored in June bug and watermelon/red. The worms were Texas rigged with 1/8 ounce tungsten worm weights. The main thing when worm fishing was to make sure that the worm stayed on the bottom. The other thing which was perhaps more important was to make as long as cast as possible, otherwise with less line out the worm wouldn’t be on the bottom as long and it would almost be as if you were fishing directly under the boat. Sometimes you would feel the tap tap of a bass hitting the worm, other times the bass would take the worm and run with it. Sometimes the bass would take the worm on the drop and it would just have the worm. The thing which I also learned was on several occasions Capt. Dave would say, “I have a fish on, but I haven’t set the hook,” and then hand me the rod. I was amazed that the fish would always still have the worm in its mouth, so I asked the Capt. what was the secret to getting the fish to hold the worm longer. His response was, “All my worms have a certain amount of salt in them and the bass hold them longer as they like the taste.”
I would suppose I caught more bass on the Senko worms than anything else I used. We were fishing in perhaps anywhere from 8 to 14 feet of water. We picked up a lot of bass on the edge of drop offs, as well as locations that had some cover, but not just choked full of it. We ended the day trolling with 5 to 6 inch wild golden shiners rigged on baitholder hooks on medium heavy rods 7’ 6” in length . I no doubt performed worse on shiner trolling than any other type. The bass would be running with the shiner and all I had to do was to engage the reel and set the hook. I missed at least three bass by attempting to reel up until I felt the fish. I guess old dogs cannot always learn new trick, but it was a great morning with us catching 26 bass with the biggest going a little over four pounds.
Not all fishing guides are the same and I have heard horror stories, but I would highly recommend Capt. Dave at WWW.DWBASSGUIDESERVICE.COM.