The Bite is on at Rodman

November 2011 B.A.S.S. Times
Big bass time during drawdown.
By Frank Sargeant

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Being in the right place at the right time is always a great fishing strategy, but knowing when to be where can be tough.

There's no mystery at Florida's Rodman Reservoir this winter, though.

"If you're anywhere on the lake this winter during the drawdown, you're going to catch a lot of big fish," says Silver Springs guide Sean Rush, who has been guiding on the lake for more than 23 years.

Rush says 2011 has already been one of his best years ever. Through October, his anglers had caught and released almost 2800 bass, and he's kept careful records of the size of each. Check this:

135 of the bass went over 7 pounds

73 went over 8 pounds

49 went over 9 pounds

19 were over 10 pounds

8 were over 11 pounds

3 were over 12 pounds, including one that went 13.

All of these fish were caught on wild shiners, big, flat-sided minnows up to 10 inches long, available at bait shops in Orange Springs and Salt Springs near the lake. The baits are fished on 20-pound-test line and 4/0 Eagle Claw style 84 hooks, usually tail hooked and run up under the vast mats of floating hyacinths that line much of the lake. Sean Rush says he also does well around creek mouths and along the submerged river channel.

Rush says artificial lure anglers can also catch all the bass they want during the drawdown.

"My best day during the last drawdown was 144 bass on live bait, with five over 8 pounds," says Rush. "But you can go out there with a jerk-shad, a crankbait or a speed worm and catch 50 a day, you've got all the bass in the lake forced into an area half the size of full pool, so it's fish soup."

Anglers who bring their own rigs to the lake may need four-wheel-drive to launch and load at the low-water ramps, some of which become pretty challenging. The drawdown is slated to begin at the end of November, reach low pool by Christmas, and then start to refill March 1, likely returning to full pool 30 to 45 days later. These dates just happen to coincide with spawning time for bass in north-central Florida, so lots of hulking females are on the agenda. For more on fishing Rodman, visit Sean Rush's site at

We are a full time St. Augustine Bass Fishing Guide Service and fishing charter service. We have been guiding customers to trophy bass in the Jacksonville and North Central Florida areas for over 25 years.

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