Welcome to Jurassic Park!
If you’ re into really big bass, this is the week you have been waiting for. The full moon in January is the very best time of the year to catch a bass over 10 pounds in Lake County. This is the time when the largest bass in the lake are making their move to the shallows for their annual bedding ritual.
How big do they get? Nobody knows, but Lake County has more than it’s share of giants. In the photo gallery of this website I post pictures of bass caught in Lake County waters. We regularly receive photos of bass exceeding the magic ten-pound mark and it is common knowledge that there are private pits and old orange grove ponds in our area that could easily hold a world record. In the seventies when I first fished the Harris Chain, JB Boondocks Restaurant on Little Lake Harris was a marina. Hanging on the wall in that marina was a mounted bass that reportedly weighed 17 pounds and it looked to be every bit of it! This fish was caught in a local orange grove pond. The mount was very old and to date it is the largest bass I have personally ever seen.
Even though the Harris Chain is heavily fished, it still holds many giant bass. A couple of years ago, I took my wife and grandson out on a January morning fishing trip. The fishing was slow, so about 11:00 AM they both wanted to go back to the house. We live on Lake Eustis, so I took them to our boat dock so they could walk back to the house. Before leaving, I asked my wife if she would bring me a jacket. While she was gone I started to fish around the boat dock. I pitched a plastic craw into a weed bed next to the dock and on my third pitch, the entire weed bed boiled. I was fishing with a 7 foot flipping stick and 25 pound test so I reeled down, felt the fish and set the hook as hard as I could.
My rod bent over as the fish ran under the boat and broke my rod in two on the side of the boat. At that point a giant bass started jumping on the other side of the boat and immediately ran around my trolling motor with the line hung around the prop. It was a miracle that the bass didn’t get off but I was able to hand line her in by pulling up my trolling motor and bringing her in hand over hand. I immediately put the bass in my live well and sat down to calm down a bit. Soon my wife and grandson returned and I told them I had just caught the biggest bass of my life. She asked me how big it was and I told her I did not know but when I pulled the bass out to show her, it grew even bigger than I had remembered. The bass weighed eleven and one half pounds on a certified scale and after weighing her I released her back into the lake where she swam off with a twitch of her tail.