Just For Fun


 As time goes by, I find myself fishing a lot less tournaments and spending more days on the water just having fun. I still enter a few now and then, but a steady diet of tournament fishing can turn a relaxing enjoyable pastime into a full time job with all the pressure and hassles of real work.


My favorite way to just have fun is top water fishing. I love top water because I enjoy the challenge of casting to a small target and the sound of a bass striking a top water lure is one of the world’s greatest thrills. It also takes me back to the early days when all my heroes fished for bass with wooden plugs like the Creek Chub Darter and the Dalton Special.


Interestingly enough, there is a local fisherman nicknamed "Top Water Charlie" that has made over $100,000 a year fishing bass tournaments with a Smithwick Devil’s Horse top water lure. Bassmaster Magazine recently ran an article on Charlie chronicling his tournament success. The reason he is so successful is that most bass caught on top water are larger than your average bass and he sticks with it no matter what. I personally have witnessed Charlie walking to the scales with an eight pound bass in both hands and many times with a bass over 10 pounds.


Two weeks ago on a warm Friday afternoon after lunch, I ran over to Haines Creek to spend the afternoon fun fishing. A cold front was coming through the next day and I was hoping to catch a few bass before they shut down for the weekend. As I fished down my favorite bank, the birds were singing and it seemed everyone was enjoying the unseasonably warm weather, including me. Eventually I came to a place where a large cypress tree hangs over the water. I stood up in the boat and made a cast with my Devil’s Horse. I gave it a couple of jerks when I noticed a large bulge in the water right behind my lure. I strained my eyes and stood on my toes to see what was behind my lure. I could see little waves of current as a large fish was slowly moving her tail back and forth just under my plug. I twitched the lure again and the creek exploded when an eight pound bass struck the lure so hard I’m sure you could have heard the splash a hundred yards away. I took my time and fought the fish to the boat in a few minutes. Holding her up I admired her beautiful green sides and that perfectly formed body. As I released her back to the water I immediately flashed back to when I started bass fishing as a boy and all the years I had spent hunting bass. I thanked God for creating this fish and letting me have the thrill of catching her. It was a great day and I returned home with a smile.












Captain Phil Kelley

Lakefront Marketing LLC
P.O. Box 325

Tavares, FL 32778