“Where the heck is Lake June? Oh it’s near Lake Placid…. Where’s that…….?”
After fishing the Clermont Chain Rick and I were feeling excited to have 2 top 5 finishes. But we didn’t want to discourage ourselves when setting a goal for the next tournament. I had to google Lake June to find out where it was and from the archives on the website it looked like BAB had fished it pretty regularly. We wanted to figure out a way to earn a top 10, with that in mind we set out to prefish. I left my house at 2:30 to pick Rick up and get to the boat ramp by daybreak. We decided to stick to what we’re good at and try to find fish shallow even though this time of year is known for deep water fishing and supposedly Lake June is also known for being a good deep water fishery.
We started at the cove on the north side of the lake. We were throwing top water baits. We have found a couple baits that we feel you can throw all day anytime of year and have a good chance to catch a couple bass. We saw some bait moving but didn’t have any luck. As we moved to the north canal system Rick caught a little one on the bridge. The canals looked beautiful for what we wanted to do but we had one of those mornings you can sometimes have when throwing top water. Blow up after blow up without hooking up. By around 10 we were done fishing the north canals. Mentally we needed to move or change it up a little.
We decided to try the south side of the lake. We weren’t getting any bites until around 1130 when Rick cast up in front of me on the side of the canal I was fishing…. Of course from the middle of the canal a wake rose up and took off for his bait. He kept calm and kept steady reeling until the fish softly sucked the bait down. It turned out to be a 6.11 lb bass that was over 24 inches long. As much as we needed that pick me up it really felt like a fluke. There was no way to be confident in duplicating a fish that big in the tournament. But from then on we started catching fish. I was flipping a senko under docks and Rick was catching one after another on a Keitech swimbait. By around 2 pm we had filled out a limit of 14.5 lbs. We were happy to find fish we could catch our way and were ready to give the deep stuff a try.
We started scanning the bottom and quickly found a couple spots. We threw Carolina and Alabama rigs, hair jigs, and drop shoted a bit without any luck. We finally started to catch
some fish here and there on a deep diving crankbait. We came into a couple nice bites and with 16.9 lbs we ended the first day of prefishing on Lake June.
The second day we brought the GoPro and got some cool video. We started the day off on the point directly across from the boat ramp throwing a zara spook and a toad. Nothing. Then we moved out to the deeper water to try to figure them out a little better. We spent about an hour fishing with practically every type of lure we could think of but couldn’t get anything going. From there we moved back into the canals and started fishing the ones we had missed the week before. We caught about 9.5lbs but no big bites. Around 11 we were back out looking for more brush piles. We fished the rest of the day and caught two nice 3s to bring our weight to over 14lbs. We wanted to figure out a way to get more bites on the crankbaits though. So we came up for a plan that might allow us to do just that.
The day before the tournament we drove down and got a hotel at the Ramada Inn. We spent a little time on the water but we had a lot to do to get our tackle ready. In order to get the baits down farther and to keep them in the fish’s strike zone longer, we put 20 lb braid on our reels. Not only does the smaller profile of the line allow the bait to get deeper, it also lets you feel everything the bait is doing. We had tried fluorocarbon when prefishing and it just wasn’t the same. We tied 20 fluoro as a leader. We changed reels and respooled a bunch of our equipment in order to get ready for the tournament.
Bay Area Bassmasters – Lake June Tournament – August 13, 2016
The morning of the tournament as we were getting the extension cord rolled up and getting the truck ready we got to meet Fred Haus. It was cool to hear his perspective about the lake as it had supposedly changed a lot sense the last time BAB had fished it. I always enjoy hearing the thoughts of someone who has more experience than I do and I try to take what they say and learn from it. Plus meeting people with the same interests is always nice. Then we were off to the lake.
Now I never met Mr. Bill Polanowski, but from all the pictures and stories that we got to hear about him over the previous month, he really seemed like a great guy who loved to fish. I have to say the first 2 tournaments were a bit rowdy at takeoff but that morning as they called boat number 1 in honor of Mr. Polanowski , there was a moment of silence that was deep and truly peaceful. In my mind, we all can only hope to receive a gesture like that when we leave this world.
From relaxed thought and silence straight to full on, adrenaline filled, 70 mph competition. We were boat 13 and were a little nervous that we wouldn’t get to the couple of canals we wanted to fish first. I passed a couple boats but the majority weren’t headed south. It looked like we were free and clear until we were passed… That always hurts. Darn Mercury… Anyway we made it to the canals and had company but were able to fish where we wanted to.
The plan was to throw Zoom horny toads in the canals first thing and it wasn’t long until we had 3 small keepers in our livewell. The deep water fish were going to be our best bet to have big weight but our thoughts were to get one big bite in the morning or possibly 2 bites that were at least 3 lbs. Sure enough our next 2 fish to fill out our limit were both 3 pounders. We were catching fish pretty regularly and hadn’t had much luck out deep until later in the day while prefishing so we stayed in the canals for a bit and made small upgrades here and there. Just after 10 we made our way out of the shallow water with around 10 pounds in the well.
We were confident we could catch fish offshore but we also know how fishing goes. Sometimes no matter what we you just can’t get them to bite. So we set up on our favorite spot to see what we could do. It is actually more of an area than a spot. We were fishing a couple acre area that started in 17 feet and slowly eased down to 30 feet. We had brush piles marked in the area but also we had caught fish just chasing bait over no bottom structure at all. We would start at one end and throw our crankbaits as we drifted towards the other end. I caught a fish on my first cast. They are so fat out there that even the small ones must weigh 1.5lbs. It was a cull but not what we were looking for. After maybe an hour of catching little ones here and there I finally had a fish on that felt bigger than the others. When it jumped Rick thought it was a 5 pounder so we delicately eased him in trying not to loose him. We lost so many fish in practice on the crankbaits. An 8+ threw my bait about 20 feet in the air when we were trolling. This made us add an extra split ring to the back treble hook on all deep divers. It worked for this fish and although it wasn’t a 5 it was a solid 3 pounder and helped us upgrade over a pound. At one point Rick and I doubled up but Ricks wasn’t big enough to cull and mine threw the hook. It was a nice fish and had we caught it we would have came in a place higher than we ended up. We were having too much fun to let it effect us though. We knew we were going to catch the right fish.
I had our biggest fish hit a couple of drifts later. It hit pretty hard and was heavy but when it jumped I could have sworn it was tiny. I guess I didn’t get a good look at it and I’m glad for that. It was a long fight and was even pulling drag a couple times. Because I had seen the fish I was more confused than nervous of loosing it. As it got closer to the boat reality hit me. This fish is fighting twice as hard as any other fish I had caught that day and it just couldn’t be a little one. It ended up being a 5.3 pounder and our kicker for the day. We were pumped after that fish which you can see in the video. We caught a couple more and really needed one more 3 to get rid of our little fish. We thought we were going to get it too but in the end we lost 2 fish that would have helped.
At the weigh in I was trying not to get too excited but that feeling left when I seen the tournament directors loading their weigh in bag. Every fish looked like a 4 pounder. They weighed 15.71 which I thought we would beat but for the first guys to have that much weight was a bit of a kick in the gut. But as it went on we were super excited to see that our 16.59 held out for 3rd place behind the Mekdeci’s who had won there in the past and Gonzalez and Terkoski who caught a fish bigger than any fish ever weighed in at a BAB tournament according to the website. A 10.37 beast and they beat us by .15 oz.
Next month will be our biggest challenge yet. From past results I can see that a lot of people in the club know how to fish Lake Kissimmee. We have only been on the lake 3 times so we have a lot of catching up to do. We will do our best to figure the fish out, either way it will be a good time.
On a side note….
Rick and I lost our only deep water fish at the Clermont tournament and she was our biggest fish. We hate having a fish die so we did a little research before this tournament. What worked for us was filling the livewell with 20 pounds of ice and the amount of Rejuvenade that our livewell calls for first thing in the morning. Then when we caught our first fish we filled the livewell and plugged it. From that time we didn’t use any new water but just kept the water in the well on recirculate. We also brought two frozen 1 gallon bottles of ice and added one to the well around 1130 and then at 1. It worked really wel for us so give it a try if you are having trouble with fish dying. We got this information from the link below.