“Anyone can be a fisherman in May……”

Vance McCullough

“Anyone can be a fisherman in May.” – Santiago, from Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea

September is a different story. If you can catch them during Florida’s most dismal fishing month, you are an angler through-and-through.

Matt Kasparek caught them.

105 inches of bass.

18 anglers participated in the Kayak Bass Series Qualifier – Kayak Fishing with Christ on Fellsmere Reservoir and the famous Stick Marsh. At stake were 7 invites to fish the KBS Classic (national championship) on Lake Fork, Texas in October. Only 6 guys caught fish. As in, a single fish.

Kasparek caught a handful of them, his best 5 stretched to the aforementioned length. In kayak tournaments, where fish are measured rather than weighed, then photographed and immediately released, 100 inches is a benchmark similar to the 20-pound mark in catch-and-weigh tournaments.

When two-thirds of the field blank, is the lake that bad? Or is fishing just that tough in September?

Fellsmere is widely regarded as Florida’s best up-and-coming lake. Open only to paddle fishing until a boat ramp gets built (scheduled to happen next spring) it has consistently produced quality fishing for those in the know. Anglers have come from at least as far away as Arkansas to fish it.

One of Florida’s top kayak anglers, Tim Beers nodded out across the hydrilla-choked lake and said, “I’ve had over 100 inches for 5 straight months. All out of that lake. And that’s just fishing from 6 A.M. until noon, two or three days a month.”

Beers was speaking of the grueling month-long online tournaments where an angler’s best 5 fish are aggregated.

On this day Beers never got the big bite but turned in a solid performance to qualify for the Classic by placing 4th.

Kaspsarek shared his winning tactic. “All topwater. I always throw topwaters around here.”

Brad Case placed 2ndwith 99.75 inches. He fished near the leader. “I followed him with a swimbait.”

Will Mansfield made a long run. Or actually, a ride. He used a bicycle to transport his kayak miles beyond vehicular access points and launch away from the crowd. It paid off to the tune of 90.75 inches, good for 3rdplace.

Beers held 4thwith 88.75.

Mark Passemato placed among the Top 5 with 85.50 inches.

Scott Seggermann was the only other angler to measure a fish. He too had a 5-fish limit. It totaled 78.25 inches.

While Stick Marsh/Farm 13 is open and fishable, Fellsmere is carpeted nearly wall-to-wall with topped-out hydrilla. Find open holes, throw a topwater lure, and hang on. As the days get shorter and the hydrilla thins, fishing options should expand on this healthy young lake.


Author Vance McCullough is an avid Outdoorsman and Football Coach from Jacksonville, Florida. You can Follow Vance here on Facebook or here on Instagram.