(3.1) FISH and/or FISHING - 33 Years of Buzzbaits and Spinnerbaits for River Bass Fishing

33 Years of Buzzbaits and Spinnerbaits for River Bass Fishing 
From a Canoe (or Bank-Walking and Wading)





Largemouth bass caught on a buzzbait from the Ocklawaha River, Florida


An Information, Opinion, & Photos Report
Compiled by Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca
Article Originally Posted to Internet:  01 November 2010
Created:  06 April 2015
Last Revised:  05 July 2019


NOTE: Click-on individual photos to enlarge them!

Ocklawahaman in 1966 with a largemouth bass caught on a plastic worm from a St. Petersburg, Florida man-made pond


54 YEARS AGO! It was the mid 1960’s. My older brother had already been called away a year or so before by President LBJ -- Allen did come back home OK later. Los Angeles Dodgers #53 Don Drysdale was my choice on any given day to pitch the most important Major League baseball game. LBJ lived in the White House but NIXON was lurking for that job again! So a politically-inspired boondoggle project known as the Cross Florida Barge Canal -- which planning studies calculated would make NO cents -- was already decimating parts of Florida’s beautiful and historic Ocklawaha River Valley.


My date with Uncle Sam was years in the future (and after my time for Dixie). I was just a skinny kid saltwater fishing with natural baits on the Pinellas County coast, sometimes getting there by bicycle or on a city bus. Then I heard-tell that the man-made ponds scattered around my parents’ north St. Petersburg, Florida home had largemouth bass in them that could be caught from the bank on rubber worms. So after enough lawn mowing jobs for pay were completed, I bought a Garcia Mitchell 300 open-face along with a medium spinning rod plus some 8-cent each plastic worms from an Eckerd drug store (10-pound mono, weed-less hooks and split-shot sinkers, too). This was the crude start of my bass fishing addiction. I learned to reel-in those worms VERY SLOWLY -- like molasses moves in wintertime, ha! This was agonizingly SLOW (for me) fishing but my plastic-worm-caught trophy largemouth bass from that era was 23 inches long and reigned as my record lunker for a couple of decades.


Ocklawahaman in 1966 with a largemouth bass caught on a plastic worm from a St. Petersburg, Florida man-made pond


Although I used plastic worms for my 1960's bass fishing most all of the time, I did experiment once in a while with using the 1/4-ounce Abu-Reflex and Shyster in-line spinners of that era as my alternate lures of choice. Although prone to snagging on submerged branches or weeds, the treble-hooked spinners allowed me to explore lots of open water for active fish in a short amount of time. I did have good success with these lures for bass, bream and crappie (speckled perch) in the still-water ponds. And it was valuable experimentation and training for my future angling expeditions upon the moving-waters of creeks and rivers while seeking bass, bream, and coldwater trout by casting similar artificial lures.

 

Then in 1973, I was able to move to the Ocklawaha River Basin and Ocala National Forest area of north-central Florida. Experiencing the myriad natural lakes along with the several flowing streams of this Big Scrub region of Lake, Marion and Putnam counties would be a dream come true for many anglers. But up until 1980, my overtime-demanding job and family situation left me precious little outdoors time. My fishing days in a 10-foot jonboat with a bum 3-horse (I paddled most of the time) were few and far between -- I ended up selling that angling vessel of mine.

 

By 1980, however, I had managed more off-duty time and bought my first canoe thus enabling the birth of this paddling Ocklawaha river-man. I developed an infatuation for using a Garcia Mitchell 308 ultra-light (UL) open-face outfit with 6-pound line and safety-pin-type 1/8th or 1/16th ounce Beetle-Spin lures in the tree-shaded river’s cool current mostly for tasty bream (i.e., bluegill, redbreast, stumpknocker and warmouth) along with many small but feisty largemouth bass. This was more satisfying to me, most of the time, than fishing those plastic worms SLOWLY in the non-shaded (for me in a canoe), warm, still-water lakes of the Big Scrub for their usually larger bass -- which I also still did on some days. Occasionally, though, even these Ocklawaha Beetle-Spin-caught bass were bigger than a UL could handle without breakage in the river’s strong current and wood structure.


In 1986 I started experimenting again by fishing various Southern streams targeting mostly only BASS now and using 1/8th ounce buzzbaits and spinnerbaits for lures on Shimano -- those quality Garcia Mitchell reels had gone extinct -- UL spinning tackle with 8 to 10-pound mono. The river bass responded well to my equipment advances and seemed to be getting bigger and stronger, along with their rock and wood ambush structure plus the stream velocity! So accordingly, I eventually caved-in and upgraded to 1/4 ounce buzzbaits and spinnerbaits on more medium-sized Shimano spinning tackle spooled with 12 or 15-pound mono line which became -- and still is -- my bass fishing comfort zone. Since 1986, I've very rarely used plastic worms or any other lures -- besides buzzbaits and spinnerbaits -- during any of my bass fishing trips, even when I’m forced to fish a non-flowing canal, lake or pond!


OH, and by the decade of the 1990's (and briefly beyond) Atlanta Braves #29 John Smoltz was my choice on any given day to pitch the most important Major League baseball game!



Largemouth bass from a Big Scrub (Ocala National Forest) prairie pond caught on a plastic worm

 

My 33 years since of river bass fishing with buzzbaits and spinnerbaits from a man-powered canoe (or bank-walking and wading when advantageous or necessary) has taken place on many different north Florida segments of free-flowing rivers and creeks plus also a few streams in other parts of the South (e.g., Georgia, Virginia and Oklahoma). It is my favorite outdoor pursuit and ranks among my Top-5 interests in life, for- trueI've caught river largemouth bass up to 25 inches long, smallmouth bass up to 19 inches, shoal bass up to 18 inches, spotted bass up to 17 inches, Suwannee bass up to 16 inches, striped bass up to over 32 inches and white bass up to 17 inches -- all while employing the same general techniques for fishing moving water that I also use for mountain-trout angling (brook, brown and rainbow trout [up to 19 inches]) using 1/8th ounce Rooster-Tail in-line spinner lures in the coldwater streams of Dixie's Blue Ridge Mountains.



My mounted buzzbait-caught largemouth bass and spinnerbait-caught striped bass


Largemouth bass caught on a spinnerbait from a Florida river


Smallmouth bass caught on a buzzbait from the Blue River, Oklahoma


Shoal bass caught on a buzzbait from the Chipola River, Florida


Spotted bass caught on a buzzbait from the Chestatee River, Georgia


Suwannee bass caught on a spinnerbait from the Ochlockonee River, Florida

Striped bass caught on a spinnerbait from the Little (Ochlockonee) River, Florida

Striped bass caught on a spinnerbait from the Little (Ochlockonee) River, Florida


White bass caught on a spinnerbait from the Ochlockonee River, Florida

Largemouth bass caught on a buzzbait from the St. Johns River, Florida


Largemouth bass caught on a spinnerbait from the Ochlockonee River, Florida


Largemouth bass caught on a buzzbait from the Ocklawaha River, Florida

Largemouth bass caught on a spinnerbait from the Ocklawaha River, Florida


The tree-shaded, spring-fed, swift-flowing middle Ocklawaha River

Largemouth bass caught on a buzzbait from the Ocklawaha River, Florida

Captain Erika fishing the middle Ocklawaha River


Largemouth bass caught on a buzzbait from the Ocklawaha River, Florida

 

Fisheries biologists back in 1961 determined that only two river systems in Florida contained native naturally reproducing populations of striped bass (Morone saxatilis): the Apalachicola-Chipola (northwest FL) and the St. Johns-Ocklawaha (northeast FL). Adult Stripers in Florida are a riverine fish requiring 75-80 degree F cool-water refuges in the summer for survival and about 50 continuous miles of swift current in the late winter/early spring for successful spawning. Rodman Dam has stopped the natural reproduction of striped bass because there are no longer enough miles of suitable stream left in the entire St. Johns River Basin (whose longest tributary is the Ocklawaha). Non-hatchery-raised, stream-bred stripers should not be allowed to be extinct where they were Florida natives in modern times. 


Largemouth bass caught on a buzzbait from the Ocklawaha River by Captain Erika


Largemouth bass caught on a buzzbait from the Ocklawaha River, Florida


Largemouth bass caught on a buzzbait from the Ocklawaha River, Florida

Largemouth bass caught on a spinnerbait from the Ocklawaha River, Florida

Rainbow trout 
caught on 1/8th-ounce Rooster-Tail in-line spinners from cold-water streams of the Blue Ridge Mountains 


And black crappie (speckled perch), channel catfish, and white catfish also can be caught on spinnerbaits from rivers!

Black crappie (speckled perch)

Channel catfish

White catfish


I hope that you enjoy your BY-GOD free-flowing creeks, rivers, and streams.

There are many man-made canals, lakes, and ponds but I can't think of any flowing streams originally created by man 

that I would want to fish!


Sincerely,

Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca



The tree-shaded, spring-fed, swift-flowing middle Ocklawaha River



"There are lake fishermen, and there are river fishermen, and seldom do the twain agree!" 

- Original author unknown




Also visit:


https://sites.google.com/site/paulnoscasbassfishingphotos/bass-fishing-the-real-florida-our-natural-by-god-free-flowing-rivers-and-creeks


https://sites.google.com/site/paulnoscasbassfishingphotos/does-the-moon-influence-bass-feeding-activity-even-in-a-flowing-stream


https://sites.google.com/site/ocklawahamanpaulnoscareports/largemouth-bass-of-the-ocklawaha-river


https://sites.google.com/site/ocklawahamanpaulnoscareports/striped-bass-of-the-ocklawaha-river-florida




REFERENCE AS:  Nosca, P. 2019. "33 Years of buzzbaits and spinnerbaits for river bass fishing from a canoe or bank-walking and wading" webpage report. "Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca reports" website. Paul Nosca, Eureka, FL.


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