Surrendering Huge Bass

Lake Toho Surrendering Huge Bass
by Don Wilson

When Kevin Moran and fishing buddy Rob Baker decided to leave Louisville for a week's fishing vacation on Lake Tohopekaliga, Moran had no great expectations.Baker had been fishing the Kissimmee Chain for several years, coming back with tales of catching 11- and 12-pound fish.

Moran wasn't expected to equal such feats. If anything, all he wanted to do was catch a largemouth bass that weighed more than the five pounds -- his personal best. Moran didn't break that record . . . he demolished it.

Moran and Baker with 2 fish weighing in at 21 pounds plus just after 45 minutes of fishing with Eddie Bussard of Bass Challenger Guide service on Lake Toho in FloridaFishing Monday with Bass Challengers Guide Service's Eddie Bussard, Moran caught two bass with a total weight of 21-plus pounds -- in just 45 minutes. His feat probably insures Moran will be a legend around Richardson's Fish Camp for years. The day's fishing started fairly routinely but didn't remain so for long. "Kevin caught the first fish -- a five-pounder -- at 7 o'clock. Then at 7:30, he caught the 10-5," Baker said.

Bussard produced a pair of digital hand-held scales and weighed the fish. Moran gulped.

" I knew it was a big fish, but I thought it weighed around eight pounds," Moran said. " When I read the scales, I thought . . . no way!" For the next 45 minutes, Baker said, the pair caught five-, six- and seven-pound fish with almost assembly-line regularity.

Then Moran met Jaws. " At first, I thought it was another six-pounder. It pushed up the bait, blew up on it behind the bobber, and I didn't get a good look," Moran said." Actually, the 10-pounder felt twice the size of the bigger one."

Then the fish went airborne in a series of acrobatic maneuvers trying to dislodge the hook. Moran knew then it was no six-pounder. Most anglers faced with a bass that large would become excited.

Not Moran. " That fish came up and just danced across the water. They both danced," he said. Bussard was impressed.

" He was really kind of cool, calm and collected," he said. "But he fishes a catfish tournament trail in Kentucky and is used to big fish." The guide produced the scales and weighed the fish: 11 pounds, 2 ounces. After posing for some quick pictures by Kissimmee photographer Gary Clark, Moran released the fish.

Fish camp owner Dwight Richardson was impressed by Moran's catch. " We see a lot of big fish. Fred Varner had two nines this morning, but two fish that size, caught in 45 minutes, not real common," he said.

"But the bass have been jumping in the boat this week. One of our guides, Jerry Kipp, had 21 bass to six pounds on a half-day trip." Bussard said the fishing has been exceptional.

"I have had the best two months I've ever seen on this lake. I've probably had seven trips in the past two months where we had more than 10 fish that weighed more than five pounds," he said.

He is fishing open-water hydrilla clumps in an area where the lake is 8 feet deep.

"The big females are staging up there before they go in shallow to spawn, then stopping there again after they've spawned," Bussard said. "We're catching them coming and going."

As remarkable as the day's catch was, it was not Bussard's best on the lake. " A year ago May, I had a guy who caught a 10-2, 11-7 and 11-11 in 45 minutes on a buzz bait," he said.

But not everyone fishing Lake Toho is happy with the bass bonanza.

"I've got speck [black crappie] fishermen who are trying to catch specks but keep getting bass that they don't want," Richardson said.

For Bussard, the fishing couldn't be any better." I think the lake is just at its peak," he said. "During the past year, it's produced the best fishing I've ever seen.

"Last June I caught a 12-9 that is my personal best."
Don Wilson can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Copyright (c) 2003, Orlando Sentinel


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Sanford FloridaSanford is more than a city rich in Florida history. It is a city where everyone feels like they belong and the spirit of Southern hospitality is experienced on every street corner. Take the time to stroll the residential streets that are lined with beautiful city parks and hundreds of turn of the century homes, adorned with hundred year old oaks that whisper the secrets of the past.

Historic Downtown SanfordExperience the rich history and the revitalized businesses that provide a number of special things to do in Historic Sanford. At one moment you will be immersed in the history of the steamboat days and in the next moment transported to a vibrant small town filled with antique shops, a flourishing arts district and unique restaurants. Spend an afternoon in this downtown setting with brick streets, restored buildings and sidewalk cafes. Browse for that one of a kind treasure or enjoy the arts and create a memory that will travel with you.

We invite you to our wonderful city to savor our history and pride in our past. Make Sanford your next destination in Central Florida!

This little town always has something going on! Events like "Sanford Alive After 5" to additional events in the Historic District.

What to see what in and around Sanford? Here is a link to an interactive map that will help you find what ever you need. Map


Comfort Inn & Suites


Comfort Inn & Suites in Sanford FL .
Bass Challenger clients stay for just $85.00 per night. They are located at 590 Ava Ct., Sanford, FL 32771 Phone: Sandra Luquis (407) 585-1582 Website:


Sanford International AirportOrlando Sanford International Airport: Orlando Sanford International Airport boasts the finest leisure passenger facilities in the United States. The airport is conveniently located within the boundaries of the City of Sanford, in the northwestern section of beautiful Seminole County, Florida, 18 miles northeast of Orlando, Florida. SFB provides its customers with convenient, state-of-the-art facilities and excellent highway access to Florida's renowned beaches and all Orlando area attractions. More Info

Central Florida Zoo and Botanical GardensCentral Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, a relaxing, entertaining and educational experience for the entire family. The Central Florida Zoological Park is dedicated to preserving the beauty and wonder of animals and their habitats. We are committed to sharing our knowledge, engaging visitors, and celebrating our natural world. More Info


Monroe Harbour MarinaMonroe Harbour Marina on Lake Monroe is part of the St. Johns River. Ashore, Historic Downtown Sanford with its shops and historic buildings are a few blocks away. Sanford's RiverWalk, meanders along the lakeshore on both sides of the marina. Developers are also continuing with the construction of magnificent waterfront town homes and condominiums and brightly painted riverfront shops and restaurants. Our central location also means easy access to the Orlando area's world famous attractions, as well to Daytona and the beaches. Monroe Harbour Marina is the first to become Florida's marine facility to achieve Clean Marina, Clean Boatyard and Clean Retailer designations! This is an accomplishment that makes us proud. More Info

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