Capt. Ethan Hamrick
Call or Text 727-242-1672

Hello fellow fishermen! This past weekend, I was able to spend a few days bass fishing Lake Buffum, the lake my grandmom lives on. The weather was a little cooler than what we’re used to here in central Florida and there was the feeling of fall in the air. The first couple days I was there, I caught quite a few bass on a white spinnerbait around grass and boat docks, however nothing bigger than three pounds. A slight cold front came through toward the end of the trip and the bite slowed tremendously. The wind picked up and the clouds rolled in, hiding the sun. It was a struggle to get five bites in one outing. The baits I’d been catching them on were not producing anymore, so I made an adjustment that proved to be the turning point of the weekend. During the final afternoon of the trip, I had been skipping docks with a swim jig and wacky rig, but without success. I decided that because of all the wind and chop on the water, I would tie on a chatterbait. The blade on the lure creates a large amount of vibration, allowing fish to home in on a chatterbait better than a more subtle jig or worm in rough conditions. I rigged the green pumpkin colored chatterbait with a small swimbait trailer to add bulk and action to the lure. The second dock I skipped the bait under, I caught a two pounder and a six pounder on back to back casts. That told me I needed to throw the chatterbait the rest of the trip. The bite was still slow, but I ended up catching three more nice fish on the lure before the afternoon was over.

The following morning was the final day of my visit to Lake Buffum. I spent the early part of the day throwing a topwater walking bait around grass and seawalls but only caught one bass after two hours of fishing. I abandoned that technique and went to fish docks the remainder of the morning. I rotated between a green pumpkin and white colored chatterbait, skipping one of the two lures under each dock I passed. Two hours went by and I’d caught just two decent fish on the green pumpkin chatterbait, so I relocated to another row of docks not far away. I was nearing the end of the row when I skipped the white chatterbait underneath a dock with PVC around it. The lure hit the bottom and I began slowly retrieving it. Just seconds later, a felt a super light tap and set the hook. The bite was so subtle, and the fish came right to me after I’d set the hook, so I was not expecting a very large fish to emerge. However, when the bass neared the surface right beside the boat, the fish revealed how big it actually was. I quickly yelled for my grandmom, who was in the boat with me at the time, to grab the net. Within just a few seconds, the bass broke the surface and grandmom reached down to scope up the fish. When the bass hit the deck, I let out a shout of excitement and immediately thought it was a ten pounder. The fish had a huge head, bulging eyes and was very fat. However, the bass wasn’t overly long, measuring 24 inches. The scales read only 9.17 pounds, which is still a giant bass and my new PB (personal best). I gently placed the fish in the livewell until pictures were taken. It took me a few minutes to calm down after I caught that fish. Then I was back to skipping docks with the chatterbait. I moved again to fish a different row of docks a short distance away. Not even thirty minutes after landing the first huge bass, I came to the final dock in the row. I pitched the white chatterbait beneath the structure and began retrieving the lure slowly through the pilings. Suddenly, a fish slammed the bait and I set the hook hard. This fish didn’t give at all when I first set into it, so I knew it was big. The bass quickly came to the surface, revealing that it was another giant. The fish swam toward the bow of the boat, violently shaking its huge head in the process. Grandmom again grabbed the net as I carefully worked the bass around the front of the boat. When the fish came back to the top, she placed the net under it and brought the bass aboard. I was astonished at what had just happened over the last half hour. It’s difficult enough to catch one giant bass, but to have landed two in the same morning was incredible. The second fish weighed just under 9 pounds. I placed it in the other livewell on the boat until we could get a picture of the pair of monster fish together. Both bass had struck a white chatterbait paired with a white swimbait trailer. Both fish had come from under docks and both weighed right around 9 pounds. In just two casts, I’d caught 18 pounds of bass! Grandmom and I were truly amazed. I fished just a few more minutes that morning before we headed in to take pictures of the fish. I didn’t want to keep the beautiful bass out of their habitat for too long, for fear that they could die. After several photos were taken and both bass were weighed a second time just for good measure, I rode back out into the lake to release the huge pair of fish. I couldn’t have ended the trip any better than that. I only caught five bass that final morning, but together, they weighed a total of over 26 pounds, my best five basss limit on Lake Buffum to date.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my latest big bass adventure. If you’re on the water this fall, consider the conditions and make adjustments when needed in order make the most of your time on the water and catch more fish. Happy fishing and keep your hooks wet!

A few pictures of the bass I caught at the beginning of the trip.

The pair of 9 pounders, both caught on a white chatterbait.
This is the exact Z-Man chatterbait rigged with a swimbait trailer that I caught both 9 pounders on. 
A quick video of the two giant bass.

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