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

Outcasts Tournament: Lake June in Winter (July 2020)

Two weekends ago, my grandpa and I competed in our 8th bass tournament of the season. The tournament was held on Lake June, located in Lake Placid, Florida. Lake June is a sizable body of water made up of around 3,739 acres and is the third largest lake in Highlands County.

Practice Day

My grandpa and I headed down to the lake a day before the tournament to pre-fish the unfamiliar fishery. We spent the early part of the morning in a canal system on the north end of the lake. There, we caught several bass but all of them were small.

Around 11am, the two of us headed back out into the main lake, where we fished boat docks for about an hour. I caught a couple more small fish skipping a wacky rigged senko under the structures. At noon, we took a lunch break and thought of a plan for that afternoon.

We decided to try deep water fishing for a little while. After lunch, we stopped at a real deep primary point not far from the boat ramp. Within five minutes of fishing in that area, my grandpa hung into a large bass on a flutter spoon. The fish came to the surface as my grandpa battled it to the boat. I netted the bass and brought it aboard. The fish weighed 5.40 pounds and gave the two of us confidence that we could catch fish in deep water the following day.

My grandpa and I spent the remainder of the afternoon fishing canals and docks. I caught three more decent bass under docks on the north end of the lake before we called it a day and headed back to the launch. We’d had a fairly successful practice and had what we thought was a solid game plan going into the following day’s competition.

Lake June Practice Bass

Tournament Day

The next morning, my grandpa and I were one of the first boats to take off. We headed straight to the point where he’d caught the five pounder a day earlier. My grandpa threw a flutter spoon, while I tossed a chatterbait around. We were fishing water nearly twenty feet deep, so we would allow our lures to flutter to the bottom before starting to retrieve them.

We’d fished the point for almost two hours without a bite and were considering moving to another spot when my grandpa hooked into a giant fish. He reeled fast to keep up with the bass, as it quickly swam toward the boat. As it neared the boat, the bass came to the surface and leapt out of the water, shaking it huge head. I readied the net as the bass took another hard run in attempt to break free. Fortunately, the bass stayed hooked and just seconds later, it appeared beside the boat. I reached down, scooped the giant fish into the net and lifted it into the boat. My grandpa and I were both ecstatic. The bass weighed a little more than eight pounds and was a huge confidence builder for us.

We continued to fish the point for the next hour and a half, hoping for another big bite. Unfortunately, it never happened, so we finally decided to head to the north end of the lake to fish boat docks the rest of the morning. For three hours I skipped a wacky rigged senko under each dock we passed, while grandpa tossed a chatterbait around the structures. I caught only one small keeper fish in that amount of time. I also had two fish come off right at the boat. Those two bass would end up being crucial loses and eventually costing us the tournament because we never got another bite after that.

Weigh in was scheduled for 3pm, however, we had to end our day early due to a bad thunderstorm close by. In our worse showing of the year thus far, my grandpa and I weighed in only two bass. Everyone else had also had an extremely tough day, so we still finished in 4th place and won big fish of the tournament with my grandpa’s 8.03 pounder. We finished less than two pounds behind the winners.

 It was a disappointing tournament for my grandpa and I, especially since we’d located some fish the day before and started the day with an eight pounder. We thought were going to have a great day, but that wasn’t the case.

What Worked

We caught ten bass during our practice day on Lake June, but only managed to land two on tournament day. We caught most of our fish on a green pumpkin colored wacky rigged Yum Dinger senko, while a couple bass came on a Strike King Swim Jig. Our largest fish were caught on a 5-inch Nichols Flutter Spoon.

yum dinger worm
Yum Dinger Worm
Strike King Swim Jig
Nichols Flutter Spoon

We caught fish under boat docks on the senko and a couple around lily pads with the swim jig. The two biggest fish were caught offshore in about twenty feet of water with the flutter spoon. 

What Didn’t Work

My grandpa and I spent most of the tournament day fishing docks, where we thought we could finish out our limit. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out as planned and it resulted in us only catching two fish. However, that was the most consistent pattern we’d discovered in practice and didn’t know what else to try. Ever though there weren’t a ton of bass on that offshore point, we probably should’ve spent more time fishing it throughout the tournament. Had we caught just one more decent fish there, we might have had enough weight to win.

Nonetheless, all anglers are going to have bad days fishing from time to time. It’s just part of the sport. Despite our tough day, my grandpa and I are still leading the way in the Outcasts Bass Club team of the year points standings. With just two tournaments left during the regular season, we’re going to do our best to maintain that lead.

Back to You

Thank you for reading about our latest bass tournament. I hope it helps you see that all anglers have slow days on the water. So, don’t let one bad day discourage you from going back out and trying again.

As always, happy fishing and keep your hooks wet!


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