Big bass from the back deck

Double digit bass are always a possibility in Florida tournaments; and while the Bassmaster Southern Open at the Harris Chain may yet see a 10-plus pounder, co-angler Charles Crumpton of Ocklawaha, Fla. came close with a 9-1 that almost certainly would have blown past the one zero just a few days ago.

Like many bass in this 8-lake chain, Crumpton’s tank — currently the event’s biggest — was “spawned out,” which left its massive head seemingly mismatched to a slender body. Crumpton’s personal best was 12-2 and he’s pretty sure today’s big fish was pretty close to that mark when she first moved up to spawn.

Even in its slender form, Crumpton’s fish displayed the cagey spirit for which these fish are known. 

“There was a clump of hydrilla in 4 feet with a little stick so threw right by that stick and she ate it,” he said. “It was amazing I actually got the fish out because she wrapped all around that stick. At that time, didn’t realize how big it was.”

Crumpton said he caught his fish on a Junebug Speed Worm. Even though this bait’s often fished at a peppy pace, he believes a glacial presentation was the key — particularly with a cold front arriving on Day 1. 

“Most people don’t fish a Speed Worm the way I do; I let it soak quite a bit,” Crumpton said. “I’ve lived in Florida all my life and I know what these cold fronts do to them.”