Tampa Bay juniors win at Harris Chain

LEESBURG, Fla. — No risk, no reward.

That mantra paid big dividends for Dominick Andux and Peyton Faber of the Tampa Junior Bass Club, who sacked up a five-bass limit of 15 pounds to win the Bassmaster Junior Series at Harris Chain of Lakes.

Andux and Faber edged Wyatt North and Wylie North of the Marion County High School Bassmasters by 11 ounces. Making the hour and 45-minute run down to Lake Apopka, the winners knew they would sacrifice a lot of fishing time. However, the southernmost limit of the Harris Chain boasts a reputation for productivity that was too much to resist.

“There were limits, there were big fish, there was everything,” Andux said of Apopka’s opportunity. “It was very much a calculated risk. We only had about four hours to fish. We were pushing it on the way back.”

Faber said he and Andux targeted hydrilla in about 5 feet of water. Their area had a mix of prespawners and unseen bed fish.

“We caught our fish on 3/8-ounce Z-Man ChatterBait JackHammers with Yamamoto Zako trailers and Texas-rigged Zoom Speed Worms with a 3/16-ounce weight. Methodically working these baits through the shallow grass was the key to

“The bladed jig produced the biggest bites,” Andux said. “It only took five minutes and (Faber) banged a 4 1/2-pounder on the ChatterBait. We were happy, but we knew we had to catch more.”

Faber said he and Andux paid close attention to their presentations because tempting bites required them to maintain the right speed and depth. Snagging baits in shallow grass and snapping them free often triggers bass, but overdoing it can repel fickle spring fish.

“You definitely wanted to keep it slow, but not too slow,” Faber said. “You didn’t want to be ripping it too much.”

The tournament was being hosted by Visit Lake, the City of Leesburg and the Greater Orlando Sports Commission.