Rodman Reservoir Bass Fishing Trip
On some occasions, waking up early in the morning is a pleasure. You spring out of bed with excitement about what the day is going to bring. As you sip a hot coffee, a cool crisp air hits your face as you step outside. Already you can feel that your Rodman Reservoir bass fishing trip was about to get interesting.
It was time to go, so we climbed into the truck. Still completely dark, we traveled through the long winding north Florida roads. You felt like you were driving through a tunnel with the thick canopy tops overhead. After a short drive, we arrived in a small town. Captain Ken Walker had to make a pit stop.
When it comes to bass fishing on the Rodman Reservoir, the most important ingredient is live bait and more specifically, wild-caught live shiners. Early mornings calls for waiting to get this prized commodity that helps increase your chances of success.
See, I love catching big bass. Every year, I visit the Rodman Reservoir near Palatka, FL to try to break my personal best. Last year, I caught the biggest bass of my life on the reservoir and I was coming back to beat it, and live bait is the way to do so.
Each adventure and experience at this breathtaking fishery is truly unique. This year was even more captivating. The Rodman Reservoir is a must-see fishery for all those that love to catch bass.
December marked the 2nd month of the Rodman Reservoir Drawdown. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to experience. I knew this was a magical time to go fishing but it far exceeded my expectations.
After picking up our wild-caught live shiners, we drove off to the boat ramp. It was part of the Ocklawaha river that was submerged with 10 feet of water before drawdown. Now, it operates as a perfect boat ramp to get into the reservoir.
I climbed aboard Captain Ken’s 21ft Mako. Right after me, Captain David Lang climbed aboard. Just as safe light broke, we were off with a slow pace toward the sunrise. I knew this trip was about to be exhilarating.
Just as the sun peeked through the horizon, we were meandering through the hidden channels in an S formation. This cool morning brought on one of the most amazing sunrises I had ever seen.
It was not long until we arrived at a field of stumps. After soaking our baits on the outside of this field, we entered. These stumps would usually be underwater, but now are providing a safe haven for largemouth bass.
Captain Ken found his spot and we anchored where you could barely see us. Staying quiet, we began fishing. The live bait danced around and found themselves pinned throughout the stumps.
Watching your bait cruise through the stumps was stimulating because you did not know when the fish was going to strike. By far, the best part about fishing the reservoir during drawdown is fishing in the stumps. There is nothing like it!
It was not long until a hungry bass came along to feed during these peak times. One of the major feeds of the day struck and we started putting fish in the boat. I caught a beautiful big bass weighing in at 6 pounds. Shortly after that, I put a 5-pound largemouth in the boat as well.
The day was already a success and we had the whole trip left. Captain David and Ken both started to catch fish. The spot was on fire for several hours of our trip.
After it turned off in the early afternoon, Captain Ken took us to another spot. Deepwater and great structure made for great conditions during this time. We soaked our baits again, waiting patiently for the action to begin.
Just shortly after this, a bass blows up on a shiner. Captain Ken advises to let him take it. After a few moments, Captain Ken says “Reel, Reel, Reel, SET IT!” It was on from there with some hard fights and mouth gaping water thrashing.
That feeling of watching your bait gets blown up on along with watching your line strip off your reel gets my heart pumping. The biggest reason for this is because when you go on a Rodman Reservoir bass fishing trip, you never know what size fish is going to be on the other line.
Whether it is the stumps or open water, the bass love to chase after the bait making the fishing so much more exciting. Even though, some of our fish dug themselves under stumps causing us to break off.
During the drawdown, expect to get hung up and break off because that is just the nature of the beast. It is a factor that makes the trip even more interesting because every fish in the boat is a blessing.
After fishing this open water, we headed back into the stumps for some late afternoon action. Our first spot was taken but Captain Ken always has several options. We found our new spot and made our way to it.
All around us were prime areas to fish. It was not long until the bass started to bite again. Fishing was action-packed the whole trip. Whether it was the fishing, stories, or laughing, being out on the water was incredibly relaxing.
The weather was perfect for a great day on the water as well. Warm sunshine pushed away from the cool air and heated the water temperature. This caused and helped promote such a strong bite.
Between Captain Ken, Captain David, and myself, we put over 20 fish in the boat. It was a lot of fun to learn new techniques, see different areas, and get the full Rodman Reservoir experience on this trip.
I might not have caught another personal best but that fish is going to be hard to beat. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be back up there for prime time, which is January through April. I just have to fish it again and most likely bring along some friends this time.
Bass fishing is a strong passion of mine and I love to pass it on. Getting the opportunity to go out fishing with Bass Online and & iOutdoors Local Experts in north Florida was a true pleasure. Years of professionalism and experience have made them the BEST guides in the business.
When you go out to explore the waters of the reservoir, you have to get out with true experts. They know when, where, and how to fish in this beautiful place. I can personally say myself, after fishing with Captain Ken twice, he’s a true expert when it comes to bass fishing with live bait.
I am beyond thankful for this fishing trip. It will be one I will never forget. I am excited to get back out on the water soon with Captain Ken!
Coming soon is Part 2 about our North Florida Crappie Fishing trip!
Come Visit Gainesville and Catch Yours Today
If you are planning on traveling to north Florida this upcoming winter, bass fishing is a great way to get in the outdoors. This destination is a paradise for freshwater fishing and outdoor adventures. Whether you are looking for your next personal best or just want to catch some big bass, now is the time to do so.
The largemouth bass in the Rodman Reservoir is gorging on food. As a result, they are incredibly healthy and ready to pack a great fight. These fish have small heads and big bodies. It was neat to see how full these fish were. Rodman Reservoir fishing is one thing I look forward to every year!
Rodman Reservoir bass fishing can be the next fishing adventure you will never forget. We hope that during the drawdown that you get the chance to explore the waters. Bass fishing is about to get really good and spots book up fast!
See you on the water next time!!
If you enjoyed this post with our Local Experts, you might also enjoy this fishing report from the same area.
About Capt Kenneth Walker is a Air Force Veteran, Father, grandfather, and retired firefighter paramedic. A Florida Native Kenneth grew up in Gainesville and has fished the local waterways since the age of 3. Now he is sharing those experiences with you on his exclusive fishing guide trips.