Citrus County has been a fisherman's haven for an awfully long time. I was lucky to stumble upon it when I first came to the area back in the late '80s and landed near Inverness.
Needing work, I promptly landed a job at the now defunct Happy's Bait and Tackle. It would prove to be a real blessing in my life, because little did I know, I was now residing in bass fishing nirvana. I would not only find fish, but a new occupation as well.
Working at Happy's was a valuable source of information because I ran into so many different fishermen, including the Captains who guided professionally in the area. I also saw the results of those trips, snapping many Polaroids of 10-plus pound bass their customers caught. I was envious and wanted to put a trophy 10-pound bass on my wall! 

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But it would take time.
I met a guy named John while working at Happy's who invited me out bass fishing. He had a little10-foot jon boat rigged with an 8-horse Mercury and a trolling motor, perfect gear for the beginning bass fisherman. John told me that he had a hot spot over near Croft Lake so we met early the next morning, gathered up a couple dozen shiners, and headed off on what was my first bass fishing trip in Florida. I was like a kid ready to walk into his first candy store.
We headed out on Lake Hernando the next morning and worked our way over to Croft Lake. I was amazed at all of the different vegetation that grew in and near the water. It was totally different than the lakes I grew up with in Michigan. 
We fished in a cove that was loaded with Lilly pads, keeping our corked baits right along the edge of the pad line. We were in four-to 5 feet of water and the first bait hadn't been in the water but for a minute or two and the cork disappeared under a huge wave created by the big bass that was chasing down the shiner. I helped John land the big bass, which weighed 8 pounds. I was amazed and I was hooked. I also would land an eight-pounder that day and it would be the first of many large bass I've caught over the years.
Little did I know that catching large bass would become an obsession for the remainder of my life. 
It would take a few years before I landed that coveted 10-pound bass, but when the time came I was ready.
I was working for the Tampa Tribune and had purchased a new 14-foot Lowes bass boat. I was on Floral City Lake and had been catching a number of smaller sized bass when I decided to move one last time before heading in. Well, it was the correct move to make because before I knew it I was lipping that 10-pound bass.
I had that bass mounted and as any fisherman knows, I'm now looking for an ever bigger one!

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