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What's biting: Move to Florida results in some great catches

What's biting: Move to Florida results in some great catches

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WINTERHAVEN, FLA. - Bill Anderson was strictly a pheasant hunter when he was a government official in McLean County.

Fishing? No way. But, that's changed since he retired from public life and headed south to Florida. This guy is hooked on largemouth bass after spending a day with guide Bill Whiting on Chain of Lakes near Winterhaven, Fla., not so long ago.

Anderson caught an 8-pound bass, two 5-pound bass, several more that weighed 3- and 4 pounds each and several smaller ones.

"I've never caught anything close to that. We had triples twice!" exclaimed Anderson, who was county coroner from 1972-1992 and a member of the County Board from 1994 to 2000.

Not one of the fish needed a post mortem. All were released unharmed.

"I think he liked it," joked Whiting, 70, who caught a 15-pound bass, his personal best, on Feb. 22. Three days later, he caught a 14 pound, 6 ounce bass.

Anderson and Whiting, who has relatives in the Twin Cities, fished with big shiners under floats suspended about 3 feet down over 7- to 8 feet of water along weed edges. Whiting also likes to use his sonar unit to follow the edges of submerged weed edges to troll shiners slowly along with his electric motor. There's no weight attached, simply a 3/0 or 4/0 hook.

Odds of a big fish over 10 pounds are best through May.

Don't book Whiting if you want to take a fish home. All fish stay in the lake. He urges clients to get a graphite replica instead.

Contact him at (888) 414-8245 or visit

Chain of Lakes Bait and Tackle can be reached at (863) 439-3885.

New features

The Pantagraph has launched new on-line features. Read past columns and fishing reports or comment on topics at E-mail fish photos to We'll post some online and we may print some in the paper.

What's biting

Crappie - Good at Shelbyville, Evergreen. Fair to good at Shabbona. Fair at Lake Bloomington, Clinton.

Saugeye - Fair at Evergreen.

Sauger n Fair at Starved Rock.

Walleye - Fair at Shelbyville on the lake, good in the spillway. Fair to good at Clinton.

Largemouth bass - Excellent at Sangchris. Very good at Shabbona, Dawson, Weldon Springs, Spring Lake. Fair at Shelbyville, Clinton, Lake Bloomington, Evergreen, Decatur.

Smallmouth bass n Good at Powerton.

Striped bass - Fair at Clinton, good downstream from Lake Decatur.

White bass n Very good in the feeder creeks at Shelbyville. Good at Clinton, Illinois River, Decatur.

Catfish - Good at Clinton, LaSalle, Sangchris. Powerton. Fair at Illinois River, Lake Bloomington.

Muskies - Fair at Evergreen.

Bluegills —Good at Sangchris, LaSalle, Spring Lake, Banner Marsh.

Got a fish story, a hot spot, big fish or lots of them? Something funny happen? Phone Pantagraph outdoor editor Scott Richardson at (309) 820-3227 or e-mail


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