Flip through Joshua Weaver’s stat sheet and you’d quickly get the vibe that he is a Florida native based on his career performance in the Sunshine State – both as a pro and co-angler. Although he calls Macon, Ga., home, Weaver has a knack for catching bass in Florida. In just his third year on the FLW Tour he already holds three top 10s – one of which came last year on the Harris Chain.
Being that Weaver and Florida go together like peanut butter and jelly it only seems fitting to jump in the boat with him as he prepares for round two of the Harris Chain this week in the second stop of the Tour, which is presented by Lowrance.
The second day of practice starts off at the boat ramp on Lake Eustis around 6:30 a.m. As I pull up, Josh and his brother, Daniel, are prepping the boat and loading rods. I load my gear and in no time they have the Ranger in the water.
Weaver’s plan for the day is to check some stretches of shoreline and canals that he caught some keeper fish from last year, so we ease out of the ramp and make a short run toward a canal.
It is a still, mild morning on the lake and Weaver wastes no time grabbing a buzzbait and getting to work. This particular canal held some keepers last year, Weaver recalls, and he wants to give it a quick look before moving on.
The canal looks super bass-y. From docks to lily pads and Kissimmee grass, it seems like there is no way there couldn’t be a bass in there. Unfortunately, after spending about 20 minutes working down the canal, not a bass has been caught and it’s time to roll.
We make another short run to a bank lined with Kissimmee grass and docks – which is what much of Lake Eustis consists of. The brothers get right back to work. Daniel is fishing as a co-angler on Tour this year, so the brothers get to spend more time together on the water and they are a fluid team. Josh covers the outer edge of the grass, while Daniel works deeper into the grass.
“It’s really nice having Daniel in the boat for practice this year,” Josh explains. “He can throw one thing and I can throw something else. It is even better here in Florida because you have a lot of big flats where you might want to throw a vibrating jig, a lipless crankbait or a Senko. With the two of us we can cover water more efficiently.”
While working down the bank, the brothers notice lots of bait flicking around on the surface and occasionally fish busting on them. Josh takes a moment to cut off the buzzbait and tie on a popping frog. With the frog in hand, he’s back on the trolling motor covering water.
After fishing a couple hundred yards down the bank, fish are still busting on bait but the brothers still have yet to connect. Josh takes another timeout to tie on a spinnerbait and a topwater popper before he’s back working the edge of the Kissimmee grass.
Once again, another hundred yards or more has been worked with nothing to show so it is time to make a move.
By now the sun is easing up and it is starting to warm up. We are working our way to a canal that Josh is almost certain he will get bit in.
After arriving to the canal, Josh grabs a lighter Texas rig and begins flipping to bushes and docks. It takes all of five minutes for him to finally get bit. It’s no monster, but he is pretty happy to finally flip one aboard his Ranger.
As he works deeper into the canal he keeps a flipping rod handy. After noticing a bass that busted the surface near some grass, Josh suspects that it might be on a bed. He makes a flip to it, hops the bait a few times and finally the buck bites.
“Look how weird this fish is,” Josh says. “It doesn’t have a dorsal fin. I’ve never seen that before. That’s pretty cool.”
Josh continues flipping down the canal with another small bite to show for it, so he decides it is time to make another move.
Daniel hasn’t caught a fish yet and says he needs to take a minute to regroup. Nothing a little social media on your phone can’t fix.
While running to the next spot, Josh sets down after noticing something on his graph. He idles around for a minute before getting up to fire some casts at a small drop with some hydrilla on it.
It takes about two casts for Josh to hook up on a crankbait. It is a chunky keeper and maybe the biggest of the day so far. The spot looks prime and could be a sleeper place to catch a nice limit. Both Weavers seem very interested in it.
Despite some very thorough prospecting, not another bass is caught. Time to head back to the ramp to change lakes.
As we work back to the ramp I notice that both Weavers are fairly organized with their rods. Daniel is a tad messier, though it is tough to keep rods straight on the passenger side of a boat. Meanwhile, the front deck looks neat and clean – almost like you’d see on Bryan Thrift’s front deck.
After Daniel jumps on the dock to retrieve the truck, Josh decides it is sandwich time.
“I suppose I’ll be a good big brother and make one for Daniel while I’m here,” Josh jokes.
After getting the boat on the trailer and handing Daniel his sandwich, the brothers make quick work of strapping the rig down to trailer over to Lake Griffin.
Josh wasn’t pleased with the dirtier water color on Eustis and the lack of bites. He’s hoping to find some cleaner water this afternoon and maybe some more hydrilla. So far, it has been a mediocre day, but the brothers still have plenty of daylight to find what they’re looking for. Plus, sometimes a little food and some caffeine is all it takes to get you rejuvenated for the day. Good luck, guys.