Efforts by the tree huggers with zeal to restore the river to its original flow are met with an equal amount of zeal by anglers, sportsmen and recreational enthusiasts. Annual debates in the Florida legislature have become the norm. Governor Jeb Bush, a supporter of the effort to drain the lake, has lately taken a back seat in his stance. While not going against the environmentalists, he no longer actively supports them. Perhaps now that he has been elected to his second and final term as governor, he has come to his senses and supports sportsmen.
Regardless of the politics, Rodman is surviving very well, thank you. Bass anglers probably have a better chance to catch a bragging fish on this body of water than any in the area.
I fished in a bass tournament a couple of weeks ago, something I told myself I would never do again. I was heavy into tournament fishing twelve years ago, so much so that I got burned out. I sold all my freshwater tackle and went back top my saltwater roots.
This tournament was different. A group of men in my church formed a bass club, and I decided to give it a go once more. Actually it was great fun, and the pressure I remember to catch fish was not there. We fished Rodman, and I was a non-boater for the first time that I can remember.
I fished with Herman Hansen in his 481 Ranger, and we started fishing some locations he had been told were holding fish. I wanted very badly to get up and run to some of my old haunts, but I had to tell myself that twelve years is a long time. Fish patterns change, as does cover and structure.
So I took my place as a rider and simply sat back and enjoyed the day. We caught a number of fish flipping the water cabbage along the north edge of the main lake. We ended up in second place as a boat, and I ended up with big fish honors. Not bad for a twelve year hiatus!
Herman and I fished Rodman again together this past Saturday. We went back where we had caught our best fish and tried it again. Herman led the way this time with a very nice four-pounder. Several big mudfish had us fooled for a few minutes, one of them in the ten to twelve pound range. But, they did pull our string, and we did have a great relaxing day.
Rodman is definitely surviving. I just don’t know for how long. Annual efforts to drain the pond continue, and the money for upkeep on the dam and the locks on both ends of the lake is getting harder for the state to find. Let’s hope they find it every year!
I have the urge to look for more bass now. I only hope I can control that urge and keep it to a love for fishing, not a frantic run for money or fame!
Ron Brooks is the Saltwater Guide for About.com. He and I met when I first started doing this site. At that time he lived in the Atlanta, Georgia area, not too far from me and we met at Lake Wedowee for a day of bass fishing. We have been friends since that day!