Pittsburgh doom and gloom was getting the best of my house so we needed a quick trip into sunny Florida. Suzy and I had some miles to burn left over from past trips we acquired. Champions Gate offered a great get away package with great pool layout. The resort offers an amazing facility for golfing but also has an incredible fishery on the golf courses. Omni offers guided fishing trips on the resort ponds for hourly trip. Packages start at $40 which is a steal for any type of fishermen. Large mouth bass are plentiful and from what I found they sure have some great size. The night before I called guide Eric Gilhart to schedule a trip with him the following morning. He was out on a fishing trip and was in the middle of fish landing when he picked up the phone. He said fishing was great (you could hear the excitement in his voice) which got me excited about my trip. We met me at the resort main water fountain at 11am and which I was leery about starting that late in the morning. He was coming off a trip earlier this morning which they had good luck. He said late morning was a great time to fish after the water warms up.
We hopped in a golf cart and headed over the to golf pro shop. I signed some waivers basically saying the resort would not be liable if I was to get eaten by a Alligator on my trip. I signed the dotted line, paid my fees and we were on our way. Erie had a great setup for beginner to advanced angler. We talked about goals for the trip which my mine goal was to catch some trophy bass & see a alligator. He was confident he could get both of those done, which he did. We took some practice casts on shore in the main pond behind the golf shop. Practice for me to feel the setup and also likely for him to feel out my fishing experience before we hit the tandem kayak. Eric has setup a top water rod rig with a frog that looked deadly on the service and a bottom jig presentation to try later. On our way a few casts into our trip out towards shore and BAM fish on. This continued on for the next hour all over the lake. The excitement of top water strikes can’t be traded for anything. These fish would engulf the bait and with a slight pause & hook set you are hooked up. The lake ranges from 2 feet deep to pockets of 10ft or more. You could see spawning beds that the bass are starting to form for season spawn. Most fish were hanging around shore and these beds.
Eventually the we migrated to the bottom rig once the top water slowed down. This brought on bigger hits and more fish which was a lot of fun. Erie put a worm like pattern to present more of a challenge for which I did not let him down. I was able to find fish on all the rigs he had.
The best part of the trip for me was talking with former military veteran and learning so much about his fishery / environment. He is very knowledgeable and a very seasoned person. It was interesting to hear information about the alligator and all the wildlife on the resort. I could have spent the whole day on the kayak with him fishing and talking about wildlife. I was on a hour(ish) curfew from my wife so I had to start working my way back in. Erie seemed to really guinely enjoy his job and putting people on fish. I was grateful to share that experience and learn so much.
Fishing Experience Information (Credit Omni Website)
Trophy Florida large-mouth Bass are ferocious fighters and love the lake habitats located here at ChampionsGate. Our expert guides will hook you up with one of these giant lunkers. Omni Outfitters offers both shore and kayak fishing with artificial baits. Blue Gill and Black Crappie are also lurking in the depths so you never know what you may reel in. Your experience will be customized from beginner to advanced and our guides are experienced in both spin and fly fishing.
Guests depart from the ChampionsGate clubhouse from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m., and from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Advance reservations are required and subject to availability. A minimum of two people is required and a maximum of six people is allowed for an excursion.
- Shore Fishing:
- $40 per hour, per adult and $20 per hour, per child, 17 and under (must be accompanied by an adult).
- Kayak Fishing:
- $60 per hour, per adult and $30 per hour, per child, 17 and under (must be accompanied by and adult)
Fishing equipment is provided. Fishing excursions are catch and release, and no fishing license is required. Outdoor clothing and closed-toe, athletic shoes are required. Insect repellent and sunscreen are suggested and are available for purchase at the Golf Clubhouse.
For information and reservations, contact the resort concierge or call (407) 787-4653.
If you every get the chance to stay at the resort, give the fishing experience at Omni a try. I promise you will not be disappointed.
Check out Eric’s Eco Adventures website.
Thanks Eric & tight lines from Pittsburgh!