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author
Christina Perez
• Wednesday, 22 September, 2021
• 8 min read

Judd said Tillman had stopped into a local Dollar General Store before heading to the lake. TJ Wiggins, along with his brother and Whitmore, allegedly followed Tillman out of the store.

channel fishing florida south
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Contents

On Monday, detectives found the suspects living in a family compound of camper trailers not far from the murder scene. After executing a search warrant, detectives found two Asks rifles, two Moss berg shotguns, and ammunition for both in a gun safe belonging to TJ Wiggins.

William “Robert” Wiggins admitted to seeing Tillman, one of the victims, in the Dollar General store on Friday evening while they stood in line. Wiggins told police that when the trio left the store, TJ directed Robert, who was driving, to turn onto a particular road.

Damion Tillman got out of his vehicle, and TJ continued to scream at all of them, Robert told police. After the brutal killings, the three suspects drove to McDonald’s, where they ordered 10 double cheeseburgers, and two Chicken sandwiches.

On Saturday morning, Robert took the truck he was driving to a car wash in Lake Wales to get the clay from the road off of it. Neither Tony TJ Wiggins nor Mary Whitmore are cooperating with detectives, Judd said.

As Tillman was buying items at the Dollar General Store, he mentioned to the clerk that he was going fishing and meeting a friend named Keven, according to Robert. You sold the engine out of my truck.” Detectives said information they have is that Keven continued to say he did not know what the man was talking about.

fishing florida south
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Judd said the only piece of information that investigators “are digging into” is TJ’s ranting about the stolen engine. Whitmore, TJ’s girlfriend, was seen in video surveillance buying ammunition on July 9, 2021.

Ammunition seized at the trailer was compared to shell casings found at the scene of the triple homicide. That ammunition was sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (File) lab for testing.

For much of the US, fall is merely a warning of things to come, with brutally cold conditions just around the corner. So before we start, it is worth noting that many of the seasonal movements and strategies I'm going to discuss, may not be applicable to your part of the country.

To discuss the movements of bass during fall, you have to start with the summer-fall transition period, which on most lakes and rivers across the US begins sometime between mid-September and early-October. Many fish will be transient, and the ones that do stick around and are present for your summer tactics are simply too few to provide any notable success.

During this seasonal transition, mixing both summer and fall patterns will be the only way to recognize when the majority of bass have begun the migration. In early fall, schools of bait fish, most notably shad, are of extreme importance to both anglers and bass.

florida freshwater fishing south peacock bass park
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During summer, shad are primarily suspended in deeper water on the main lake or river. When early fall arrives however, they begin their migration in search of food to fatten up for the winter, just like bass do.

Though shallow water cover should be your primary target when fishing hard cover and structure, deep water flats that contain seedbeds can be prime areas because the shallower portions of the seedbed may begin dying off, and the bass will move to the outer, deeper weeds as they are the last to start dying. These deep edge weeds can be prime targets to find your greatest concentrations of fish in a confined area during the part of fall when bass are most scattered.

This is a time of year when bass are roaming a lot, and transient fish are often hard to pattern, as was the case with the summer-fall transition period. But luckily, early fall bass are feeding heavily and looking for hearty forage to feast on.

Our primary objective should be to seek out the most active fish up shallow, using lures that can cover a lot of water quickly. The bass are looking for that hearty meal, so big lures that imitate bait fish such as shad are going to be your top choice.

It simply doesn't get cold in South Florida and what happens to bass on northern lakes and rivers ceases to exist down there. The heat and the fact that water authorities keep them low to prevent flooding during the hurricane season.

fishing 4k florida flats stuart south fly daniel
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And the farther south you go in the country, in other words, the warmer the climate, the longer the spawn is. But nearly the entire country can apply the general fall strategies on their lake or river, except South Florida who is clearly the biggest outlier.

As we previously pointed out, early-fall brings shad and bass to shallow flats and cover around creek mouths and just inside the tributary arms. And while this plankton don't swim around the lake like shad do, they do proliferate in certain areas more so than others in fall.

The green water is the phytoplankton, the start of the food chain in the bass' diet. We've answered quite a bit so far as to why this migration occurs, but you might be wondering why there is more phytoplankton in the backs of creeks than on the main lake.

But phytoplankton needs something else to survive, they need three chemical nutrients, phosphate, nitrate and silicic acid. So these farm ponds we often see with the green muck on top happen for one major reason, too much phosphate and nitrates in the water, two chemicals that phytoplankton's growth is linked too.

Well it's easy to see that surface runoff from the farmer's land into his pond is causing a massive growth explosion of phytoplankton. Well, as it turns out, most of the surface runoff that occurs in lakes and rivers starts at the backs of creeks.

florida fishing ladyfish pompano south stuart
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Feeder streams are common in many creeks throughout the US and because the very backs of creeks have the smallest water to shoreline ratio, it stands to reason that surface runoff will bring far greater concentrations of nutrients into the surrounding waters. Again, inorganic fertilizers contain phosphate and nitrates, both the key ingredient to the proliferation of phytoplankton.

Of course, when you start seeing an algal bloom in a farm pond like our previous example, that's awful, because when that much phytoplankton is one area, bacteria arrive to feed on the dead phytoplankton falling to the bottom of the water, and through this process of decomposition, dissolved oxygen levels are decreased, sometimes to the point of fish kills. Because current stirs up the water, and it generally means that there is some sort of feeder stream flowing into the creek.

As you can see, both the shad and phytoplankton play a major role in the fall migration into the backs of creeks. But let's now talk about techniques and presentation, and learn how to pinpoint the best bite at this time of the season.

This can be a prime area as well because the creek acts as a funnel, helping the bass push the schools of shad into tighter pods. Sometimes the bass and shad have not made their way up to the very back yet, and this is a good tactic to use to help determine where the fish are in their migration.

Since bass aren't as scattered and suspended so much as they were in early-fall, you can now focus more attention on those isolated pieces of cover such as stumps, lay downs and bottom irregularities. When wood cover are the primary targets, square-billed shallow crank baits are tough to beat.

snakehead florida fishing south peacock tarpon snook
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Since bass are starting to group up more and more into fall, buzz baits can be a great way to call some fish up top. Generally late fall starts showing the onset of a cold winter, bringing water temps down in the low-50s and 40s.

The shad and bass are evacuating the shallow cover on the flats and retreating to the deep edges of the channels in preparation for winter. This is why in late fall we find bass schooling quite heavily on shad in open water.

The reason the shad feed at the surface at mid-day is because the phytoplankton rises in the water column to meet the sunlight. Remember, phytoplankton require sunlight for energy, so they seek it out by rising to the surface, and the shad follow suit.

But don't count on too much action in the low-light hours, there isn't enough sunlight to pull the plankton and shad up to the surface. As long as the water is generally above 50 degrees, top waters like stick baits, poppers, and sub-surface baits like spoons and fork-tailed smoke grubs on a 1/2 oz.

Now a lot of places I frequently fish aren't well known for schooling bass busting shad on the surface. The shallow vegetation is most certainly dying off at this time and what's still alive will be found in the deepest part of the seedbed.

fishing florida keys deep
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Creek channel edges at the mouths will also be prime targets as bass stage for their wintering locations. Remember, bass have moved to deeper water and feeding isn't necessarily a big item on their to-do list.

I work them around the deep edge of ledges and channels on outside bends on the lower part of creeks. Standard jigs with silicone or rubber skirt simply display too much action and movement for late-fall.

You really need to be careful that you show the fish something, well, almost boring and lifeless, since that seems to be the widespread mood of everything that swims this time of year. Focus on your deeper water on the main lake and river and just inside the creek arms.

We've covered quite a bit in this video and I hope I've conveyed the importance of not only understanding these seasonal migrations, but utilizing them to help locate fish more effectively.

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Sources
1 www.123rf.com - https://www.123rf.com/stock-photo/red_grouper_fish.html
2 www.dreamstime.com - https://www.dreamstime.com/photos-images/red-grouper.html
3 - /rebates/welcome
4 www.canstockphoto.com - https://www.canstockphoto.com/images-photos/red-grouper.html
5 www.gettyimages.com - https://www.gettyimages.com/photos/grouper
6 www.123rf.com - https://www.123rf.com/stock-photo/grouper_fish.html
7 www.fisheries.noaa.gov - https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/red-grouper
8 fishingbooker.com - https://fishingbooker.com/blog/types-of-grouper-in-florida/