Dustin CAtrett FLA Hunting Adventures

With his hand on the tiller our guide, Hunter Hall, keeps the skiff’s bow close to the shoreline as my friend Bob Carnes points to several Jurassic sized alligators along its edge. Hunter, whose family owns Florida Hunting Adventures, conducts year round bass fishing charters and alligator hunts in Okeechobee, Fla., where Bob is attempting to complete both in a single day.

Located a little more than hour’s drive southeast of Orlando, Headwaters Lake public boat ramp is located just a few miles west of Yeehaw Junction.

At first light Bob and I met Hunter to fish the morning before heading south to his family’s ranch for the alligator hunt that afternoon.

After a short boat ride along the Lake’s main navigation channel, we veered left through an opening of hyacinths and into a small cattail lined cove. After only a few casts Bob set the hook into a monster sized largemouth that was too heavy to jump completely out of the water, yet managed to spit the hook after sloshing under the matted hydrilla.

“Did you see the size of that fish?” he said excitedly, while reeling in his line. “I told you there’s some big ones in this lake,” laughed Hunter.

Although we never connected with another lunker of that size as late summer isn’t prime season for any Florida lake, Bob and I did manage to both land at least a dozen or so thick Florida largemouth with several nearing five pounds before the midday heat signaled the end to our charter.

Headwaters Lake

After opening to the public less than two years ago, the popularity of this manmade 10,000-acre impoundment in Florida’s Indian River County has exploded. Celebrity anglers like Roland and Scott Martin have filmed dozens of giant stringers they’ve caught here and various media outlets have reported local anglers boating 10-pound fish on every outing during spring that has fueled the frenzy as evident by the dozens of boat trailers parked at its ramp each day of the week.

Fellsmere Water Management Area Map 2020

Like most of the famous big bass lakes that Florida is known for, Headwaters or Fellsmere Reservoir as it’s officially titled, is located in the southern region of the state within the golden triangle of largemouth heaven. Sharing a border with the famed Stick Marsh, the lake sits 50 miles to the southeast of West Lake Toho, and 50 miles to the northeast of Lake Okeechobee which also include Lake Kenansville and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.

The St. John’s River Water Management District and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission manage the Headwater’s fishery. It was first constructed by excavating an impoundment with pre-existing deep pockets, then using heavy equipment placed underwater structures and beneficial vegetation in strategic areas prior to flooding it. The result became thousands of acres of prime largemouth habitat. With an average depth of around six feet, the lake follows the successful blueprint of both its predecessors: Stick Marsh and Farm 13. Both modeled with the same shallow topography, flood control infrastructure, and catch and release only regulation.

Headwaters Lake public boat ramp access

Located off Fellsmere Grade Road less than 10 miles west of Fellsmere, FL off I-95. Parking for around 44 trailers and restroom facilities are available. Additional parking available 2 miles away at the Stick Marsh/Farm 13 boat ramp.


Dustin spent his childhood exploring the bass-rich ponds that once blanketed the Central Florida landscape. At age 16 he headed east to hone his skills on redfish and sea trout in the famous Mosquito Lagoon. After high school He graduated with a B.S. Degree in Environmental Science began his career as a Senior Environmental Engineer while also traveling the U.S. as a freelance outdoor writer in search of fishing and hunting adventures. Over the past decade hundreds of Dustin’s works have been published in numerous well known travel, fishing, hunting and outdoor publications throughout the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

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