Goal is to survive first event in Florida

In preparation for the upcoming start of the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament season next week at the St. Johns River in Florida, my fiancée, Shelby, and I decided we had experienced enough of the cold weather in Northwestern Ontario and so we hit the road last week and got down to Florida a little bit early.
While I know I’m not going to get any sympathy from anybody at home about the weather in Florida, I can tell you it’s cold down here, as well! That just means tough fishing in my world.
I’m not sure what it is but when cold fronts hit down here, it makes the bass stop biting. That being said, we’ve been catching a few fish and it certainly is nice to be back in the boat.
The wind does not want to stop blowing, either, so it’s causing us to bundle up as if we were fishing in September weather back home. Not a lot of sun tanning happening!
While we wait for the weather to get better, we’ve been visiting with some friends down here and I’ve been putting the finishing touches on getting my boat ready for tournament action. For the Elite Series, we get three days to pre-fish on the St. Johns River starting this Sunday, then the tournament starts on Thursday, Feb. 7.
In the meantime, we’re exploring some other lakes in central Florida trying to figure out how to boat a few bass under the tough conditions.
Immediately after the tournament in Florida, I head six hours north up to Lake Lanier in Georgia for our second tournament the following week. I have never fished any of these tournaments in back-to-back weeks before so that will be interesting.
In fact, we have three sets of back-to-back events this year so it will take some getting used to. From a travel standpoint, it’s nice for me to be able to knock off a couple of events in a short amount of time without major travel in between.
These first couple of tournaments will be quite a change-up for us because we’re going to go from fishing for largemouth bass in a shallow, weed-filled river in Florida to fishing a deep, clear lake for spotted bass in Georgia the following week.
I fished a tournament on Lake Lanier last year and it probably was my favourite body of water that I have fished in the southern U.S. in seven years of competing in bass tournaments south of the border. I had a good event so my expectations are high for this upcoming tournament.
I caught most of my spotted bass in 20-30 feet of water on main lake humps and points, much like how we would fish for walleyes at home in the summer, so it was something I was comfortable doing.
I would drive over these structures, look for fish on my electronics, and then get on top of them with my boat and drop a jig and soft plastic worm down to them.
My goal is to try to survive the first event in Florida with a decent finish and then hopefully I can take advantage of the knowledge I gained last year at Lanier.
Everybody stay warm back home. Hopefully after this week, the really cold stuff will be done!

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