Back to work in Florida

The second stop of the FLW Tour season takes place this week down at the Harris Chain of Lakes in central Florida.
After a couple of weeks at home in the brutal weather, it’s nice to be back in the boat!
I came down last week and have been really enjoying the nice weather! It’s much better than when I came down here a month ago for the first tournament at Lake Okeechobee, with temperatures hitting 30 degrees C every day!
While the nice weather is a bonus, I’m down here to compete in a bass tournament and kick the worst slump I’ve ever had in six years of competing in these pro tournaments.
My Dad came down to join me in the boat for my pre-fishing this week and that’s been nice. He’s a good stick to have onboard because he’ll fish hard all day and he knows how to catch a few!
As I’ve mentioned in the past, we only get three days to pre-fish for these tournaments, so we fish from dark to dark each day and in these hot temperatures, it’s a workout!
We try to cover as much water as we can over the three-day period to find productive areas to fish, as well as try to figure out the best ways to catch them.
Fishing in Florida is a lot of fun. You have a shot at catching a monster fish on any cast so that keeps you going all day, for sure, but this is not my favourite place to fish tournaments.
These lakes are shallow and full of weeds, so they are a lot different than our lakes back home in Sunset Country. That being said, I have fished down here enough times that I should know what to do but my history at these lakes down here is not great.
Catching fish is not usually the problem, it’s just getting a big one or two each day that make a huge difference. Hopefully that won’t be a problem this week!
The Harris chain is comprised of seven different lakes that we can fish, all connected by a series of canals. There also are miles and miles of canals off the lakes that have a lot of bass in them right now looking to spawn.
There are a lot of anglers fishing in these canals, sight fishing for big bass. I have sampled a couple and seen some monster fish, but they are really hard to catch so I’m not planning to fish in them unless I catch some nice fish doing what I’m going to do fishing in the lakes.
My practice has been pretty good through a couple of days, so I’m really looking forward to getting the tournament started tomorrow (Feb. 22). Catching them in practice doesn’t mean anything, though, as we have to put in the in the boat when the tournament starts!
There are quite a few people from Northwestern Ontario who are down in this part of Florida right now and several have sent me messages that they’re going to come and check out our weigh-ins this week, so that’s pretty neat.
It’s quite a spectacle to see all of the boats and trucks that many of these anglers have, and I appreciate seeing folks from home when I’m away.
The slump I mentioned earlier–six tournaments without cashing a cheque after cashing in nine-straight–started last year when we visited the Harris chain so I can think of no better place than this to stop it this weekend!
I will give it my all out there this week and try to have some fun, that’s a guarantee. You can follow the results online this at flwfishing.com
Look for my tournament report in next week’s column.

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