I’ve been around fishermen all my life, so over the years I’ve heard a few lies. Ok, I’ll admit I’ve heard a lot of them and might have even told one or two myself. But after my trip to Toho for the 1st B.A.S.S. Southern Open of the year, I believe I’ve heard one tale that might top them all. This tall tale is the use of the term “Sunny Florida”.
Now when you hear that phrase, you think of sunshine, warm temperatures and pleasant days on the water. But as it seems to be every time B.A.S.S. holds an event in Florida, that was not the case for last week’s Southern Open at Toho. Now to be fair, I’m sure that the other 51 weeks of the year are great in southern Florida, but after 3 separate cold fronts over the 8 days that I was there, it certainly wasn’t last week. And it’s not just this past week! Of the 7 or 8 times I’ve made this trip with B.A.S.S., I can only remember 1 trip that the weather was nice. Other trips have been so cold that I’m surprised that the orange grower’s haven’t gotten together and paid us to go somewhere else.
If you haven’t fished in Florida, by all means, make the trip. They have some wonderful lakes and great fisheries. I just wouldn’t make that trip in January or early February like we do every year. These fish really don’t like the cold and based on my poor results, I certainly haven’t figured out how to catch them under those frigid temps either. No don’t get me wrong, a lot of my fellow competitors figured out how to catch them. In fact, almost everyone figured them out better than I did.
If I sound frustrated, it’s because I am. I had hoped to start off the year much better than this and I really don’t have any idea what I should have done differently. I thought that the fish I had located would continue to bite and although I knew I wasn’t on the fish to win, I felt like I should have been able to catch a limit each day. The only thing I can do is get ready to head to Amistad next week and prove that I still know how to catch them.
Even though the fishing sucked (sorry, there’s just no other way to describe it), it was still an enjoyable trip. The other wildlife was out in abundance and it felt good to be on the road and on the water again. I stayed at a friend’s house for the week and had a great time during practice. The eagles were out and putting on a show. I even had one dive right in front of me to catch a fish while I was idling into an area, so even the birds were catching more than I was. More importantly, I even managed to avoid being hit in the face by one of Toho’s multitude of coots, although I did bounce a few (actually quite a few) off of the Phoenix this week. It’s not much of a consolation, but it’ll have to do.
Thanks to the sponsors who make this all possible: Lowrance Electronics, Phoenix Bass Boats, Denali Rods, Bryan’s Marine, BoatUS Angler, Power Pole, Costa del Mar Sunglasses and Mississippi Van Lines. Without all of you, none of this would be possible.