It would be safe to say that I let the St. Johns “River” pretty much stomp a mud hole in my butt yet again. I say “river” because it’s not really a river in the sense of the word that I’ve always fished rivers. It’s more like narrow, sometimes winding chutes connecting a series of lakes; more like a huge lowland river system than a sure ‘nuff river. It’s not like there are a ton of fish being caught in the river portion of the system, at least not in March.
Typical Florida in March – bed fishing. He who finds the most fish on the beds wins. Exciting in its own way, but boring at the same time. We have Elite guys that are obviously extremely good at not only catching, but locating bedding fish. They live for this stuff. For some, many of their wins or top finishes have come during spawn tournaments. All good stuff, but not a reason to build the entire Elite schedule around spawning events, as it only encompasses a several week span in most fisheries. Florida is a different animal, as the fish there can spawn from December into and past April. Talk about a bed fishing bonanza, but that’s atypical of most lakes in the country.
Last season on the Elite trail, almost every stop had some fish either on the beds, or just off the beds. This year looks to be much the same to start with. Toledo Bend and Oneida will definitely be post spawn, but every other stop could see some bedding fish. Call me crazy, but it might be a nice change of pace to have, oh I don’t know, maybe a good old fashioned pre-spawn tournament in the mix. Maybe even one of those where the water temps were in the upper 40’s to low 50’s. What a concept.
Maybe a fall derby when you actually have to do something other than run waypoints on the river ledge. Not that there’s anything wrong with hopping waypoints that someone gave you, as long as they were given all legal like with the rules, it’s just kind of… boring. Catching the fish is exciting, but what are we showing the viewers, the fans, the guys who want to learn? They need to gobble up waypoints from everyone they know who has a GPS? That’s not very exciting. I really like that MLF’er thing of having no waypoints in the GPS at the start of the derby. Kudos to you guys for that one. Wonder what it would take for B.A.S.S. to implement that? Is that feasible? What about the waypoints that I found the last time we were at a certain lake? Do those count? I say if it’s the same for all of us, what difference does it make. If I found it once, I can most likely find it again. We’ll see how that plays out. Probably like a turd in the punch bowl. But I divert myself…
First event down. Not the finish that I wanted. I really had it in my mind to get out of Florida with two checks, even if they were just barely above the 50 finish line, two checks. Not going to happen.
Pretty frustrating, too, as I had several opportunities on Friday to improve on my bag. I just couldn’t make things go my way. Like déjà vu, all over again. Captain Almost – not liking that, either. Things like the bruiser parting pads to get to my Swimming Super Fluke. I kill it at the edge of the pads. Line jumps and starts swimming off. What’s a guy to do? Jerk! I jerk and come back with one of the numerous worms that we’ve seen inside the basses mouths down here all week on the point of the hook. How does that happen? Then there was the 4 pounder that bit my SSF a rod length from the boat. I jerked him up out of the water. Bait came out of his mouth as soon as he cleared the surface. Fish flew through the air and smacked the rub rail dead center on the BassCat. Three inches higher and he would have slid into the boat. Damn the luck
Now it’s on to the giant salad bowl that is Okeechobee. I bet this one won’t be won by looking at them, either. Might be a check made off bedders, but probably not a big one. This will be fishing. Put the troller down and chunk and wind – or flip – baby. F-i-s-h-i-n-g. To borrow a phrase from that crazy Ohioan, Brody of the Lake, “Locate, Catch, and Win!” That’s what it takes every week, no exception.
K-Pink – L, C, W