Tuesday, February 21, 2017
For awhile, it rained pretty hard (Wednesday) and it's kind of frustrating to practice when you know the weather's going to be different in the tournament. These Florida fish get funky in the rain.
Practice was interesting and it's really hard for me go gauge it. I got a respectable number of bites, but I didn't stick a lot so it's hard to tell about quality. From what I saw the locals around me catch, I feel like I'm in the right area and I'd like to think that some of the bites I got were of that quality.
The big thing about Florida is you need to go out and get a lot of bites and just weed through them. If you're around a lot of fish, eventually you'll get some quality, and that's what I'm hoping for tomorrow.
I think a really respectable bag will be 20 pounds. The last time we were here when it was so good, it took 13 pounds a day to make a check in that one. It'll probably be 11 to 13 this time and I'm going to say 17 a day to make the Top 12.
Hopefully this will be the tournament where I turn around this bad streak I've been on. I'm definitely comfortable fishing in Florida and I'm in areas where there are bites to be had, so I just hope to go out and get the right bites.
Initial Practice Report
It's a lot different Lake Okeechobee than the last time we were here in 2012. It's just not as pretty – I think they hurricane they had wreaked some havoc on the place and there's not near the cover there was back then. Also, the water color isn't what it was. It's not as clean, and Florida fish can be difficult to catch when they don't have clean water. As big as the lake is, it's probably going to fish even smaller than it did last time.
I've gotten a fair amount of bites, but I really can't tell how big they are because I haven't set the hook on many of them. That makes it a little frustrating – you hope you're on the right kind of quality, but there's so many boats around and you don't want people seeing you catching anything. I did see some encouraging stuff (on Tuesday) and now I'll try to formulate a plan. I've got two different things going and, of course, they're on completely opposite ends of the lake.
There's no doubt we're going to see multiple 20-pound bags, but I don't think as many as we saw in 2012. That year it was just amazing how many big bites there were, but there was a whole lot more fishable water then than there is now. We were also here a month later – I think a lot of them right now are in that post-spawn phase where they're not really feeding after the spawn yet.