May 14, 2011

Stumped on Okeechobee

I fished a tournament on Okeechobee today and for the first time in a long time, I didn't catch them non-stop all day and didn't cash a check.  My buddy Russ called me this week and asked me if I wanted to fish and since I never turn down a chance to fish the Big O, we entered the event. It was held out of Belle Glade, the south end of the lake and the field was full of the good Okeechobee locals.  The water is getting really low again and is a foot lower than it was last month when I fished in a club tournament.  On a shallow lake like this, that can mean trouble.  Just getting around is dangerous, and the grass is mostly less than a foot deep or high and dry.  We had a great plan and had some offshore fish located that were schooling on shad.  It was the perfect situation to fish offshore; low water, post-spawn and warm temperatures.

We started off great and caught fish right away.  I was using a Norman Flat Broke Crankbait in a shad pattern and was catching them pretty easily.  It was pretty rough out there so it ruined my plan of throwing topwater, but the fish were still there.  Russ even caught two fish on the same cast at one point.  They were in there thick, but were just small fish.  We gambled with the offshore schooling fish and never caught a big one to make it worth it.  The bite died down and we ran to a bunch of known spots, and it was the same story; small fish after small fish.  Once the bite slowed down, I was using a shaky head with a Dinero by Get Five Lures in the black out color.  I ended up catching quite a few on this bait, but didn't get one over two pounds today.  We had a limit and culled several times, but weren't even close.  The winners had 31 pounds and there were several 20+lb bags.  What did we do wrong?

Even now, hours later, we are both trying to figure out what we would have done differently.  I did learn some things and had a great time.  Russ schooled me with a cool new bait I have never used before.  I'll talk about that later this week.  Fishing can be a humbling sport and it's sometimes good to look back and see what you would have done differently. 
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