2013 Bass Pro Shops Southern Open #1 Lake Tohopekaliga - Kissimmee, FL, Jan 31 - Feb 2, 2013

10 degrees above normal

I’m on the Kissimmee Chain getting ready for the first Southern Open of the year. The weather has been fantastic here. For the past couple of weeks it’s been well above normal, temperature wise. Somebody said it’s averaged about 10 degrees above where it should be. I believe that. This trend is supposed to continue through next week.

That’s had a real impact on the fishing. The other day I caught a 6-5 and a 9-12 on back-to-back casts. I don’t care where you’re fishing that says something about a fishery. Along the same line of thought, there was a small tournament that went out of Toho this weekend. It was won by a local guy who had a five fish bag that weighed 32 pounds. I don’t think 20 pounds got you a check.

Based on all of what I’m seeing I’d say you better stand by for what’s about to happen. Unless the bass move on and off the beds before the tournament starts I’m saying we could see near record weights at the end of the month, especially when you stop to think that this one is full of Elite Series guys and local anglers who know how to get on them.

Really, though, all of Florida is that good. I’m always amazed at the size — and numbers — of bass a fellow can catch from the little ponds that are around here. Some of them are so small you can cast all the way across them. No matter, they produce big bass. It’s amazing.

That’s why I say every so often that if you can you should come down to this area and do some fishing. It doesn’t cost a ton of money, either. You can drive with a few friends, pack some food with you and find an inexpensive motel for surprisingly little money.

Enough of how great Florida bass fishing is. The real thing for Charlie Hartley is to put something together that’ll produce measurable weight. I think I’m doing that. Now, that’s not a prediction of anything it’s just that I’ve been applying myself the way I talked about a couple of weeks ago. It might be working.

It’s tough, though. My biggest problem is that I’m a fishing addict. To give you an example of how bad I am…the other day I had to take Tracey’s parents to the airport. OK, you say. Yes, except that I wanted to fish so badly I got up early that morning and walked around the community with my rod in my hand looking for small ponds to throw at.

When you first hear that it doesn’t sound so bad. But consider that I’ve been down here for weeks fishing every single day. You’d think that I could stay away from it for a few hours — it’s not like I wasn’t going to be able to fish after I came back from the airport—but I couldn’t. I just had to go fishing.  

Next week I’ll tell you a great angler story.

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