Bass and redfish

Looking at how clean this boat is you might think it’s Charlie’s. It’s not, though. Ochs is as much a cleanliness nut as is Charlie.

About the author

Charlie Hartley

Charlie Hartley

After a career as a professional skateboarder, Charlie Hartley began fishing B.A.S.S. events in 1993.

Things are about the same here in Florida except that Lake Okeechobee is off limits now until the Wildcard gets going late next week. I’ve been passing the time bass fishing on Kissimmee and doing a little saltwater flats fishing with an old friend, and with a new one.

The Kissimmee thing is just so I can be near Okeechobee and stay into the swing of things when it comes to bass fishing. Without going into all the details let me say that the bass fishing here is phenomenal. I sure hope the bite is as good next week as it has been this week.

I suppose that’s obvious, or at least I’ve said it before so we don’t need to go into any more detail right now. What I really want to talk about is my new love — fishing the flats. I’ve been doing that with Terry Segraves and a friend of his, John Ochs, off and on for about a week.

John’s a serious redfish angler who knows the flats like I know Lake Erie. It was a real treat to spend a day with him on his boat. The whole thing was kind of funny, really.

He spent most of the day asking me about bass tournaments and I spent most of the day asking him about redfish tournaments. Some of what I found out was really interesting and will come as a big surprise to those of you who don’t know much about the way they fish those things.

One of the crazy rules they have is that you can catch a fish that’s too big. To me that’s like a woman being too pretty or too rich. It doesn’t make sense. Nevertheless, here’s how it works:

You can only weigh two fish per day, and those fish must fit into the slot. I don’t remember exactly what he told me about the specific limits but it’s like they have to be over a specific length and less than a specific length.

You not only have to find the fish but they have to be a certain size — on both ends. If anything, that’s tougher than the way we fish for bass. At least we don’t have to worry about our catch being “too long.”

Another thing is that as a pro you have to bring an amateur partner with you to the tournament, but that person doesn’t fish with you. He or she fishes with some other pro. And then, both of you get the combined weight of your catch.

It's not the biggest redfish in the sea, but it'll probably work just fine in a tournament with a slot. It's not the biggest redfish in the sea, but it'll probably work just fine in a tournament with a slot.

After the first day the amateurs switch pros and the whole thing starts over again.

It’s a heck of a sport. The only bad thing about it is that you can’t earn a living doing it. There aren’t enough tournaments and the purses aren’t big enough. So, most of the redfish pros, including John, want to become bass tournament anglers and fish B.A.S.S. events.

I want to close by reminding everyone that we should all take a few minutes to reflect on what we’re thankful for. Tracey and I will be doing that. In our case it’s a long list. I hope yours is, too.

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