Cold and colder

I'm still at Okeechobee, and is it ever cold! It was 27 degrees this morning when I launched the boat. Now, I know you guys back home — or even in the Deep South this week — aren't going to feel very sorry for me. This Artic blast has been tough on everyone.

Nevertheless, I tell you that so you don't think all is perfect down here. The fish aren't jumping into my boat. Florida cold fronts are tough ... on the bass and on the anglers. The water is shallow. The bass have nowhere to go to get away from the high barometric pressure. They tend to shut down. The only way I know to make them bite is by punching mats or deadsticking a Venom Salty Sling. I'm not all that good at punching mats, so I usually go with deadsticking. For better or worse, I have a lot of patience. That helps. I can let a bait sit still longer than almost any other angler on the planet. Sometimes I think the bass pick it up simply because they're tired of looking at it.

The weather has had a real effect on my practice. I've found some good ones, but that was back when it was warm. Even if they stay put they'll be hard to catch. I try not to let that negative thinking affect me, but it's hard. Confidence is a fragile thing. All this bad weather will probably have an effect on the actual tournament next week, too.

I see one of two things happening, depending upon what the weather does to us. It may stay cold, and that'll hold the weights down. Most of the guys are just starting to arrive down here, so practice is going to be tough. That usually means a difficult tournament. I don't care where we're fishing, a slow bite and a tough practice take their toll.

On the other hand, if the weather warms quickly, it could open the floodgates. There are a lot of bass waiting to spawn. This cold weather has held them back. If it warms quickly, they'll all rush to the beds where they are more vulnerable. That could mean really heavy weights. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, consider what this cold spell has done to water temperatures. When I first got here, the water was around 64 degrees. Today it's at 54 degrees. In another few days it'll be in the high 40s. That's a sharp drop. Of course, if this thing blows through, it could rise just as fast.

Anyway, there's no sense worrying about it now. The weather will be what it's going to be, and we humans can't do anything about it. Besides, I'd rather be fishing in Florida under difficult conditions than working in my office in Ohio.

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