2011 Elite Series - Sunshine Showdown Harris Chain of Lakes - Tavares, FL, Mar 10 - 13, 2011

Giants

Bassmaster Elite Series pro Charlie Hartley

I'm on the Harris Chain practicing for the first Elite Series event later this week. I have to say that what I'm seeing doesn't exactly cheer me up. The canals are full of spawning giants, but it's the final wave and the postspawn females from the last couple of weeks aren't exactly biting.

It's about as tough a postspawn bite as I've ever seen. I mean, sometimes they shut down for a little while, but not like this. They don't seem to want to eat anything, at least not anything I'm offering them. The bite might improve, though, as the week rolls along. They have a few days to rest and get back to normal before the tournament starts. Sometimes a day or two makes all the difference in the world.

I think the draw will be really important this time. The first few boats to get out will have the best shot at getting on the bed fish that are still around. That'll make for some awesome weights on Thursday and maybe into Friday.

But come Saturday and Sunday, things could go the other way. Most all the fish will either be off the beds or caught by then with no more moving in to replace them. That means postspawn is about all that will remain, and unless the bite picks up things could get real tough.

All is not lost, however. I have managed to mark several good ones and catch a couple. That's encouraging, especially if I catch an early draw. We'll just have to wait and see.

There are other giants in the canals, too. By that, I mean anglers. I've seen darn near every top pro fishing the Elite Series in the last 48 hours. What an experience it is to idle past men like KVD, Denny Brauer, Mike Iaconelli, Aaron Martens and Gary Klein. And you know that's just the ones I'm thinking about right now.

There were others around I saw who don't come to mind immediately. They're everywhere. It's like the first day back to school around here. Everyone has new stuff and they're all looking forward to the new year. Everyone is optimistic and visible. The past has no importance. It's all about tomorrow.

I don't want to sound corny, but this is some kind of an experience. In most events you see a few of the guys on the water. Here you see them all. I really am living the dream!

It really is a dream. All the animals are out and moving around, the gar are up spawning — maybe that's not the best thing for a bass fisherman, but it is a part of nature — and the blue herons all have babies in their nests. What an experience it is to be a part of all this. Honestly, it's overwhelming.

Now, if I can just mark some more giants and get an early draw Thursday ...

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