Power fishing beats sight fishing

Last year when the Elite Series was on the St. Johns River, Rick Morris, like almost everyone else, stuck with sight fishing.

This year? Forget it. He refused to go after the bass on beds, not after a 91st-place finish in the 2011 competition and not after this week’s practice. He saw nothing but empty beds.

“I decided to go to power fishing,” he said.

It worked: He sacked 21-12 for fourth place Thursday. To do it, Morris said he covered a lot of water, at one point keying on a reaction bite from postspawn bass. That’s how he hooked into the 7-pounder he brought to the scales. He culled four times, including a 12-incher he turned back when his last cast of the day produced a bigger bass.

“I’m really happy with my day. It’s the best I’ve ever done in Florida — other than second place in the 2006 Bassmaster Classic (on Lake Tohopekaliga),” said Morris, who lives in Lake Gaston, Va.