The 2009 Bassmaster Federation Nation Championship presented by Yamaha Outboards and Skeeter Boats on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Tavares, Fla., should test the Federation's best anglers as the chain is known to be fickle at this time of year.
The Harris Chain is made up of nine lakes that lie within Lake County in central Florida. Most of the 76,000 acres are murky, except in canals. Kissimmee and other grasses are the dominant cover on most of the lakes.
"The Harris Chain is tough this time of year. They'll need to cover lots of water," Florida Elite Series pro Peter Thliveros said. "Buzzbaits and floating worms should be good first thing in the morning, mostly around grass edges. There's most always a Fluke (soft plastic jerkbait) bite, though."
Thliveros recommends anglers focus on fishing shallow and covering lots of water.
"Stay between the outside edges of the maidencane and the first break in bottom contour," he says. "Throw crankbaits and lipless crankbaits, and if those don't work, try a spinnerbait."
Elite Series pro and Lakeland, Fla., resident Bobby Lane is slightly more optimistic. He says contestants will benefit by finding shellbeds and brushpiles, but says fishing grasslines should produce a nice stringer.
He goes on to say that Big Harris has the best chance of producing a winning bag because locking through to other lakes will severely cut fishing time.
Lane believes the angler who catches 42 pounds over the three-day competition will be the Federation Nation's champion and earn the first of six berths in the 2010 Bassmaster Classic.
Launches are held daily at 7:30 a.m. EST at Wooten Park, 200 S. Rockingham Ave, Tavares, Fla., starting Wednesday, Oct. 28 through Friday, Oct. 30. Weigh-ins are held daily starting at 3:45 p.m.