One down

Sometimes a guy has to face the facts — Florida bass fishing is not my strong suit. I don't know why, but I've never done very well on Florida waters. It's like something is going on that I don't completely understand.

I don't blame Florida for that. It's me. I know that. The truth is that Florida is a better bass fishery than it has been in the past. There are plenty of bass around. I mean, a lot of guys excel here, so it's not like it can't be done or anything.

It's just that the fish are fickle. The slightest change of temperature, the slightest change in wind direction, or the slightest change in sunlight will cause the bite to shut down or shift to something totally different. I guess I'm not used to that. Actually, there's no guessing to it — I'm not used to it.

That's why I'm so pleased with how things turned out last week. I finished in the top 20. Sure, I always want to win, and I never give up. That's a given, and you'll never hear me deny it. But I'm also a realist. I know that if I can avoid a disaster here, I'll be off to a pretty good start for the year. My kind of waters are just around the corner.

I had a solid practice last week, so I figured I'd be OK when everything was said and done. I fished real slow with some of the new Berkley Havoc plastic baits. That helped a lot. I'm telling you they are the thing. I don't know that I've ever used anything better.

There are a bunch of different ones, each designed by a top Elite Series angler. The biggest thing about them is that they're completely different than anything else on the market. I guarantee you that the bass — even in the most heavily pressured lakes — have never seen anything like them.

After the St. Johns event, when I have a little more time, I'll give you some rigging tips and techniques that'll help you fish effectively with them. I don't want to do it in a hurry and miss something. It's best to wait and do it right.

By the time you read this I'll be practicing on the St. Johns River for the tournament later this week. That's more to my liking. It's still Florida, but at least it's moving water. I feel more comfortable there. It's closer to what I learned to fish in my early years.

I'll tell you something else about the St. Johns, too. It's about as beautiful as anything can get. The scenery and landscape are out of this world. There's no prettier place on earth to go bass fishing. If you ever get the chance to fish it for a day or two, don't let the opportunity get away from you.

One down, one to go....

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