Shryock: Florida fishing snowbirds

The Bassmaster Southern Open a few weeks ago didn’t turn out exactly the way I'd have liked. Despite my high hopes leading up to this event, I ended up closer to the bottom than I did to the top. When you're all in with "Plan A" and call "Plan B" a distraction, then sometimes you have to pay the consequences. I will be working on having a "Plan B" this year on the Bassmaster Elite Series, I can promise you. Every single point can carry a lot of weight at the end of the season. 

After being in this game a little while now, I am starting to learn that you have to keep yourself level-headed. Whether you finish first, second or 192nd, you need to take the positive from it and not spend much time looking into the past regardless of the outcome. 

My brother Hunter is trying to qualify for the Elite Series, and he was able to start off strong with a 25th place finish in the Southern Open on Toho. I'm pretty excited for him, and I really hope he can make it happen. People who know us think we have an interesting relationship. We’re best friends but we can be really hard on each other. We’re both brutally honest people, and when the words start flying sometimes people who haven’t been around us fear that they’re going to have to break up a brawl. 

That’s never happened and it never will, but if it was ever going to happen it would have been after Toho. We stayed around to film our first part of our six-part series Shryock Brothers Untapped. My girlfriend Rose was already down there and Hunter’s girlfriend Felicia flew down to help us. We ended up with all four of us staying in the RV, and things got a little tight, with everyone in each other’s business. 

We were there for two weeks after the tournament, and the weather immediately following the event was perfect. At that point, Hunter had other work obligations. I had what was probably one of the best days I’ve ever had on the water, and that includes trips to Mexico, California and Texas. My big day included an 11 pounder, my personal best largemouth. None of the fishing was caught on film. 

Things were setting up perfectly for an epic shoot….and then a cold front rolled in. As you’re probably aware, a cold front absolutely crushes fishing in Florida. It forced us to stay longer than expected to get what we wanted. After another long day of cold temps and howling winds, Hunter said "Dude, every time we do this it’s never, ever, easy." 

Hunter considers it a point of pride that he creates his films over the course of a single day, to show what it’s really like. What doesn’t show up on film is a bunch of boring footage of us sitting around waiting for the right day to come along. Over time he’s really raised the bar on what he has produced. We probably could’ve made a decent production out of one of the cold front days, but it paid off to wait for conditions to get better. A couple of 4-pounders wouldn’t have raised the bar again and would have been subpar by our standards.

The other thing that doesn’t show up in the final cut is how long it takes to produce even the simple shots. Sometimes it can take an hour of effort for 2 seconds of footage. The production effort is very sophisticated, using drones and all sorts of different GoPro mounts, but you have to know the shot that you’re looking for before you even start. That’s Hunter’s gift. Sometimes people will ask me how much of it is achieved through editing software, and while that’s an important (and time consuming part of the process), my typical response is to tell them that if you gave them da Vinci’s paint brush, they still couldn’t paint the Mona Lisa. 

I feel very fortunate to have his skills in my corner. It’s huge for me and critical for my career development. When people approach me at shows and seminars, the videos are the first thing that they ask about. 

Here’s the first video in the series, called “Snowbirds:”

We’ll add five more over the course of the season, along with shorter follow-ups on social media explaining more of the tackle and techniques that we used.