PARK FALLS, Wisc. (September 22, 2021) – Puerto Rico-born angler, Guillermo Gonzalez, grew up chasing snook and tarpon in the Biscayne Bay backcountry south of Miami. For the past several years, he has sharpened his angling skills as a competitive kayak angler, earning a fearsome reputation as a threat to win any tournament he enters, all the while – according to his kayak-angling peers – remaining one of the friendliest and most-approachable people one would ever hope to meet.
When the Texas-based St. Croix pro showed up for pre-fishing at the 10th and final event of the 2021 Hobie BOS - Bass Open Series Anchored by Power-Pole Total Boat Control event on Lake Pickwick last week, the 2017 Kayak Angler’s Tournament Series (KATS) Angler of the Year didn’t have a game plan set in stone. “I knew next to nothing about Pickwick,” he says. “Of course, I had read about the lake and gleaned some information from other anglers, but I’d never fished there before.” He heard the lake had a lot of mid-lake grass, and a lot of his friends were planning on practicing there. But he also knew that Pickwick had seen heavy tournament pressure during the days leading up to his arrival. “When I hit the water for practice, I made a conscious decision to avoid those popular spots, even though they were probably holding fish,” he says. “With 47,000 acres to choose from, I just felt like I needed to try and figure out something different so I could have more water to myself.”
Gonzalez set his sights during pre-fishing on three different ramps and locations closer to the dam, where he believed few – if any – anglers would be fishing. “One of these areas looked especially promising,” he relates. “It was a good-sized shallow flat, and just as I hoped, I had the area completely to myself.” Gonzalez began aggressively searching and covering water quickly. “I fished those first few hours of practice really fast with disappointing results,” he says. “I was getting ready to leave but decided to slow things down a bit before I did. I got bit right away. Then another. It reinforced to me what I had already been thinking: that these fish had really been pressured.” Gonzales applied the pattern to some other similar flats nearby and experienced the same, positive results.