Takahiro Omori On The Kissimmee Chain

Citrus Slam follow-up: What happened with Omori?


The Kissimmee Chain, site of the second 2008 Elite Series event, is home to five legendary Florida bass venues — Lake Tohopekaliga, Lake Kissimmee, Lake Hatchineha, Lake Cypress, and East Lake Tohopekaliga. Together they offer nearly 100,000 acres of surface water and have been the site of some of the fiercest battles in BASS history.


Elite Series competitor, Takahiro Omori, winner of the 2005 Florida Bassmaster Tour on the same waters, knows them about as well as any angler. Despite his winning weight of 50 pounds, 11 ounces in that contest he's not all that confident about his prospects for this year's Citrus Slam.


"I won here in 2005 but that was in January. The bass were in the prespawn mode," he says. "This tournament is very different. The nests that I've seen are empty and the bass are gone. They're obviously in the postspawn. That makes for a very different kind of tournament."


By different kind of tournament he explains that the bass are scattered and likely to be caught on a variety of lures and techniques. He believes anglers will be able to fish their strengths — at least as far as lures are concerned — and that it could be the type of tournament where a number of baits and techniques catch bass.


"Frankly I've had a good practice. I had 11 bites today (Tuesday) and at least two of them were real nice. I got bites on Senkos and other lures but that doesn't mean I'm confident. In fact, it's just the opposite. I don't feel good about my fish at all. This tournament has me worried. I don't think my fish will hold. I'm not sure where they are or why they're there."


Asked about winning weights, Omori is equally candid. Earlier he theorized that it would take at least 15 pounds a day to win. Now, he's backed that off to closer to 12 pounds.


"I've had a better look now. I don't think the fishery is that good."


Not that good, Tak?


"Yes, not that good," Omori says. "I don't mean this in a bad way but Florida bass fishing is overrated and so is the Kissimmee Chain. That's a fact. I'd say it's the most overrated fishing in the United States. The weather is warm all year so the fish feed whenever they want and the fishing pressure is intense.


"On top of that the lakes are basically big, shallow bowls and ponds that are full of weeds. The bass can be anywhere. They're hard to pattern and therefore hard to catch. It's just not as good as some people say it is."


Omori may get some disagreement about that but there can be no disagreement that the 2008 Citrus Slam will offer exciting bass fishing competition and a chance for any of the Elite Series anglers to win $100,000.


Citrus Slam follow-up: What happened with Omori?