After winning this tournament twice in three years, let me start by saying I have a warm and fuzzy feeling for the event. This year the format changed. Instead of a Pro Am the tournament is now a team format. It really didn’t matter to me. I’ve got plenty of friends who love to fish Florida lakes that I can call in a pinch.
Matt and I love to flip, so our game plan going into practice was to remain focused and just have fun with it. Persistence paid off and we were able to locate a few key areas holding quality fish that we leaned on heavily during competition.
On day one our plan was simple, to catch everything that bit and stay focused fishing. We were pleasantly surprised that within the first hour we bagged a 15-pound limit, which at the end of the day landed us in 8th place.
On the second day of competition the bites did not come as fast and furious as the previous day. We adjusted and move around to secure a 17-pound limit, which move us into 3rd place sealing a spot in the Top 10.
The final day of competition the weights were zeroed and everyone started from scratch. We elected to fish in an area that we located during practice on Kissimmee Lake. We were optimistic that if things went well we had a real chance of winning. We fished one area the entire day catching a lot of numbers, but we were minus the Kissimmee giant that we felt we needed to win.
Weigh-in proved to be a real nail bitter with the weights lower than the previous days and to close to call. The majority of teams had struggled through out the day trying to locate quality fish. Our final day weight of 12.50 was just enough to inch out my old friend Terry Scroggins’ team by a little over an ounce to clinch the win for us. I’m certain that sometime in the future he’ll pay me back, but right now I’m going to bask in the victory.
Our main “go to” baits for the event were Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver in Christmas Pumpkin and Hematoma. We paired these baits on a 1 3/8-ounce Tungsten weight with 65-pound Spider Wire Ultra Cast braid and 7′ 11″ heavy flipping sticks.
The Great Outdoors Days capped off with the Angling Against Cancer Benefit Tournament on Sunday. I was paired with a longtime supporter, Nancy Smith. Nancy also competed in the Lake Toho Challenge and finished 12th. We had a great day and caught fish a lot of different ways, but were only able to weigh-in a little over 9-pounds.
A special thanks to Terry Seagraves who runs a great event and supports a much needed cause.