Major League Fishing pros headed out on the vast and beautiful Harris Chain of Lakes in Leesburg, Florida to kick off the Favorite Fishing Stage Three this morning. The eight individual lakes of the Harris Chain covering over 75,000 acres of water offer a myriad of ways Bass Pro Tour anglers can target scoreable bass this week.

While it’s hard to know what to expect in terms of presentations, techniques, or bait selection; one thing MLF pros anticipate is strong winds from the east these first two days of competition.

“The winds have been blowing hard out of the east since we got here,” James Elam said. “It’s not dangerous or anything, but it definitely limited the areas you could effectively fish in practice. The wind has churned up the water in a lot of spots I thought could be good and affected the water quality.”

The Oklahoma native and longtime Toyota Bonus Bucks member said the easterly winds will have both fish and anglers bunched up in certain areas on the Harris Chain. Something Elam and the rest of the Major League Fishing pros are used to in the sunshine state.

“Florida fisheries always seem to fish small,” Elam said. “But I don’t get too worried if I’m fishing around other anglers down here. If the fish are there, sometimes you have to be willing to fish around a crowd.” 

Sure some areas will be negatively affected by turbulent water due to the steady winds, but the same breeze will undoubtedly turn other areas and groups of fish on like a light switch.

Kevin VanDam has made millions of dollars throughout his career capitalizing on this type of scenario. KVD plans on leaning into the wind, using his equipment to help deal with what Mother Nature throws at him and his fellow competitors.

“It’s all about the grass down here in Florida. Whether it’s Kissimmee grass and lily pads around the shoreline or the offshore eelgrass and hydrilla,” VanDam explained. “Taking advantage of the Minn Kota Raptors, electronics, and spot lock capabilities on my boat are going to be key in all this wind.”

VanDam relies on these tools because they give him the ability to make pinpoint casts and presentations to fish keying in on subtleties in the aquatic vegetation. Shallow water anchors like Power Poles and Raptors always play an important role for anglers when fishing in Florida, and that’ll be no different for Major League Fishing pros on the Harris Chain this week.