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InsideLine – Hawk Talk – Toho Southern Open

Category : HAWK TALK

After an enjoyable “off-season” guiding and spending time with family and friends over the holidays, I was anxiously anticipating the first event of the 2015 season. I’d never fished Lake Toho before, so after digging through prior tournament results I felt either fishing off-shore on Toho or flipping and pitching vegetation on Kissimmee (which would require locking and less fishing time) offered the best opportunity to win.  I’ve built a lot of confidence pitching a heavy weight into vegetation over the past few years, so I decided to dedicate most of my practice fishing Kissimmee’s vegetation.

hawk-jan01I always pay close attention to the wind in Florida, because it can quickly trash an unprotected area making it almost impossible to catch fish.  The forecast called for low northeast winds for the three day official practice period then shift to the northwest for the tournament, but no more than 10 mph.  With this in mind I made sure to focus on areas that offered at least some protection from a north to northeast wind up to 10 mph and settled on the Jack’s Slough area on the southeast side of Kissimmee.

The first practice morning I started at the mouth of Jack’s Slough working my way south fishing the different layers of vegetation.  After fishing through the outside Kissimmee grass line and working my way toward the bank I noticed the majority of my bites were coming in the pads and hydrilla in 2-5 feet of water.  The amount of vegetation on Kissimmee is overwhelming, so I wanted to focus on the zone my bites were coming from to be as efficient as possible.  I ended the day with seven bites—all pitching the heavy weight.  I shook all but one of my bites and the one I hooked was a 3 1/2 pounder.  I felt I had a productive first day and decided to stick with the same game plan on day two.

Read the rest of the article over on the InsideLine online magazine

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