Bass Slowed By Unseasonable Cold On Lake Okeechobee As Anglers Prepare For Flw Open

FrogTape Pro Brian Travis is hoping for some warm weather for the FLW Open on Okeechobee

Bass fishing in Florida is either hot or cold. When it’s hot, it’s hot. When the weather is cold the fishing is cold.Pro angler Brian Travis is eying the weather reports and hoping the winter chill that has settled across the Southeast, including Florida, is replaced with some warmer weather by the first FLW Open tournament of the year Feb. 3-6 on Lake Okeechobee.

“I’ve been down here since Wednesday two weeks ago and practiced the last three days before the cutoff began,” Travis said. “Fishing was tough. A cold front came through and dropped the temperature about 10 degrees. I talked to some guys those three days and nobody was catching a whole lot.”

Travis said he could see places where bass had already been up bedding, so there had been some spawning going on already.”

Then conditions changed, Travis said, while he was in Orlando appearing for his main sponsor, Frog Tape, at a national sales show for the paint producer, Sherwin Williams.

“Last week after the cutoff the temperature got up into the mid-70s and close to 80 degrees all week and the nights were warm, too, in the upper 50s and close to 60 degrees. I am sure that water warmed back up and they were laying everywhere.”

But, just as quickly as things change, they can change back, he noted.

“Through next Friday it is supposed to be very cool here in Orlando and I am sure there is not much difference in the temperature from here to Clewiston which is only about 2 ½ hours south. I was looking at the extended forecast and it is shaping up to be another cold front. So the fish are not going to be where they should be.”

However, he noted, that the tournament is nearly two weeks away and the weather could change again.

“The beauty of this place is that it warms up really quick if we get two days in the 70s and it’s not cold at night. Hopefully, that will happen the Monday of the week of practice or at least when the tournament starts.”

If the weather does stay colder than normal, Travis said he would not look for sight fish during practice before the tournament.

“I’ve got areas marked and if they move up shallow I can go to them. I am going to be flipping if the cold conditions prevail,” he said.

Although he had a pretty good year on the FLW circuits in 2010, Travis said he is seeking a little redemption at Okeechobee.

“Last year I had my ups and downs. I did not cash a check in the FLW Series last year and that bothered me because I finished 10th in the points the year before, so I have some work to do in the Opens this year and that’s why I want to start out good on Okeechobee.”

While he seeks redemption for the FLW Series, now the FLW Opens, Travis had a banner year on the FLW Tour in 2010 – his second year on the top circuit – making the top four at Lake Norman, finishing 33rd in the points for the year and capping it with a 15th place at the Forrest Wood Cup. He’s also added to his list of sponsors, signing a clothing deal with Dickies just last week.

But now all his focus is on the weather and what it might do to the bass in Okeechobee for the FLW Tour Open next week.

Florida bass get a big head start on spawning over their cousins located in waters even just a little to the north. But even a little cold snap will put them back out in the deeper water and make them sullen.

“Florida fish do not react like northern strain fish. These fish are so temperamental that when the water gets cold they bury up and don’t want to do anything. It’s hard to even catch them flipping then for me,” he said.

“It could be a good tournament or it could be a tough one, depending on the weather. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hope for warmer weather.”


FLW Tour Open

February 3-6, 2011

Lake Okeechobee

Roland & Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort