Wednesday, April 29, 2015

B.A.S.S. Southern Open, Alabama: Recap

The second event of the year was on the Alabama River in Prattville, Alabama. Prattville
was founded in 1833 and it was once home to the largest Gin Factory. There is a lot of history in the

But you know what is even more prominent in the south now, the hard fighting Spotted
Bass. They are a little different of a species of bass and their habits are quite different as well.
They love the strong current of the river and bite best when the current is so strong you can
barely hold your boat in position. There are largemouth as well and they live in the backwaters
and were looking to move up and spawn. They could be a major player in this event.

Practice was tough in the mornings but as Alabama power would generate (creates current) the bite would get pretty good. Definitely different fishing than I am used to. My practice partner, Aaron Richardson and I figured a little something out to catch the better spots (2.5-4 lbs) and I was ready to get the party started.

I was boat 177 on Day 1 so I had some time to think about my strategy. I was still unsure of where I wanted to start the tournament when they called my number, so I just went with my gut and headed south toward the largemouth. My instincts were right and I caught a good one in the first hour or so. The area was getting a lot of pressure so I left to chase the spots and filled out my limit. I was sitting in 48th after day 1 -- but just 1 lb out of the money. I just needed another solid day and I'd cash a good check and move on to the next one.

I was boat 6 on Day 2 and I made a huge mistake first thing, so here is my 'Tip of the Tournament' -- ALWAYS and I mean always follow your instincts. I knew the largemouth had been beat up on and the water came up a foot or so overnight and that would make them tough to catch. But I didn't follow my 'gut' and it cost me big. Just like I had thought the largemouth didn't bite very good and the spots did. I made the change around 10 but it was too late then, all my fishing spots had guys on them already and my timing was off.

All in all it was a great week though. I love the challenges of a new fishery. The only regret I have is not following my gut on Day 2. However these are the events that you must have in order to 'trust' your gut the next time. I definitely left Alabama with a smile on my face and I can't wait for the next event. Until then I will at the office making customer's fishing reels better and guiding on the famous Lake Okeechobee!

Monday, April 13, 2015

B.A.S.S. Southern Open, Alabama: Travel and Giveaway

Hey guys!

This week I'm on the trail again. This is the second of many contest this year as I travel and try to fish my way to the Bassmaster Classic.

The adventures take me to Prattville, Alabama. This is where the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers meet to form the Alabama River.

Hopefully I can catch some of those monster spotted bass that Alabama is famous for. Make sure you follow me on Facebook (Boca Jeff Brooks) to see photos and videos of my journey.

As part of all this excitement Boca Bearings will be giving away a new Pflueger Patriarch low profile bait casting reel souped up with Boca Bearing Orange Seals. Upgrades courtesy of my man Beau Reed at Papa Chops Reel Repair. Sign up here

Stay tuned on my Facebook to keep up to day in real time.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Boca Bearings Boat

Sent the boat to get a makeover this past weekend. Check it out.

She was sexy before ...

But she's even sexier now.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Florida Bass Nation High School Tournament

This past weekend I was off to Camp Mack for the third open event of the Florida Bass Nation High School series.

This was a last minute tournament so that we could qualify three (3) teams to the HS
National Championship in July instead of two (2). We had a total 15 teams in the HS division and five (5) in the youth division. The numbers were definitely down from our normal. We had our pre-tournament meeting Friday night at the Camp Mack stage.

We were greeted with 'chamber of commerce' weather for the event. As we launched the teams, it was anybodies guess who would take home the trophies. This event was a winner take all event. In the immortal words of Ricky Bobby -- "if you ain't first, you're last."

The weigh in started at 3 pm with the juniors. The team of Weigel and Goff continued their dominance and take home the victory and Goff takes home big fish honors. In addition to the trophies. They also received $25 gift cards from Bass Pro Shops. Those gift cards come in handy for those last minute tackle needs before a tournament.

As the High School division started to weigh in, it was apparent that is was a tough day on the water for all teams. The team of Jacob Siner and Cody Russell traveled all the way from Tallahassee to take home the victory for Chiles High School. Chiles HS has been close to victory before but never got one. Big fish honors went to Evan Weiber from George Jenkins HS in Polk County.

                                                                     Evan Weiber

Our next event will be the State Championship on Lake Okeechobee on May 30-31, 2015. We will be crowning our champions and send teams to the National Championship at Kentucky Lake in July. The teams will compete for scholarships and the event will be televised on ESPNU.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Fred Hall Fishing Trade Show: California Dreamin'

So this past week, I find myself in California for the Fred Hall show. For those of you who might not know what Fred Hall is; it is the largest consumer fishing trade show in the U.S. I have never been to California, so I was stoked.

Hollywood, CA

                                                                                   LAX: Los Angeles Airport

I flew into LAX on Monday and spent the afternoon cruising through Hollywood and then off to Malibu for dinner. Woke up Tuesday morning and headed to Long Beach. I checked into the hotel and then set up the booth. Back to LAX to pick up Ian Shields from Shields Reel Repair in Alabama. This show is so large that I definitely needed help to work the booth. For the next five days Ian and I worked 8-10 hours a day. An estimated 18000 people attend the show annually.

Fred Hall Show: Boca Bearings booth and tables

                                                                                 Ian Shields at the booth

I really enjoyed meeting our West Coast customers. I learned a lot about the types and styles of fishing that they do out West. You have your bass guys that chuck huge swimbaits for monster bass. Then you have your saltwater bass guys that fish for the Calico bass and of course your tuna guys. The area offers a wide range of opportunities to stretch your line.


Pacific Ocean

We wrapped up the show Sunday night at 7 p.m. and headed to LAX once again. We have dinner with my good friend Patrick Sebile at the LAX Hilton. Of course he gets recognized by the table next to us, which leads to a 20 minute conversation about fishing. After dinner, both Ian and I catch a red eye back to the East Coast.

                                                                                Patrick Sebile at LAX Hilton

Landed in West Palm, FL around 10 a.m. and head to the office to catch up. No rest for the weary. All in all, the show was a huge success and I can't wait for next year!!

See you out on the trail!


P.S. If you want regular updates on my travels, exclusive access to giveaways, or just general tips and advice, sign up for my newsletter HERE .

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

On The Trail's first stop, The Southern Open

My first event of the year was on Lake Toho on January 15-17. I was really excited about this event because I have had the chance to spend some time on the Toho/Kissimmee Chain in the last few years. I arrived at Camp Mack on Saturday night before the tournament.

A foggy sunrise over Camp Mack as I got ready to fish
Camp Mack is truly old Florida living nestled in the woods on the banks of the Kissimmee River. It is an excellent place to practice from because you are smack dab in the middle of the Kissimmee Chain. I watched the weather and it was supposed to get cold, so I practiced for what the fish do in Florida when its gets cold. I picked up the flipping stick and went to town. Practice was ok, I found some decent fish that should have cashed me a check. Best laid plans though.....

I was boat #196 on day 1. I ran 45 minutes one way to my spot in Kissimmee, to find that the fish had moved. I made the move from the outside grass lines to the inside and started catching fish, just not the right size. Day 2 was going to be different, I was boat #5 and nobody was going to get in my way. I was definitely swinging for the fences!! I pulled up to my first 2 spots to find anglers already on them. Needless to say, I didnt hit that homerun. I finished towards the bottom of the pack.

Lesson learned from this trip- Fish in the Moment, not the past. I did poorly because I had a preconceived notion how I was going to catch them. I didnt pay enough attention to the current conditions. I was in the areas on some of the top 12, I just didnt make the right adjustments. They caught their fish in the clean pad groups and I was fishing the pads with junk mats blown in them. The fish were already spawning and I was fishing a pre-spawn/cold weather pattern. Time to regroup for the next event- Alabama River in April.

Some days you catch em, some days you don't. But you always have
to remember to look around and appreciate the beauty around you. 
Remember to follow me on Facebook- BocaJeffBrooks.

See you out on the trail.

P.S. If you want regular updates on my travels, exclusive access to giveaways, or just general tips and advice, sign up for my newsletter HERE.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Cowboy Turned Angler

Welcome to 'On the Trail'. My name is Jeff Brooks, I run the fishing reel division at Boca Bearings and the High School/Youth program for B.A.S.S. in Florida.  I also fish the B.A.S.S. Southern Opens and the Florida Bass Nation, follow me as I try to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic! In addition to fishing tournaments, I emcee regional tournaments and I am a licensed USCG captain.

Jeff competes in tournaments throughout the southeast.

I grew up in the Midwest around horses and the outdoors. I moved here in 1997 and I fell in love with South Florida. After giving up the horses and rodeo lifestyle, I bought my first boat in 2002 and have never looked back. I knew that I wanted to do this for a living.

Jeff Brooks during his Rodeo days

Fast forward to 2014, after guiding full time for some time, I was fortunate enough to get hired by Boca Bearings to run the fishing reel division. A great company with a superior product that is relatively a 'secret' in the fishing community.

Jeff demos his superior technique during a children's Science Event with Boca Bearing Company 

That leads us to the Southern Opens and 'On the Trail'. Follow me and my adventures all year long, not only will I recap each tournament and give a few tips/secrets away, but you will learn about the local towns that I travel to and be entered into our numerous giveaways throughout the year. You will also get some insider information from some of the biggest events in the sport-The Bassmaster Classic, Fred Hall Show and Icast!

See you out on the trail!


P.S. If you want regular updates on my travels, exclusive access to giveaways, or just general tips/advice. Sign up for my newsletter HERE