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