Winning Baits

How Skeet Reese won at Okeechobee.

The MLFLW Pro Circuit has more hammers than a Home Depot, including some kid from Cali named Skeet “no other first name” Reese. Here’s how he chased down his Big O victory:

Practice

> “Going into it I was figuring out how win it, same as any tournament. But trying to win on Okee for me is kind of a longshot. Not knowing the little nuances, nooks and crannies, backwaters…feel like it could be won in multiple areas.

> “2 days of practice…not much. I tried to get to as much of the lake as I could….

> “The 1st day I spent the whole day south. I pulled into an area I stumbled across in the morning – my 1st bite was a 4, then I caught a 2.5, then got rid of my hooks and had 7-8 more bites…. I thought, At least I found 1 spot so far….

> “That was 8:00 in the morning…not another bite til 4:00 in the afternoon…wound up being the area where I won. I came across it late in the day…got in the area and kind of fished around, maybe had 8-10 bites in the last hour of the day. No big bites….

> “Day 2 I went north…West Wall, North Shore [area] minus Monkey Box and Harney Pond – I tend not to fish that area because that’s where the most boats are. But once I got up [there]…1 million boats.

> “It was really slow at first, but I finally got in a little area where I had a few bites. Some boats around but some fish around…. I knew I’d have to put the trolling motor down and fish my butt off to try to manufacture bites in that area.

> “…little pocket…no hooks – I had 2 bites that felt big, and caught one on a bladed jig that looked like a 6-7 lber. …not many bites…just knew I’d found another area.

> “I was just going to let the weather, the wind, determine whether I went north or south. With the winds being out of the south the 1st day of competition – the wind had been stable out of the south – plus better conditions and less boat traffic, I chose to go down south day 1.”

Tournament

> “Day 1 I went to the spot I found the very first morning of practice, hoping for that morning bite…was really slow [and smaller fish], not what I was hoping.

> “I decided to go to the next area I had bites, just to go fish and see what happens. I started running isolated clumps of reeds and tules, and started getting bit. I caught a limit real quick and started culling

> “I had about 15-16 lbs fishing there til about 3:30. On my way back I thought I might as well stop where I started that morning to see if there’s an afternoon bite. I got on my sweet spot and caught another 4-lber, a nice way to end the day.”

> Day 2: “Same deal, started on my morning spot, did not get a bite. I didn’t stick around near as long. I ran over to [the other spot] and started fishing around…definitely much slower than the day before. I noticed that the wind was picking up a little more too.

> “I was just fish super thorough and super slow, pitching to every nook and cranny I thought fish might be spawning in. I caught a limit and 1 big one, an 8-08 – that made a big difference.

> “The wind actually started to blow really hard, so I decided to go into a little canal…bladed jig on wind-blown banks, some spatterdock…caught a 5-lber.”

> “Day 3 was sloooow. A slow painful grind. Not having anything else really to fish and with the wind blowing harder, I figured the northern stuff was probably getting trashed…just fish what I know….

> “I fished thoroughly as best I could – had 3 fish up til 3:00, a 5 and 2 keepers. Finally late in the day I moved around and got on some new, fresh water I hadn’t fished since the 1st day of practice. I wound up catching a 4-lber and couple more in the last 15-20 minutes of the day. That saved me.

> “It was a real struggle – 6-7 fish total, half in last 15 minutes of the day, so I didn’t leave there brimming with confidence that I’d go back there the next day and catch ’em. I thought, Maybe there’s no fish left….

> “Day 4 the wind was still blowing…go south anyway [and there was just a] little breeze – it wasn’t blowing hard. I popped 2-3 pretty quick…made a little adjustment, went across [a little bay] and got on the wind-blown bank. A couple shiner boats were fishing there all week long [but he hadn’t]. That’s when the whackfest went down – 27 lbs in an hour.

> “Almost every bite I had was a big one. I broke off a 5-6, lost another that size, then caught 2 5s, then another 5, then a 7…big ones were chewing.

Baits

He fished in 3-4′ with isolated reed/tule clumps the best:

> “Just isolated stuff. There’s a hard line, then isolated stuff around it. Most of the fish were related to the spawn. I’m not sure if they were moving up to spawn there or moving back to go farther in.”

> Flippin: 6″ Berkley PowerBait The General (not MaxScent – “I started with junebug, ran out of them, then used Skeet’s Green Money, and caught some on b/b”), 5/0 straight shank hook, 1/4-oz weight with no wind and 1/2-oz with wind, 25-lb Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon, Abu REVO Rocket Reel, 8′ prototype Reese Fishing Rods flip stick (not on the market yet).

> Bladed jig: 1/2-oz (gp) with a Berkley PowerBait The Deal (gp), 7′ M rod, 15-lb Berkley Trilene 100% fluoro, Abu REVO Reel.

> The Deal trailer, which he designed: “It swims unlike anything else. I designed it to be vertical with a twin-action tail – the tails counteract each other where most other tails are single-action. I took the concept from the Pit Boss. When you look at The Deal in the water…way more action than any other bait.”

More

> Electronics were “not a factor” beyond mapping.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Gitcha Bassin' Fix

To Top