What a difference a week makes

Jan. 11, 2014 @ 07:19 PM

In less than one week I went from catching 2 to 4 pound bass on Lake Okeechobee in Florida while wearing sandals, shorts and a T-shirt, to thawing out a frozen water line while wearing insulated coveralls, a toboggan and heavy gloves. If only time could stand still.

Susan and I had one of the best trips we’ve ever been on, spending the week after Christmas fishing on Lake Okeechobee near Clewiston, Fla. from daylight until dark.

Actually I fished while Susan took wildlife photos. We saw lots of alligators and hundreds of beautiful birds. One morning we saw a giant swamp rabbit hop down to the water’s edge, the biggest rabbit we’ve ever seen.

Most days the temperature topped out at around 80, which made it very difficult to come back home to these winter freezes.

Scott Martin, a professional bass angler and son of the famed Roland Martin, spent a few minutes talking to me about fishing when I ran across him one morning in his dad’s tackle shop beside the lake.

Everyone we met was really nice, especially the hundred or so Canadian retirees camping at the Okeechobee Landings campground. They are called snowbirds because they travel south for the winter, most of them spending the summer at home in Quebec and then wintering in Florida.

After a week of fishing and exploring we made the beautiful drive to Key West, stopping along the way to take in a beautiful sunrise in Key Largo. Susan and I enjoyed the museums and shops in Key West.

After a day of walking we took a rickshaw ride (a bicycle with a pony cart rear end) and were shown the oldest houses in town and many other interesting sights. The seafood in Key West was great but a little pricey, as was the campground, which is reported to be the most expensive in the world. One night in a tiny waterfront site was almost $150, which is why we only stayed one night.

After driving a total of 2,175 miles round trip we were ready for some rest when we returned home late on Saturday, Jan. 4.

As usual we had no problems with our 2007 Chevrolet Duramax diesel truck with almost 150,000 miles. While it was great to get home and spend time with our grandson that Sunday, it sure would have been nice to hang out with the Canadian snowbirds until April or so.

Kerr Lake fishing report – The big blue cats are still biting on Kerr Lake. Largemouth should be huddled up tight in schools at about 20 to 25 feet deep, and if you can find them a blade bait or jigging spoon can provide some great catches, along with some stripers and catfish for the table.

Upcoming area tournaments – No bass tournaments I can find around here until February. There are a few scheduled in Florida if you want to take a ride.

The annual Virginia vs North Carolina Ice Bowl catfish tournament is scheduled for Jan. 25 on Kerr Lake and will be launching out of Occoneechee State Park landing in Clarksville Va.

Next week’s report – Striper and largemouth bass fishing report from Kerr Lake.

Tip of the week — Try adding a few drops of Anise extract to a bag of plastic worms the night before you go fishing. Bass will hold on longer and bite better. It smells like licorice and can be found in the spice department of most grocery stores.

Contact the writer by email at waltbowen@yahoo.com, on Facebook under Walt Bowen, and on Twitter at @WaltBowen.