At the end of the second week of a three week trip to Lake Tohopekaliga in central Florida I’d say that I’ve explored a good part of the four connected lakes that we’ll be permitted to fish on during the tournament that starts this coming Thursday. I’ve been bass fishing just about every day except for one I spent getting my boat trailer tires replaced and brakes repaired and another I spent with my cousin Karen Denise and her husband Bob at their riverfront home in Tequesta Florida near West Palm Beach. We’d planned to go saltwater fishing but high winds nixed that idea so we had a nice visit and enjoyed a delicious lunch at a nice restaurant. I ordered the Snapper St. Jean, which was described as “lightly fried snapper filet on a bed of wilted spinach, topped with lump crabmeat and a hollandaise sauce”. I’ve eaten a lot of good fish in my day, but that had to be the best.

It’s a good thing I came down early so the problems that have come up could be addressed. On the fourth day one of my trailer tires blew out and wrapped around the axle, ripping out the brake lines that operate the trailer brakes. This happened on a long narrow road while returning from a day on Lake Kissimmee. It was just getting dark and when it happened I was thinking it’d be a while before supper, but luckily a young couple stopped by and changed the tire with a floor jack and tools they had with them. They were really nice and I wanted to give them $20. I only had a $100 bill but they were happy with the $25 Kohl’s gift card I had received for Christmas.

The weathers been nice most days with temperatures in the 70’s and even 80’s and wildlife is everywhere. On the ride to see my cousin I saw several flocks of Florida turkeys and lots of deer, and sadly a black bear and her two cubs that had been struck by a vehicle. While out fishing on Kissimmee the other day I had worked my way back into a swampy shallow bay where the fish were spawning. I suddenly became aware that an alligator was sunning close enough that I could touch it with my eight foot fishing rod, it was kind of spooky especially when I realized there were 9 more alligators within a 30 yard circle of my boat. Luckily they didn’t get to tell their readers about the delicious leg roast they enjoyed. There have been several otters around too and I saw a giant snake that might have been one of the boas or anacondas that live in the swamps here after being released into the wild by pet owners when they got too big for home cages. Fishing has been really good with my biggest bass weighing just under 7 pounds. I’ll wait until the tournament starts to catch the 12 pounders.

Area fishing reports and tournament updates – I haven’t seen many Kerr Lake fishing reports recently. The 2018 “Ice Bowl Catfish Tournament” is this weekend on January 27th launching from Occoneechee State Park so there will be some catfish landed.

Next week’s report - Results from the Ice Bowl catfish tournament on Kerr Lake and the day 2 standings from the Bassmaster Eastern Open on Lake Toho in central Florida. If I’m doing well enough to be competing next Saturday (made the day 2 cut) I’ll send in a short (the 3 words “I made it”)) column. If not I’ll send a regular column.

Tip of the week – Replace load range “C” tires on your bass boat trailer with “D”’s. You’ll have a better ride and be less likely to have a blow out on a long trip.

Contact the writer by email at waltbowen@yahoo.com