The other day I visited an ol' friend of mine who I haven't seen in several months: Joe Middleton of Blue Cypress Lake.
Joe has been around this area for many moons and has as many stories as you care to listen to. His tales are not just interesting, but almost unbelievable and recall what Indian River once was.
I met Joe Middleton several years ago in the Florida Bass Trail Tournament. We never fished together- always against each other. He is a tough competitor, a good fisherman and always helpful and generous.
Whenever you see him out on a lake, you could be sure there were fish in the area so don't lose sight of him. You want to stay in his vicinity for several reasons. You'd never have to worry about trying to find the boat ramp after a long day and -- more importantly -- he always knows where the fish are.
I can recall one tournament in which we were competing and I just kept sight of him all day. It seemed like every time I looked over his way, it seemed either he or his partner were netting yet another catch.
My partner and I were having a good time ourselves, but not as well as them. Now, in this type of tournament, there is a rule that states you may only keep a certain number of fish in your live well to be weighed.
If you are lucky enough to meet that limit, you can release the smallest fish and replace it with a larger one as the day proceeds.
The trick is to remember how many fish you have in your well, which seems easy, but is harder than it seems when you are catching fish as fast as 'all get out.'
If you have one too many, you are out! Disqualified! No questions asked, no excuses heard.
Well, you guessed it: Joe and his partner came in for the weigh-in and after they counted out their fish into the basket, lo and behold, there was one left in the live well that was not supposed to be there.
An official of the tournament was standing on the bank overseeing things. No questions, no excuses -- they were out. Disqualified! They would have won that tournament. So what happened? One partner thought the other one threw out the extra fish and the other partner thought the first had done it. Consequently, no one did anything. A real shame.
The bass are biting at Blue Cypress! Your best bet is spinner baits and Senkos.
Next time I'll talk about tournament rules and regulations.
Until then, enjoy, be safe and go catch a biggun!
Joe Kubik is a tournament fisherman and former charter captain. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org