Extensive Practice Lessons by Kyle Patrick

Extensive Practice Lessons by Kyle Patrick

April 13, 2022

Stop number one of the Bassmaster Southern Opens on the Kissimmee Chain of
lakes was a tournament we as bass fisherman look forward to all year. Its Florida
after all... Big Bass, Warm weather, and Flippin. Well as most tournament
anglers know nothing ever goes as you imagine it to. With constant cold fronts
coming through Florida creating record low temperatures throughout practice, it
made me change very quickly what I thought I was going to do. I found out that
the offshore bite was on fire. I spent most of practice graphing looking for isolated
clumps of hydrilla in 8-12 feet of water on Toho. It seemed like every clump I
graphed had at least 2 fish in it. The bigger the clump the harder it was to figure
out exactly where they were in it. So, I targeted very isolated clumps with hard
bottom around them. Each day of practice it seemed this bite was getting better
by the hour. I caught good fish in just about every hydrilla clump I graphed. I
would graph a stretch and then turn around a use my Garmin Live scope to see
what exactly was going on. I would throw a Jerk Bait and work it just over the
grass clump and watch the fish come out competing for the bait.

This weed clump bite stayed good all throughout practice. However, it seemed
like I could only get one bite out if each one on the jerk bait. However, I could still
see many fish surrounding the clump on my Panoptics. This allowed me to
experiment with other baits. These fish were very finicky after one fish was
caught. So, I found that moving to a finesse technique was a key factor in getting
the illusive roaming fish to eat. I narrowed my finesse technique down to a drop
shot with a short space between the hook and the weight as the fish were
hugged very tight to the bottom. I used a half ounce tungsten weight with a 1/0
cover shot hook paired with a 6.5 quiver worm in the bruised plum color. I used
15-pound braid to a 12-pound fluorocarbon leader to ensure that I could feel that
subtle bite and have enough power to bring in those bigger class fish. This
technique seemed to be very effective at picking off a few more fish after fishing
through the area with a jerk bait.

The jerk bait and drop shot combination was what I stuck with throughout
practice, and it didn’t seem as though my fish were going anywhere. I had over
60 weed clumps that all had fish in them when I checked on the last day of
practice. I was slightly worried before the tournament because there was a warm
front coming through that was going to push 80 plus degree weather into
Kissimmee Florida for days one and two of the tournament. However, I was not
planning on abandoning my deep pattern because I knew that not every fish was
going to move up shallow. I knew the shallow bite could be very good but also
very inconsistent.

Day one started off very well. All my spots had fish loaded on them. They were
far less aggressive but the quiver 6.5 did damage all day and I had a limit in the
boat by 9 AM. This settled me down and allowed me to fish somewhat more
freely. I was still concerned because all the fish I was catching we’re in the 2 to 3
pound range. All the 3 to 5 pounders were either not biting or not there at all.
Day 2 started off very poorly. I didn’t catch a fish until very late in the day. I stuck
with my deep bite for way too long without any bites. I could see these fish, but
they would not commit to anything. This finally made me push in shallow where I
threw an Ikes mini flipping jig in the softshell color paired with a mini d bomb
trailer hillbilly magic color. I used a white jig so I could see the jig on the beds I
was targeting. The females had not moved up, but the males were scattered
across the flats. Some of the males were locked on beds others were not locked
at all. I threw 20-pound fluorocarbon on this setup and caught 2 fish late in the

Here are three of the main things I learned from my extensive practice and the

First and foremost, never get too confident in a pattern especially in Florida. As
good as it may be these Florida fish move faster than any bass in the country.

Secondly, don’t get too focused on your electronics. As hard as that is to do
when you are seeing bass it takes away a lot of your senses. Being glued to
graphs isn’t always bad but when everything is changing it can distract you.

Lastly, changing angles when you are fishing offshore is a BIG DEAL. Many
people forget to change the angle of their boat when fishing offshore targets. I
didn’t do this nearly enough and it could have been a difference maker for me.