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Bassmaster Southern Opens #1 Report - Off to a Solid Start!

Bassmaster Southern Open #1

Harris Chain of Lakes

An Open Tournament Report from Joey Nania

January 30, 2017

Over the past 6 years of my career fishing in Florida has been a common theme. Every year we kick off the season with a Florida event that can honestly make or break your Southern Open Series. It is critical to get off to a solid start and thankfully I came away finishing 39thout of 200 which should keep me in the hunt for a solid season in the points.

All of my equipment was critical as always and I want to thank each and every one of you for being a part of every bit of my success. The fishing was typical for spring in Florida with bass in all three stages from pre spawn, to spawn, with some fish actually already in a post spawn mode. I spent hours surveying the Harris Chain in my Mercury powered Nitro Z-20 equipped with Lowrance electronics and Power Poles. I chose to target fish in all three stages, catching fish on a 6th Sense Quake Lipless Crankbait, as well as on a Zman Project Z Chatterbait. For heavy cover I used a TFO Tactical Series 7’3” Heavy action baitcaster paired with a Quantum Tour Magnesium 7.0:1 spooled with 25 lb. Vicious Pro Elite Fluorocarbon line. That rigged with a June bug Zman Finesse Wormz Texas rigged on a 4/0 EWG Gamakatsu Superline with a 3/8 ounce Bass Pro Shops Tungsten bullet weight was my go to set up as the day progressed.  Definitely basic, it was very effective as it helped me cull up throughout both days of competition.

I was able to catch a big fish on day one along with several keepers on day two utilizing those baits for the first couple hours of the morning. After that I would work my way into the thick pad fields where all the magic was happening. Throughout the entire event the pads are where I lived as I picked apart each root system in the field. I used a very calculated approach utilizing the wind to drift me through the pads while I controlled myself using my Power Pole Blades. It allowed me to pick up fish that others had blown by or spooked and was extremely important to my pattern success. That and a lot of patience.

Having a solid start feels amazing and I’m now ready to hit the entire 2017 season running. Up next I’m working at several outdoor shows including the Bass Pro Shops Spring Fishing Classic at the Pyramid in Memphis and at the Little Rock store. If you are interested in me promoting anything specific at those events please let me know.

Joey Nania – Pro Bass Angler

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