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What Happened?Takahiro Omori on Kissimmee Chain

5/7/2008

Citrus Slam preview: A Pro's Approach with Takahiro Omori

"First of all I want to say that I was frustrated when I said that Florida bass fishing, and the Kissimmee Chain, were overrated," Omori says regretfully. "I was having a tough time, a bad day. I was wrong to make that statement. There are a lot of bass in Florida and Kissimmee is full of good ones.

"The truth is that Florida is a tremendous bass fishery. It can get tough sometimes because of the pressure, and the bass are very sensitive to changing weather patterns. But there's pressure because it's a good place to go bass fishing. And we can't do anything about the weather or how the fish react to it."

Along with the overrated comment, Omori, winner of six professional tournaments including the 2004 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Wylie and the 2005 Florida Bassmaster Tour Pro event on Kissimmee, originally said that he'd had a good practice but didn't feel good about his fish. He went on to candidly explain that he didn't know where the bass were or why they were there and that he was worried about his fish.

He wasn't kidding.

On Day 1, Thursday, he caught a bass. It weighed 12 ounces. That put him in 109th place, dead last. On Friday his luck improved, sort of. He caught a limit that weighed 8 pounds, 2 ounces. That moved him into 100th place, nowhere near the cut.

He had further theorized before the tournament that his fellow competitors would be able to catch bass with a variety of lures and techniques, that no one bait or pattern would prevail. He predicted that most of his competitors would be able to fish their strengths, at least as far as lure choice was concerned.

He wasn't kidding about that either.

The top five slots were filled with anglers fishing lipless crankbaits, bottom hugging plastics, swimming plastics, topwater frogs, tube baits on bedding bass, and swimming jigs. They all did their thing and it worked for them; 6 pounds, 4 ounces separated first place from fifth place. (See Kissimmee Chain: How they did it)

And his original weight prediction was very close, too. He first predicted it would take 15 pounds per day to win. KVD took first place with 59 pounds, 7 ounces. (To be fair, however, he later backed his prediction down to "closer to 12 pounds.")

In short he was right about darn near everything he said, including his worries about his fish.

"I'm not going to make any excuses. I had a really bad week," he says. "I wasn't able to put a pattern together to catch them. I ended up looking for bass all over the place during the tournament. You don't win against Elite Series anglers doing that. I said before the tournament started that I wasn't confident about them. That turned out to be exactly what happened. I make no excuses.

"But I am serious about correcting what I said about Florida and Kissimmee. They're both tremendous bass fisheries. It's the pressure and weather that sometimes make them tough, not the bass populations."

Citrus Slam preview: A Pro's Approach with Takahiro Omori