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Michael Guiles
"hawghawler" - Guest Blogger

Chris Lane wins in Palatka

Guest Blog by: Michael Guiles 3/24/2014
This past weekend the Elite Series came to Florida and ran their tournament out of Palatka. They launched at 7:30 from the Palatka City docks and most made the long run south. I went out Thursday to the north end of Lake George to see if anyone would fish the lake. About 8:15 it started dart after dart flew by us, it was so exciting watching these boats running at almost 80 mph. Most of the 108 pros decided the Lake George area was the place to be and they were right. In one small 50 acre area on the lake I counted 40 plus boats fishing, there was of coarse a few spectators like myself sitting outside the area. We saw fish after fish being caught, it didn't take long before most of them were culling the smaller fish out. We talked to a few of the anglers when they passed by, so I checked out how they did after weigh-in, most had between twelve and nineteen pounds.

I haven't spent many hours fishing on Lake George but now I know where to try in the future. This was not the area that Chris Lane was fishing though. After watching the pros for a few hours and running to different areas on the lake we decided to try some fishing of our own, away from the pros back in the river. Here is how we knew Chris was not on the big lake, as we were fishing a spot in the river in a slow zone a couple of pros went by to go weigh in and one of them happened to be Chris Lane in his Power Pole sponsored ride. I recognized him because he signed a hat for me a couple of years ago when ICAST was here in Orlando. Hopefully I will get that opportunity again in the near future.

After seeing all the fish caught Thursday I decided on Friday to check out the weigh-in at the Palatka City docks. Chris was one of the earlier anglers to weigh in his fish and set the bar high. That's when I saw it, his 37 pound one day five fish total (picture below). This was the biggest sack of the tournament and I really wanted to know where he caught them. Even with all the big fish he had, there were bigger fish coming to the scales that day, I saw three that were over ten pounds. Very impressive catches came on day two to put the cut down from 108 to 50 boats at over 28 pounds. Check out the Florida photo gallery to see some pros and their big fish.

I decided on Friday that Saturday was going to be another day out on the water. We went out early and laid in wait at the mouth of Lake George so I could see them coming. We decided to fish around while we were waiting and caught a couple on a ribbit frog. Then around 8:30 here comes a group of boats out of the north. We chose to get a head start because we knew they could out run us if they wanted. But as true professionals they obeyed all the slow zones and ran the 30 mph zones at what I am sure was a snails pace for these big boats. This gave us the opportunity to set up where we expected Chris to pass. He showed up as expected and we watched for a while seeing what baits he was throwing and how he was fishing. It was quite the education, he didn't catch another 37 pounds but a little over 19 was not bad at all. Below is a picture of Chris fishing and a quick thumbs up as he took off. Chris Lane won the tournament with just over 90 pounds of bass caught in four days. I know where he fished and I am sure it will help me in future tournaments on the river. I'd like to tell you where we saw him but then I wouldn't have an advantage.
Mike has been fishing for 50 years. The first 16 years of fishing was for trout in the streams of Massachusetts. At 22 he moved to Florida for work and took up a whole new type of fishing “saltwater”. For the next several years he learned in-shore and off-shore fishing techniques. There was also the occasional shrimping expedition. At the tender age of 40 Mike then found even another form of fishing “Bass Fishing”. Chasing this elusive predator became Mike’s latest obsession. His motto is "I'd rather be fishing".
Blog content © Michael Guiles