The Reel Deal: Southern Open next week

Cody Deitweiler shows off a catch at last year’s Southern Open. Submitted Photo

Cody Detweiler shows off a catch at last year’s Southern Open. Submitted Photo

By Cindy Joint

The BassMaster Southern Open 2017 season kicks off next week up in Leesburg.

Pro Anglers and those with a dream of going pro will fish their hearts out on the Harris Chain of Lakes Thursday and Friday in hopes of making the top 12 to fish the final day Saturday.

The BassMaster Southern Open hasn’t been held on the Harris Chain since 2012. Last year the Tournament took place right here on West Lake Toho.

The field of anglers, from all over the country, will be made up of 200 boaters paired with 200 non-boaters each day. The winner on the boater side is guaranteed a spot in the 2018 Bass Masters Classic.

Last year, Cody Detweiler, son of Tracy and Mark Detweiler, the owners of Big Toho Marina, came literally within ounces of securing a spot in this years Bass Master Classic. Cody  had an impressive and unforgettable three-day 15-bass limit of 50 pounds, 3 ounces – just 2 ounces short of the winner, Wesley Strader.

Cody will be back with a vengeance this year. He will be fishing all three Southern and all three Northern Opens. Cody also has a new sponsor, Gatorland, for the new season. Keep your eye on this kid, he is determined to make it big!

Catch all the weigh-in action Thursday and Friday at 3 p.m. at the Ski Beach Park, off Lake Harris Drive in Leesburg.

The top 12 will weigh-in at Bass Pro Shops off International Drive in Orlando beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday.

… Space Coast Report with Brian Pounds of Southern Fishing Charters: The Mid to South Lagoon has been decent for tailing Redfish schools and over slot trout up to 29 inches. The best

bite seems to be late morning to early afternoon with the full moon approaching. Key is finding the birds working the schools.

Gulp or live shrimp have been working best.

… With the last cold front we had, the waters have dropped out big time! Be careful running some of the flats.

I’m finding things sticking out of the water I’ve never seen.

Most, I think, is some of the aftermath of the hurricane.

Enjoy your weekend fishing, wherever it may be. Tight lines, friends.