You can add Greg Watts’ name to a short list of professional anglers that are now splitting their time between bass and redfish circuits. While chasing redfish with artificial lures is very much akin to ferreting out pot bellied bass, there remains a learning curve that he readily embraces.

“My brother Bryan and I have bass fished back home for years, “said the Florida native in between casts with a lipless crankbait, “it’s the different patterns and techniques unique to the designated lakes on this circuit that present the biggest challenge.”

“It was also no easy task finding a circuit with tournament dates that did not conflict with my redfish circuit dates,” he added. While his fishing time will be stretched thin at best, the Bassmaster Open Central Division agenda proved to be the most compromising choice. Watts will certainly not have to overcome the “wow factor” that stymies the efforts of most cast for cash bass fishermen throughout their first year of fishing a major circuit. He has already been there and done that at the highest level. The Watts brothers have proven to be one of those elite teams that you know you have to beat in order to win a major redfish event anywhere on the coast.
They have won both individual events and team championships on the three major circuits and have no intention of letting up.

Handling the pressure and the countless hours on the road and water that it takes to succeed are old hat for this personable pro.

Thursday morning I met up with Jim Franklin and Greg on Toledo Bend and spent a very enjoyable day helping them piece together a pattern. Franklin, born and raised in Orange, dominated the Troutmaster circuit for years and has enjoyed much the same success in Redfish team events as well. He, too, won a team of the year title on the prestigious Redfish Cup circuit where he first met Greg and Brian Watts.

He says that he is taking the next two years off to enjoy his son’s high school baseball career, but I am betting he figures a way to squeeze in a tournament or two. He loves to compete! The early morning scene at the Six Mile boat ramp was amusing to say the least. Smack in the middle of all of these high performance custom wrapped bass boats rushing to launch was an equally impressively wrapped Sterling Shearwater flats boat. More than one head turned as they searched for the name of the owner on the side of the Dodge truck wrapped in matching colors and decals. Dual Power-Poles flanking the 250hp E-tech engine attracted more than a little interest as well. Franklin was certainly no stranger to bass fishing on Toledo Bend, but as far as the bass pros waiting to launch were concerned, he was just one of the aliens invading their space in this very different looking boat. Regardless of where we fished during the day, the sleek flats boat consistently drew double takes from passing anglers.

We had a perfect day to fish ahead of the cold front and found some nice fish, but that information will have to remain a secret for now. Greg will put the final touches on his game plan the early part of the week before blasting off out of Cypress Bend Thursday morning. The Bassmaster Central Open is scheduled for the fifth through the seventh.

He needs to install a depth finder on the bow prior to blasting off, but he definitely will not be taking a backseat to the more popular bass boats. His Shearwater has an incredible ride in rough water, runs over 70 mph and draws only 11-inches of water. That said, I’d be willing to bet that his co-angler will be at least mildly surprised when he meets him at the ramp!

I had forgotten how nice it is to be able to hide from the wind and still catch fish. That is a luxury that you do not enjoy when fishing Sabine lake. It will be interesting to see what we are left with this week after two days of brutal north winds. It had to help the water clarity a little as we suffered through four straight days of gale force south winds prior to the front!