Thursday, May 30, 2019

Warriors Raptors Matchup

The NBA Playoffs starts tonight with the Golden State Warriors defending the title against the Toronto Raptors in a match up that almost all have Golden State favored. Because I believe the odds are correct I'll highlight the Raptors weakness's that will stand out against the Champs.

The match up will be a first in some time for the Raptors as they can be seen as a new team from previous years where they made the playoffs but fell short when favored to win. Against the Sixers they started to look like that team who would fold under pressure when plan A or Plan B doesn't work. But they surprised me by digging deep and taking it to 7 games and winning when they needed to.

Against the Bucks though they showed quite a few weakness's that will get exposed in this series.

The Raptors do not have a complex offensive scheme. I would compare it to any of the higher level college run offense's in that they care more about how many players touch the ball more than match up advantages or disadvantages. They want to run a slow offense that limits possessions, walking the ball up the court and trying to catch a defensive player getting caught helping the weak side of the ball.

There is some pick and roll but because their bigs are extremely slow they are limited to pick and fade with the big man setting up at the 3 point line. Against the Bucks this worked because their bigs can't extend to help at the 3 point line. This scenario against the Warriors will force quite a few bad shots and turnovers due to bad passes.

Sure, the Raptors can run when given a turnover but that's about it. Their walk it up style will make the possession numbers heavily favor the Warriors meaning Golden State could shoot 8 percent below what the Raptors do and still win.

On the Defensive side, the Raptors do show a good switch defense at the corners but at the top of the key they get lost. This problem will mean drives to the lane which will be wide open. Once the corners come to help, 3 shooters at the corners will go to work.

The Raptors also believe in collapsing at the rim to stop layup drives. Every Warrior player can drive as a point guard and then make the right pass out of a collapsing defense. Expect the Raptors to be chasing the ball quite a bit in the first half until they give up on that game plan.

The Raptors shot a relatively good percentage against the Bucks but had trouble getting past 100 points. That doesn't point to a strong defense by the Bucks. It means the Raptors are turnover prone, slow paced and deliberate on possessions.

Finally, the Raptors set up as a Eastern Conference team that favors size at the 4 and 5 have a massive problem. Too many bigs who can't switch or come out to defend the 3. Any advantage Gasol will have shooting a 3 on offense will be a liability on defense.

I've got the warriors winning in 5 only because Golden State tends to get bored and need to feel like they are against it sometimes so they lose big on 1 game.



Thursday, May 2, 2019

Houston's Defensive Plan Against Golden State

With all of the hype going around about Kevin Durant's MVP performance throughout the NBA playoffs its easy to miss the obviousness of Houston's game plan and why it hasn't worked so far, nor will it work to win the series. 

It's so obvious it's embarrassing that I am the first to point it out.

In the Warriors first series against the Clippers the plan was to prevent Durant from getting any kind of rhythm thus making others around him carry the load. Mainly Draymond Green and Andre Iquodala once Demarcus Cousins got hurt.

The thought process wasn't terrible because neither Green or Iguodala are known as scorers. Rather they are more inclined to distribute, play strong defense and rebound. 

The problem was that with that game plan it meant they would accept Curry and Thompson scoring which as we now know, was a bad idea.

So, here comes Houston with the new and improved game plan learned from the mistakes of the previous series.

They have chosen to limit scoring from Curry and Thompson using ball pressure and tight man to man defense. On switches, the Rockets wont use a lineup that avoids mismatches because they believe Capella's presence is needed on the defensive side and for offensive rebounds. My belief is that it's more about the offensive rebounds because Houston doesn't shoot high percentage shots leaving the need for an offensive rebounder. 

With all the obvious weakness's in Houston's defense it wouldn't surprise me if Mike D'Antoni came into the series hoping to keep pace with the Warriors and win close games at the end. When a team has so many weakness's it becomes hard to hide players or keep another offense from targeting them.

Add to their problems on defense is the belief that by allowing Durant to score two pointers, Houston could outscore them with the 35 3's they shoot per game. IF it was any other team maybe this would have a chance. But it isn't any other team.

The Warriors don't use the entire 24 second clock and believe in having more offensive possessions per game than their opponents. 

They add to offensive success by shooting high percentage shots that come from a team concept of moving the ball to find the open player. 

When a team chooses to accept letting a player move freely on offense, get to his spots, create opportunities for other players it will always fail as opposed to using team defense with every player needing to communicate and dictate an opponents drive. 

This isn't the Houston Rockets make up and is why they will never make it to the NBA Finals with James Harden or Chris Paul on the team. They are great players. They aren't what's needed to win a Championship.

The proof is in how Houston closed the gap to the Warriors when Harden came out for his injury. It was a different team that played as a unit. Not 5 individuals.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Terence Crawford VS Amir Khan

Normally, I would only use this Blog as a way to post updates about what clients are catching or some useful fishing tips.

But as of late I have found myself analyzing the different sports I watch along with the athletes who I believe to be some of the best ever.

This post will cover the upcoming ESPN Pay Per view Terence Crawford fight vs Amir Khan. It's an interesting choice for Terence "Bud" Crawford to make as Amir Khan isn't a marquee name any longer nor does he pose any real threat to Crawford's title.

Sure, Amir Khan fans will jump to the conclusion that I'm a hater but that isn't accurate of any athlete I analyze. And is no different in the case of Amir.

Lets look at the fighters to see how I got to my conclusion.

Terence Crawford is one of the highest risk takers in the ring that I have seen as of late. Others will brawl which can be seen as taking risks but in Buds case, he isn't looking to trade punches instead looking to create an opening or cause a mistake he can capitalize on via constant pressure on offense.

Triple G follows the same tactic but openly acknowledges that he believes in the Mexican style of taking punches rather than avoid them.

Bud has adopted traits from some of the absolute best fighters without committing to any one aspect of their style. Much like Bruce Lee did, he has taken what he believes to be the best of other styles and master them and then incorporated it into his own style.

Who has he adopted traits from?

Sweet Pea Pernel Whitaker is one of the first I recognize in his style. When an opponent comes forward Bud uses a step back that isn't straight up but actually dips a bit under the opponent and then counters. It creates space and time so that his vision sees everything coming at him and slows it down. The best counter I ever saw was his fight against Jose Benavidez Jr. In one motion, Bud hesitates, looks down and sees the cross uppercut about to come and counters with his own. To have that skill to actually look down and see his hand is a step above what everyone else is doing.

Floyd Mayweather. Bud might not ever acknowledge this one but its obvious his shoulder roll come from Mayweather and comes out in a similar manner. He only does it sparingly but it shows his understanding of when and where to incorporate it. I also believe his check right hook out of the southpaw stance comes from Mayweather as it follows a similar path even though it comes from an opposite stance.

Add the skills from those two boxers to the knowledge he has along with speed and vision it means all opponents are underdogs before entering the ring.

But in Amir Khans case its different. Amir is a boxer who needs space and movement. He doesn't like to engage unless its on his terms and will choose to run rather than create openings. His style doesn't make for a great fight against Bud Crawford but because Bud isn't the chasing type we will see the ring get cut off and Amir in the corner and against the ropes a lot tonight.

Both situations put Amir in a disadvantage and will cause him to get knocked out.

His coach and fight predictors will look to highlight Amirs length, speed and footwork to give him the edge of Terence Bud Crawford.

I'm here to predict that none of that will happen and Amir will go peek a boo guard and get dropped with a body shot first and then have the towel thrown in by his corner to avoid further damage.

I expect the fight to be over by the 5th round unless Amir literally rides a bicycle around the ring for the whole fight.

Disagree? Feel free to put up your own predictions and we'll see who had it right after. :)


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

BASSMaster Eastern Open on Lake Toho

BASSMASTER Eastern Open Season Opener On Lake Toho

For weeks now anglers have been preparing for the season opener of the Bassmaster Open Trail on Lake Toho. Even though January tournaments held on Lake Okeechobee are traditionally the first of the year, Lake Toho is what Competitors and fans look forward to.

And they all have good reason to look forward to it. Lake Toho has a proven ability to break records and be a game changer for competitors as well as fishing industry product manufacturers. While the overall tournament weight has been broken, the one day 5 bass limit is still owned by Dean Rojas and Lake Toho.

It's amazing how much that tournament dictates what the Pros competing in this tournament do during practice time. I can tell you that every day for the last week the same areas Dean Rojas caught his winning limit from are getting checked by at least 15 boats each morning. Sadly, they all leave disappointed as the once in a lifetime conditions that helped Dean win are still "once in a lifetime".

But it's not just a record breaking history that anglers are looking forward to with this tournament. There's one thing that Winter brings to Florida that everyone else gets hot under the collar about, Fat Bottom Girls! While Winter in other parts of the country mean regular reorganization of lures in the boat because of ice on the lakes or making long runs to power plant lakes just to cast a lure, we look for big girls in Florida.

In tournaments like this one it's not enough to find a quality limit with a solid kicker because that might not even make the cut. They will need to look for big fat females with lots of junk in the trunk! And the great thing about fishing on the Kissimmee Chain is this can happen on any cast.

But that doesn't mean it will be easy. The obvious question is, will competitors be able to adjust to the changing conditions and movements these bass are making to bring big bags to the scales? On shallow water lakes such as Lake Toho many elements play a role in bass behavior that can create havoc for anglers trying to figure out their movements. And this week will be a perfect example of changing conditions that will feel very similar to Dean Rojas's record breaking win.

A cold front just came through Florida that brought water temperatures down into the high 50's that will heavily impact the first day of the tournament. But the front will play more of a mind game on anglers than anything else. The past two days have seen high winds that might make many anglers question the areas they have been fishing. But tomorrow will be a competitors dream day for spawning bass.

The forecast is calling for a launch temp of 49 degrees with very little wind throughout the day. So, while the morning bite might be initially slow, the mid day bite could be on fire with bass making a massive move into spawning areas benefitting later flights. Either way, many competitors might have to leave fish that they have found on beds because they are out of time.

Does that mean the tournament will be a sight fishing slug fest? My prediction is no because water temps aren't cold enough to push the bass shallow and the water color is too stained to sight fish the deeper bedding fish.

While I have some ideas on what to expect from winning weights and what will be needed for a top 10 finish the unkown will be with winning lake. It's easy to go with Toho right now because the lake looks great. Lake Toho is probably the easiest to fish of all 4 lakes right now but the advantage will go to Pros who have a long history fishing there as the fish are not in the typical areas anglers expect. A one day tournament last weekend took 23 lbs to win that came out of Lake Toho. Expect the top 3 finisher to come out of this lake with a potential average of 25lbs per day.

Lake Kissimmee is fishing small but the areas that are producing holding some big bass. Having an early flight and making the run to Kissimmee could pay off for the first two days of the tournament but it's doubtfull to get three days out of those areas to win. Expect a top five finisher to come out of Lake Kissimmee.

Lake Cypress. Cypress is always a sleeper in these tournaments and I can personally attribute a top 3 finish in a BFL to this lake. Winds for the last few days could make the bite here tough but with light winds predicted for the tournament expect some kicker fish to come from this lake that could be the difference in a win or 6th place.

Lake Hatchineha looks the best I have seen it look in 10 years. It's doubtful the tournament will be won from this lake. The last time it happened was around 1998. My expectation is that Hatchineha will be part of a milk run that will help finish out some daily limits that contribute to a top 10 finish.
So, how many Fat Bottom Girls will we see come across the scales? There is a good chance we will see one Big Bass in the 11lb range be caught and be the big fish of the tournament.

I'm predicting a tight start to the event with a few 20lb plus bags being caught on day one but the real competition will start on day 2 as conditions get ripe for more big fish being caught. Heading into the final day look for someone to make a big leap in the standings to challenge for the overall win.

I won't make any angler predictions this year. The last time I did I picked Shaw Grigsby and he bombed and now he acts like he doesn't know me!!!!

Winning weights should hit 75lbs and top 10 finishers will need to be in the 50lb range.

Should be a fun tournament to keep up with and hopefully the Kissimmee Chain will represent as it always does!

Steve Boyd
Florida Bass Adventures

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Addressing Tournament Safety Requirements In Competition



ADDRESSING SAFETY IN COMPETITION IN TOUGH TIMES

When you grow up involved in sports as I have, risk isn’t something that gets thought about on a regular basis. But even at a very early age there were limits to what I was willing to do. Skydiving for example is something that if I have to do, I will. But it won’t be by choice!
Interestingly, competitive bass fishing causes many including myself to take risks that normally would be considered beyond safe. But because of improvements in boat manufacturing, pushing the envelope is more about putting too much trust in our equipment.
Our own recent loss made me think of Dale Earnhardt's accident and the push for better safety in NASCAR.
And while there probably isn't a best time to address this topic after the loss of life at the recent Costa Series event on Lake Okeechobee, it may be the best time to look for preventative options. Boating accidents are not uncommon during tournaments but happen often enough that safety regulations should be put in place by major organizations so that when they do happen steps are in place to save lives.
My suggestions would be to look at the difference between how ocean vessels are required to have certain safety equipment in place because well it's an ocean and help isn't always easy to come by.
We have always been behind when it comes to big picture safety in bass fishing. A life jacket is the extent of what freshwater anglers believe they need to be considered safe. Having other fishing boats near by is often what anglers rely on when any incident occurs.
Because we now have anglers leaving freshwater launch areas heading out into the ocean as well as anglers traveling hours to fishing spots, safety measures are needed more than ever before.
We cannot wait for a wake up call or the aha moment to realize more could have been done.
I encourage BASS and FLW to begin requiring EPERBS be placed in all boats that activate upon submersion or ending up upside down as well as EPERBS on lifejackets. The busiest tournament season happens during winter months when water temps are near 50 degrees which makes response to these incidents time sensitive. Safety equipment can help immensly with this.
I also would encourage both organizations to loosen rules regarding anglers having access to weather radar apps that have alerts. When I am guiding this tool is a must to keep clients safe and alive. The same should go for tournament anglers.
Lastly, I would ask that the safety briefing prior to the tournament include emphasis on anglers understanding when to call the tournament director.  If Anglers wait until they have a Loss of electrical power, propulsion or bilge pumps it's too late. It's too easy for us to think of the tournament and put the trolling motor down and keep fishing but the end result is not worth the risk.
Currently boats run with Power Poles or Talons. This means anglers no longer keep an anchor in the boat. When everything else fails a $25 anchor with the bow into the wind can be what saves a life and also should be required in every tournament boat.
As tournament anglers we have gotten very comfortable with expecting too much from our boats in bad weather because accidents rarely happen. But when they do it often results in near death experiences or loss of life.
Lets follow the lead of NASCAR  and be innovative with safety rather than waiting until it's too late. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Best Practices When Handling Bass

Following is a two part article regarding best practices when handling and releasing bass alive. Part 1 will cover initial actions when catching a bass and what can be done to help them survive the process.

Recently, the University of Florida conducted a study of how handling a bass impacts its ability to survive after being handled by anglers. The study focused solely on the grip used to hold a bass out of water immediately after being caught. The person conducting the study was not a highly knowledgeable angler or one who had any experience with catching and releasing large bass.

When the word got out that this study was going to be done I contacted Fish and Wildlife and asked why anglers like myself or other guides were not contacted for input on the study. The response I got was that the study was being controlled by University of Florida and they awarded the money to the person doing the work.

Not the best answer I could have hoped for considering this study might get some merit simply because it had a university's name on it.

The results of the study? No definitive results could be concluded from the study. Feeding times of fish handled after being caught varied slightly based on angle at which they were held but not at a consistent level to be considered scientific.

With all of that being said I like to propose a broader approach to handling a bass that starts from the moment they are caught to the moment they are released. The thought behind this approach is based on 15 years of guiding, handling numerous big bass and releasing them alive. Many that were caught on more than one occasion validating the success of how they were handled.

Some situations will make my proposal more difficult to follow. If you are fishing in a river system with strong current or a lake with lots of trees please make the best attempt to follow the following suggestions as you can.

To begin let's look at a scenario of hooking a bass and the actions that take place after it is hooked.

Once a bass is hooked it has an initial response to pull back and fight. The struggle and energy the bass expends will put a strain on it's muscles and just like humans will push lactic acid into them. The longer the fight, the more lactic acid that ends up in their muscles.

Think of when we lift weights and the effects we feel afterwards. The pain is the result of the lactic acid that is pushed into the muscles and the blood that follows trying to heal broken down cells. This pain takes some time to clear our bodies and allow us to get back into the gym.

For a bass this is one part of how they can struggle to survive being caught and surviving afterwards. Catching a bass in a tournament and releasing them alive gives us the idea that they survive but this is what isn't always known. Not all bass float to the surface and die. Some take days to die and still do not float to the surface.

The only way we can do something that helps this is to reduce the lactic acid build up. How do we do this? The best way is to slow down the rate at which we try to bring the fish in. Once a bass is hooked it only takes a second to slow down and in turn, the bass will calm down.

Many might doubt my thoughts on this but for 15 years I've done with with countless anglers and watched as they have proven my theory to work 100%. I personally have done this will small mouth and know it works on them as well.

The added benefit to doing this is your catch rate goes up significantly and lost fish rate goes down to about 1%. For tournament anglers this is money in the bank.

The photos above are of a fish we named Frankenstein. We caught and released this bass 9 times over a 3 week period. 

By Steve  Boyd
Owner - Florida Bass Adventures
Orlando Trophy Bass Fishing Guide

Monday, January 16, 2017

BASSMASTER SOUTHERN OPEN HARRIS CHAIN IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA

As I write this scouting report for the upcoming Bassmaster Southern Open on the Harris Chain of Lakes, I can't help but think of the competitors that will have probably seen more big bass on beds during prefish than they will once the tournament launches. For many it can cause quite the conundrum.

For David Dudley in 2008 there was no question of whether or not he would swing on a trophy bass on the last practice day. And during his interview he wasn't shy about letting it known that he yanked a giant off the bed. His reasoning? He probably wasn't going to get there in time to catch it anyway, so why not.

Many felt he was trying to sabotage any angler that pulled up on that fish before he could but there is more to consider. Anglers from all over the world come to Florida for the fish of a lifetime during the winter months and when tournament anglers see any of our lakes on the schedule, it's the first thought they have.

The one downside to being a competitive angler is that a high percentage have never caught a bass over 10lbs and it has nothing to do with lack of skill or lack of effort. My personal best in competition is just over 7lbs. Timing of many tournaments isn't in the favor of anglers being able to target trophy bass unless you fish on the Elite Series or FLW Tour. And during practice most will focus on locating good fish without really wanting to catch the big fish.

So, here we have anglers coming to prefish the Harris Chain hoping for perfect weather and the opportunity to catch the biggest sack of the year. What do they find? Air temperatures in the high 70's, water temps on the rise approaching 70 degrees and bass everywhere looking to make babies!
Every angler asked about pre fish will comment on how they wish the tournament will have been held a week earlier because the fishing is on fire! After the last cold front conditions were perfect for bass to move up in a large wave into shallow water as it brought water temps down to ranges they needed to spawn shallow.

And this is where the decisions that any angler who found these bass would have been faced with. Dedicate time to a big bass on a bed and go full David Dudley, risking others around seeing them or pass up the fish of a lifetime. I'm going Double D's all day! Hoping any big fish will still be there a week out isn't worth passing it up.

The trend leading up to the tournament will not favor high numbers of big bags but will see some big fish caught that will make the big bass competition something to watch. Warm weather will continue pushing fish into areas that will make them difficult to see but for those that stay shallow they will be dissappointed with culling a lot of dinks.

Another trend that will probably cause issue for those relying on site fishing will be consistent fog and cloud cover early in the mornings. Bass will be feeding early and late so patience will be testing for anglers who make the long run into Griffin as they may miss the best activity times.

High water will be another challenge for anglers as warm winter rains have raised water levels as much as 8 inches in area lakes. High water is always a challenge as it tends to put fish in areas that are hard to get to. But for anglers that adjust it could be crucial. There are many overflow type ponds that normally are not accessible but because of recent water increases will be wide open. Shaw Grigsby took advantage of this situation to win here in 2011.

Areas that are expected to produce for this tournament would be the Ocklawaha River into Lake Griffin and Haines Creek into Lake Eustis as both will have current flowing. The canals coming out of Lake Dora will get a good flow of water and bait that will push bass further back into the residential canals that always produce well this time of year.

I would also expect The Dead River canals and any residential canals on Lake Eustis to be productive. But all of these areas will get a great deal of attention so my expectation would be for the tournament to be one off areas that are closer to the launch point and are able to reload bass each day without pressure. Big And Little Lake Harris have offshore vegetation that could be key to located bass that others may not find because of shallow water beds that kept them away from areas of the lake that are in 8-10 feet.

Quite a few years ago I won a tournament on the Harris Chain off one stretch of bank working grass beds in 8 feet of water throwing crankbaits, rattletraps and Texas rigs. I lost more big fish that day than I care to remember but the situation this week is very familiar.

I haven't guided any of the competitors for this tournament but my tips would be fish deeper water areas looking for staging fish that can replenish. I would also recommend fishing close to the launch area and maximize fishing time. Even though warm weather has kept fish active I would still approach the areas with slower, more precise presentations rather than fish for aggressive bites.

Winning weight should be in the 17-19 lb a day range and to make top ten anglers will need to catch a consistent 14lbs a day. Low weights for Florida but it should be a tight competition among the top 15 with places changing daily.

Steve Boyd is a Former Marine and owner of Florida Bass Adventures Guide Service located in Orlando, Florida. For more information visit our site Florida Bass Adventures Orlando Bass Fishing.