Hook masking in Florida
Hook masking in Florida

I would be lying to tell you I’ve been in a ‘good’ mood or state of mind the last few months.  I have been struggling with what to do with my life, where to live, having a social life, making money, and finding motivation.   So, let me share some news.  I recently landed on Lake Okeechobee, for the 5th season.  I’m signed up for the 2103 Everstart on Okeechobee, and that is my only tournament for the 2013 season it appears.  I would love to fish the 2013 FLW Tour, but it just isn’t in the cards for me.    This time, when I packed up my truck and boat in the freezing rain of the Ozarks, I was packing not just for Okeechobee, I was packing up to relocate and move my life to Florida.

Back to Work

I recently accepted a job, with Beyond Trust, the company that acquired the company (eEye Digital Security) I used to work for.   What that means is, yes, I’m going back to work—Territory Manager, South East.   I am actually quite looking forward to getting back to business.  I enjoy the stimulation of the business world, the sharp people, and the opportunity to make money.  I need to get myself financially back on track, and I need to have my own place, and have a home base and settle down where I might actually be able to line up a girlfriend!  I have been blessed with some great partnerships with guys like Scott Whitmer, Ken Huddleston, and Mickey Ellis and others, and I plan to keep the train rolling.   My new job allows me the freedom to work from wherever I choose.  After 6 months living in Cotter, Arkansas, a lovely small town in the Ozarks, I’ve realized some things, and for sure I’ve realized that I wasn’t cut out for small town living, at least not yet!  So, after the Everstart on Okeechobee, I’m going to be finding a place to live in Florida, and start ‘back to work’.

Why Florida?

I could be wrong, but Florida suits me and my style.  I like the general flow of Florida,  it’s a good mix of town and country, it’s a good mix of liberal and conservative ideas and thoughts, there is surfing in Florida, and I love fishing in Florida.  I’m definitely leaning toward S. Florida, but I’m totally up in the air about where exactly.  Orlando area has my eye too.   I will have the flexibility to travel and work from various regions and plan on continuing the search for the Southern Trout Eaters, but trout eaters are the low hanging fruit, their is no doubt about it, if you have trout, you are going to have a killer swimbait bite.  Non trout fed lakes are the next thing for me.  Cracking the code, utilizing the tools and lessons of the trout eaters, and applying the things you learn from tournament fishing—-that is where my head is at.  I have been working on finding the bigbait bite on lakes without trout for years now, and I still have a lot of learning and progressing to do.  The fish and the bite is there, it’s just going to take time and commitment to put it all together.

SSB Customs has been relocated, and will be relocated again shortly!
SSB Customs has been relocated, and will be relocated again shortly!

southernswimbait.com Going Forward

I have terabytes of film and photos I’ve never shared.  I have 3-4 projects ongoing with film that might turn into DVDs or they might be extended YouTube clips.  That is the thing with filming, you just don’t always know how things will play out, how the fish will respond, or how exactly to package it all up.   I want to assure you, you can expect ‘business as usual’ at southernswimbait.com.  I am pretty confident I could not make a single cast in 2013, and keep this blog rolling as though I fished full time with the footage and content I have on my hard drive(s) and brain.  However, I do plan on fishing in 2013, just not as much as I have the last 4 years.   That is why I’m choosing Florida to settle down.  I have been bitten by the braided line + bigbait bug, and given the amount of water and big fish in Florida, to me it’s the most sensible decision all things considered.  So, you’ll be seeing a lot more braided line (and I’d recommend braid even is super clear water, just add a 50-65# floro leader!), dark colored bass from the grass, sun, surf and some social life from me in 2013.

It takes money to make money.  I have short, mid, and long term goals for southernswimbait.com.  I have all kinds of things I need to pour money into.  My truck has 175K miles on it.  My boat has 1000s of hours on her.  My computer, my video and camera gear—–they could all use an upgrade.   SSB Customs, the Southern Trout Eaters DVD, our affiliate partnership with Tackle Warehouse, are all a work in progress, and thanks to you, are working and going in the right direction.  However, it’s  just not enough. I am not satisfied with the lifestyle and the amount of time it will take to get to where I want to go, with the status quo.   I believe taking a step back and regrouping, will in the short,  mid and long term be a much wiser and well executed plan.  For example, I would like to have $ to sponsor a few FLW Tour or BASS Elite guys, like my friend Casey Martin. I need real $ to grow southernswimbait.com to where I want it. I have ideas and models that I think will be positive/healthy and better enable anglers to monetize their fishing, be accountable to sponsors, quantify returns on investments,  be marketable, be real, and push the sport in the right directions.   It will take time and capital to pull it off.

I fell in love with Florida back in January 2009.  This was home sweet home, single wide trailer at Roland Martins Resort, just getting settled into a new life.  Notice, that is President Obama's inauguration on television.
I fell in love with Florida back in January 2009. This was home sweet home, single wide trailer at Roland Martins Resort, just getting settled into a new life. Notice, that is President Obama’s inauguration on television.





  1. Welcome to South Florida. It’s about time Swimbait fishing got really started.

  2. Good luck in your new endeavors and thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences with us .you have opened up alot of eyes to the possibilities of catching the fish of a lifetime and just the thrill of big bait fishing in general and im sure that some of those eyes will take those lessons and move the art of big bait fishing in directions that probably may not have been without the ground work you laid down . As far as fla. goes i myself have been considering the kissimmee -st cloud area ,great fishing ,great night life and great financial opportunities so good luck and i have a feeling from what i seen i wouldnt say the ozarks have seen the last of you . Thanx
    P.s. – if your swimbaits find themselves in the need for a move im always willing to take in strays lol

    1. southernswimbait

      Thanks Raymond! Kissimmee area is killer. Central Florida is so untapped. Yikes there are places to hit. Hell no the Ozarks haven’t seen the last of me. My parents live there still, and shoot, I’m a ramblin’ man. I appreciate your comments man!

  3. Chris Jenkins

    Hey budd I wish you the best. I lived in Hollywood Fl. for a while and loved it. I know that if I went back it would not be te same considering that was 15 years ago. Living on the beach, fishing the canals for peacocks, green bass,snook, tarpon. And hot chicks !!! I dare not try to relive it because it will not be the same and I want to charish those memories just as they are. I wish you the best Matt. Life is a journey and meant to be enjoyed. Hit me up if you need anything bro.

  4. southernswimbait

    Thank you Chris. I always enjoy your comments and input. I’m enjoying it so far down here.

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