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FLW tour Lake Okeechobee

Posted by casey on February 23, 2013

I’ve been slacking on trying to get my blog updated for the FLW Tour event on Okeechobee. After the EverStart Championship I got sick real bad with flu-like symptoms and put me out of commission for about six weeks this winter. I was blessed to get to spend Christmas around my family and friends up in Michigan and Canada, but physically I was exhausted from being sick. 

I ended up leaving for Okeechobee the 28th of December

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I’ve been slacking on trying to get my blog updated for the FLW Tour event on Okeechobee. After the EverStart Championship I got sick real bad with flu-like symptoms and put me out of commission for about six weeks this winter. I was blessed to get to spend Christmas around my family and friends up in Michigan and Canada, but physically I was exhausted from being sick. 

I ended up leaving for Okeechobee the 28th of December and spent as much time on the water as I could fishing a BFL and EverStart and finally my first FLW Tour event as a professional. I had some good finishes in the BFL and EverStart on Okeechobee and found some fish in prepractice for the tour event. I was confident going into the tournament, but I struggled during official practice so I didn’t really know what to expect on day one of my first event. The tournament meeting was kinda crazy, I saw legends of the sport and knew I would be competing with them on tour for the first time. It was intimidating for sure but I was looking forward to the challenge.

Day one was absolutely insane, at takeoff I really didn’t know where I was going to start. I was boat 126 so I knew a lot of the good stuff would be covered up. I decided to check a set of mats where I had three bites in practice. I was surprised to see no one had started on them and as I was dropping the trolling motor down - the net was still stowed - I pitched my first pitch as a pro and thought to myself there was no way that was a bite. I set the hook and here comes an 8-pound head through the top of the mat, my co-angler tried his best to land the fish and after walking the fish around the boat he was able to get the net out and I put the fish in the livewell.  The fished weighed somewhere between 6 and 7 pounds. 

The day just kinda went well from there, every move I made was just perfect timing. I weighed 26 pounds, 12 ounces and took the lead on my first day as a professional. It was like I was living in a dream after years of hard work and sacrifices. I was getting congratulated by guys like Andy Morgan and Bryan Thrift in the weigh-in line, it was just total insanity and I really can’t even describe it.

Day two I didn’t fish as well as I would’ve liked, I had a short day and kinda ran around a little too much and left biting fish to look for bigger fish.  Looking back I should’ve stayed in my main areas and waited for the big ones to bite.  I still managed to weigh in 18-9 but dropped to third place.  I pretty much caught all my fish on a Reaction Innovations Beaver pegged with a 1 ½- to 2-ounce Picasso Tungsten weight, my Casey Martin Signature Series Swim Jig and a Z-Man ½-ounce green pumpkin Chatterbait.

Days three and four were tough on me, a couple of my backup areas that I was relying on were blown out by the wind and in my main areas the big fish had moved out. So, I struggled the last two days but from the weigh-in results it looked like most anglers struggled as well. The flipping bite seemed to slow by the weekend and I caught most of my fish on the Omega swim jig and Z-Man Chatterbait fished on 20 pound Seaguar fluorocarbon.  I ended up finishing sixth in the event and took home a well needed check, and although I have a great list of sponsors, I have been paying most of my entries out of pocket so this event really helped financially.

I can’t say enough to all the people who sent me best wishes via text, voicemail and Facebook/Twitter, I don’t think I was able to respond to each and everyone but tried my best and actually used up all my minutes for the month. 

I’m looking forward to fishing the EverStart on Guntersville and the next tour event on Smith Lake, I hope I can catch them long enough to stay in this sport a long time.  A little over two years ago I left my job as an engineer to try to fish professionally and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Thanks again for all the support.

Until next time,

Casey