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Lake Okeechobee FLW Everstart January 19 - 21st

Posted by casey on February 14, 2012

I arrived at lake Okeechobee about a week and a half prior to the official start of the tournament to get an a couple extra days on the water and just enjoy the 75-80 degree weather.  One thing I did notice was that the bite was quite different from the year before, the water was in the low 60s and there didn’t seem to be a real good bite on the outer grass lines.

Last year you could catch 50 fish in the 11-14 inch range but those fish weren’t biting.  I spent my entire practice flipping looking for a stretch or stretches of cattails, hydrilla or hyacinths that would produce a top 10 stringer.  I spent some time looking for sight fish but even though the water temperature and moon was in the right window it appeared that the large wave of Okeechobee bass had already spawned.  Most days I was catching about 12-14 pounds a day just flipping a 1.5 oz Picasso Tungsten Flipping weight pegged with a 4/0 Paycheck BMF hook with a Beaver in the penetration color.  If the bite became tough or the fish were finicky I would switch to an ounce Picasso weight, a 3/0 Paycheck hook and a gambler BB cricket in the junebug color.  After a few days of practice I was able to find one real good area that was holding 25+ pounds of bass.  My plan going into the tournament was to fish that area and live and die by it.  Here are a couple good fish from practice.

Didnt get to put this one on a scale but it was a good one.


My practice partner with a couple good fish.





Tournament day 1
Well today was one of those days where if it could go wrong it did, I was boat number 19 of 168 and due in at 3 pm.  I was the last boat in the first flight so I mathematically had the shortest possible day.  I made my run about 20 miles from take-off, I decided to run straight across the lake since it didn’t appear to be too rough at the mouth of the Kissimmee river.  Once I got about 2 miles out the waves increased and by the time we hit the middle of the lake we were in 4-5 footers.  I arrived at my starting spot around 8 am after a 45 minutes rough ride, I was able to catch a 2.5 pound keeper  fairly quickly and saw Brandon McMillan catch one over 6 in the same area so I thought the fishing was going to be good.  Around 9 am I put my power poles down and one actually broke into 2 pieces, it took me about 25 minutes to get the pole in the upright position and unhook the power to the battery from the broken pole so I could still use one pole.  I caught another fish around 3 pounds an hour later but the bite was kinda off from practice so I decided to run behind some reeds and when I did I hit a large rock and damaged my prop to the point where I couldn’t get on plane .  I didn’t have my spare prop so I was dead in the water.  I ended up fishing til 2 pm and was able to catch 2 more decent keepers flipping and flagged down Chris Weber from Florida and ditched my boat in the reeds and rode back to weigh in with Chris.  I weighed in my 4 fish for 12 lbs 7 oz and was in 24th place.

Tournament day 2
I decided to stick with my plan on this day and wait for my fish to bite as it seemed the bite was better in the afternoon, looking back on it that was a bad decision.  I only had 5-6 bites on the day and only landed 3 smalls keepers for 4 and a half pounds.  For some reason the fish never bit and the only thing I can think of was because of the boat pressure in there on day 1.  Either way I weighed my fish and ended up 66th out of 168 boats and got a check for $1000.  Looking back on it I should’ve laid up on day 2 and caught 10-12 pound s on a senko or light texas rig but figured if my fish would bite I would have had a good shot at a top 10.  I enjoyed my time at Okeechobee this year and hopefully I am able to fish next year as I love the trips in the winter to south Florida.

GLoomis 7’5 GLX flipping rod, Daiwa Zillion reel, 1.5 ounce Picasso Tungsten, 4/0 Paycheck hook, Reaction Innovation Sweet Beaver(Penetration), 70 lbs Daiwa Samurai braid

GLoomis 7’5 GLX flipping rod, Daiwa Zillion reel, 1 ounce Picasso Tungsten, 3/0 Paycheck hook, Gambler BB Cricket(Junebug), 70 lbs Daiwa Samurai Braid