UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart FLW Tour - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Fels furthers lead at Okeechobee

Keith Fels of Ocala, Fla., amasses a 12-pound lead in the Rayovac FLW Series after day two thanks to this 10-pound, 9-ounce giant.

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. - After a rather lackluster day one of the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Okeechobee, anglers were certain day two was going to be better.

After all, much warmer air and intermittent sunshine drove the water temperatures up into the low 60's. The bite did improve a tad, but overall it still was not the Okeechobee bag-buster everyone was hoping for.

One man who seems to have the Okeechobee bite wired is Keith Fels of Ocala, Fla.

The bite definitely improved for Fels today as he added 26 pounds, 7 ounces to his 20 pounds, 9 ounces from yesterday to compile a commanding lead with 47 pounds even, some 12 pounds heavier than second place.

Fels' limit today included the day-two big bass weighing in at 10 pounds, 9 ounces. He has been the only angler to crack the 20-pound mark each day.

"I had those by 9:30 this morning and I was done," Fels said. "When I caught the 10-pounder, it culled my little fish and I left the area to save it for tomorrow."

Fels did reveal he is pitching, but the way he managed to get the 10-pounder in the boat borders on miraculous.

"I made a pitch, got a bite, set the hook and missed," he said. "I pitched right back in there, got another bite, set the hook and it was on. I fought the fish until it bogged up into a huge wad of vegetation. As I was heaving on the line pulling the wad in, my 65-pound test braid broke up in the rod. The tag end of the line laid across a mat of hydrilla. The fish was so bogged down, it didn't move. I reached out, grabbed the tag end of line and basically hand-lined the giant wad of weeds to the boat and wrapped up inside was that 10-pounder."

Ware second
Kent Ware of Wadmalaw Island, S.C., moved to second place on the strength of his 19-pound catch for a two-day total of 34 pounds, 11 ounces.
Kent Ware of Wadmalaw Island, S.C., moved up eight spots to second place on the strength of his 19-pound catch today for a two-day total of 34 pounds, 11 ounces.

Ware was the Angler of the Year in the Southeastern Division of the Rayovac Series last season. And here's the unique part: he did most of it with a spinning rod.

Ware uses a spinning rod most of the time, including here at Okeechobee, to punch vegetation like most do with conventional baitcasting gear.

"It's what works for me," Ware said. "I'm just a lot more efficient with a spinning rod. It's faster and quieter for me and I can get away with lighter baits."

Here at Okeechobee, Ware's spinning rod set-up is a heavy action 7-foot G. Loomis rod spooled with 50-pound braid.

"A lot of people think spinning rods are only for light line," Ware added. "Not so. Spinning rods can handle heavy line just as well."

McMillan third
Jared McMillan of Belle Glade, Fla., is in third place with a two-day total of 33-10.
Jared McMillan of Belle Glade, Fla., held onto to his third place spot from day one by hauling in 14 pounds, 6 ounces today for a two-day total of 33-10.

While his older brother Brandon (9th place) is known for punching mats on the Big O, Jared is more about the casting and reeling of moving baits over vegetation.

"I like the punching game too, but in order to do that, you have to fish around so many boats," the younger McMillan explained. "I really like being away from other boats. Yesterday I only saw two other boats out of all these boats out here. Today I saw maybe six or seven. But in order to avoid the pressure, you have to fish other ways. So it's not that I don't like punching mats - I love it. It's just that I would rather cast and reel something with two boats around than punch mats with 120 boats around."

Kremer fourth
Joseph Kremer of Osteen, Fla., climbed to the fourth place spot with a 16-pound, 11-ounce catch for a two-day total of 32 pounds, 5 ounces.
Joseph Kremer of Osteen, Fla., climbed to the fourth place spot today with a 16-pound, 11-ounce catch for a two-day total of 32 pounds, 5 ounces.

"I fished the same exact places in the same exact ways today and it was a little better," Kremer said. "The water is warming and it's pulling those fish to the hill. I don't catch much in the mornings and I can go back through the same areas after noon and they bite better. It's all about water temperature and it should be even better tomorrow."

Pace fifth

Keith Pace of Monticello, Ark., rounds out the fifth place spot with a two-day total of 31 pounds, 14 ounces.
Keith Pace of Monticello, Ark., gives the thumbs up after finding out he finished the day in 5th place with a two-day total of 31 pounds, 14 ounces.
"I've mostly been casting a Senko and a Horny Toad around," Pace said. "The place I'm fishing really turned on right at the end of the day. In the last five casts I caught three fish on back-to-back casts and two of those were four pounders. I can't wait to get back there tomorrow."

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top-10 pros in the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Okeechobee after day two:

6th: Val Osinski of Pompano Beach, Fla., two-day total of 31-13
7th: Thomas Helton of Charleston, Tenn., two-day total of 31-10
8th: Miles Burghoff of Guntersville, Ala., two-day total of 31-8
9th: Brandon McMillan of Clewiston, Fla., two-day total of 31-2
10th: Randy Haynes of Counce, Tenn., two-day total of 30-12

Fox leads co-anglers

Tim Fox of Meridian, Miss., leads the Co-angler Division of the Rayovac Series on Lake Okeechobee with two-day total of 26 pounds, 12 ounces.
Tim Fox of Meridian, Miss., leads the Co-angler Division of the Rayovac Series on Lake Okeechobee with two-day total of 26 pounds, 12 ounces.
Fox brought in a 16-pound, 4-ounce limit today to take the lead.

"All my better fish came from about 12:30 to 2 in the afternoon," Fox said. "I culled three times during that time frame."

"I've mostly been throwing swimbaits," Fox said. "The area we were in had a lot of boats in it so I was trying to make long casts to places where boats had not fished. My pro and I were really aware of where boats had been and we purposely tried to fish our way into places that had not had a boat in them for a long while."

Ronnie Green of Sebring, Fla., is in second place with a two-day total of 24 pounds, 5 ounces.

Mitch Reynolds of Petal, Miss., is in third place with a two-day total of 23 pounds, 12 ounces.

Rex Jaeger of Hamilton, Ohio, jumped to fourth place with a two-day total of 23 pounds, 9 ounces.

Captain Don Lewis of Jacksonville, Fla., rounds out the top five co-anglers with 23 pounds, even.


Big bass

Manley Jones of Raleigh, N.C. caught the big bass in the Co-angler Division on day two weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers in the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Okeechobee after day two:

6th: Alphonso Taylor of Kennesaw, Ga., two-day total of 22-7
7th: Dwight Griffith of Somerset, Ky., two-day total of 20-14
8th: Ty Solis of Albany, Ga., two-day total of 20-13
9th: Aaron Richardson of Destin, Fla., two-day total of 20-5
10th: Dean Harcourt of Sebastian, Fla., two-day total of 19-7

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2014-01-09-lake-okeechobee 

/news/2016-02-05-top-5-patterns-from-lake-okeechobee-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Okeechobee Day 2

Fueled by 25 mph north winds, the Lake Okeechobee washing machine cleansed some livewells today, keeping them free of the 20-pound limits that are so common here when the weather is sunny, 75 and calm. However, a few 20-plus-pound limits still snuck through the rinse cycle to grace the scales. The biggest limit once again belonged to Bradley Hallman of Norman, Okla. He added 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the 25 he caught on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-oklahoma-s-hallman-extends-lead-at-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Oklahoma’s Hallman Extends Lead at Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee Presented by Ranger Boats

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro angler Bradley Hallman of Norman, Oklahoma, brought a five-bass limit weighing 25 pounds, 7 ounces to the scale Friday to extend his lead on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Hallman will bring an 8-pound, 8-ounce advantage into day three of the four-day competition that features 169 of the top bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for a top cash award of up to $125,000. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-cales-earns-co-angler-win

Cales Earns Co-angler Win

Co-angler Tim Cales of Sandstone, W.Va., earned his second win with FLW after sacking up 30 pounds, 11 ounces over two days in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-hallman-way-in-front

Hallman Way in Front

Bradley Hallman is doing his best to make the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats a one-man show. But Alabama pro Alex Davis hopes to spoil Hallman’s hopes of a wire-to-wire victory. Today, Hallman weighed in 25 pounds, 7 ounces to raise his two-day total to 50-07. He’s led the tournament each day thus far. Davis weighed in 20-15 to move from third to second but is still 8 1/2 pounds behind the leader. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-05-okeechobee-day-2-coverage

Okeechobee Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-04-top-5-patterns-from-the-okeechobee-tour-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from the Okeechobee Tour Day 1

The Walmart FLW Tour has been coming to Lake Okeechobee for the better part of 20 years. And for a vast majority of those years, the north end of the lake has been the business end – where the business of fish catching is done. Today, that tradition was derailed in the first round of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats and hosted by Hendry County Tourism Development Council. Though some boats did sample the Harney Pond area up north, many of the normal fish-producing haunts such as the Monkey Box, Dyess Ditch and Fisheating Bay were complete ghost towns. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-04-hallman-leads-day-one-of-walmart-flw-tour-on-lake-okeechobee-presented-by-ranger-boats

Hallman Leads Day One Of Walmart FLW Tour On Lake Okeechobee Presented By Ranger Boats

Oklahoma pro Bradley Hallman, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 25 pounds even Thursday to grab the early lead after day one of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. Right behind him in second place is renowned Okeechobee angler Brandon McMillan of Clewiston, who weighed in five bass totaling 22-8. Hallman now brings a 2½-pound lead into day two of the four-day READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-04-hallman-takes-the-lead-with-25

Hallman Takes the Lead with 25

The old saying is that the third time is the charm, but for Bradley Hallman of Norman, Okla., it’s more like the first time is the charm. Hallman is fishing his first Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee. It’s the first day of the first Tour event of 2016, and Hallman sits in first place with 25 pounds even. Norman, Okla., pro Bradley Hallman sacked up an impressive 25-pound limit of bass to take the lead on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour opener on Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-04-okeechobee-day-1-coverage

Okeechobee Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-03-5-key-areas-on-okeechobee

5 Key Areas on Okeechobee

There are many well-known areas on Lake Okeechobee that are commonly talked about around the docks before and after each event, but five key spots in particular will certainly play a role in this week’s Walmart FLW Tour opener. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-03-5-to-watch-on-okeechobee

5 to Watch on Okeechobee

This year, the Big O is giving the 169-boat field a different look than they’ve seen in past years in the form of high, dirty water. The odds could favor the locals more than in years past, though the caliber of skill among the entire field is over the top. Really, it could be anyone’s tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-02-scouting-the-big-o-with-wesley-strader

Scouting the Big O with Wesley Strader

Wesley Strader is known and admired for his unique wit and constant cheer, but his consistency is what has been the true hallmark of his successful fishing career. Last week, that consistency paid off with the first big win he’s had since 2002 at the B.A.S.S. Open on the Kissimmee Chain in central Florida. Now he’s got his eye on starting the Walmart FLW Tour season on the right foot a few hours south at Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-01-okeechobee-practice-with-scott-martin

Okeechobee Practice with Scott Martin

Scott Martin is heading into the first Walmart FLW Tour event of the season with a full head of steam. After earning what might be the first of many Angler of the Year titles in 2015, he gets to kick off the year sleeping in his own bed and fishing Lake Okeechobee, the place where he grew up and where he has caught more than 50 bass weighing more than 10 pounds. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-01-childers-targeted-rocks-for-victory

Childers Targeted Rocks for Victory

Randy Childers of Anderson, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 7 ounces, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Savannah River Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Keowee presented by Power-Pole. For his victory, Childers earned $4,271. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-01-childers-wins-flw-bass-fishing-league-savannah-river-division-opener-on-lake-keowee-presented-by-power-pole

Childers Wins FLW Bass Fishing League Savannah River Division Opener on Lake Keowee Presented by Power-Pole

SENECA, S.C. – Randy Childers of Anderson, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 7 ounces, Saturday to win the first FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Savannah River Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Keowee presented by Power-Pole. For his victory, Childers earned $4,271. READ MORE »

/news/2016-02-01-bfl-angler-poche-stabbed-to-death

BFL Angler Poche Stabbed to Death

Louisiana angler Dylan Poche, who was just beginning his career as a professional bass fisherman, was stabbed to death late Saturday night after participating in an FLW Bass Fishing League Cowboy Division tournament. Police say they have a suspect in custody. READ MORE »

/news/2016-01-30-ucf-earns-title-on-crescent

UCF Earns Title on Crescent

The University of Central Florida team of Hunter McKamey of Geneva, Tennessee, and Kyle Oliver of Winter Garden, Florida, won the FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference opener on Crescent Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 22 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and advanced the team to the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-01-30-university-of-central-florida-wins-flw-college-fishing-southeastern-conference-opener-on-crescent-lake

University of Central Florida Wins FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference Opener on Crescent Lake

BUNNELL, Fla. – The University of Central Florida team of Hunter McKamey of Geneva, Tennessee, and Kyle Oliver of Winter Garden, Florida, won the FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference opener on Crescent Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 22 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and advanced the team to the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

/news/2016-01-29-okeechobee-heating-up

Okeechobee Heating Up

The weather over the last few weeks in Florida has been, well, not so Florida-like. Wave after wave of cold front has riddled the Sunshine State, leaving the bass in lockdown mode. Hope is on the horizon, though, for the entire field of the Walmart FLW Tour with a forecast calling for warmer weather in the days leading up to the start of the season-opener on Lake Okeechobee Feb. 4-7. READ MORE »

/news/2016-01-28-costa-announces-contingency-program

Costa Announces Contingency Program

Costa Del Mar, the new title sponsor of the FLW Series, recently launched its Costa FLW Rewards contingency program for all Walmart FLW Tour, Costa FLW Series and FLW Bass Fishing League events. The program is effective immediately. READ MORE »