February 7, 2016
Live On The Water Twitter stream (scroll to the bottom)
2:15 p.m.: Final update
We're signing off the FLW coverage blog here at Lake Okeechobee. Thanks for following along all week.
At this point, there's no clear champion. It's going to be a lot closer than what many people suspect. Hallman hasn't sealed it up yet. The final half-hour window will be critical. Can Hallman finish strong? Or will Shin Fukae catch him? Can local favorite Brandon McMillan find some magic on his home lake? Will Alex Davis recover from a tough day in time to make a charge? Can Clark Reehm's unique spot churn out a few bigger bass? Is the Real Deal Michael Neal on the winning fish in an area that none of the other top 10 pros is fishing?
The only way to find out is to watch FLW Live at 4 p.m. ET or come out to the Clewiston Walmart to see it in person.
Thanks again, and we'll see you at Hartwell.
See how Hallman his handling his mechanical troubles
1:45 p.m.: One hour left to fish
The pros are due to check in at 2:45 p.m. This final hour is fixing to be interesting. Hallman, because his trolling motor malfunctioned, has been limited in how he can maneuver his boat. He was casting from an awkward angle into a thick mat when he hooked up with a giant - 7 or 8 pounds - and was unable to haul it out of the mat. He still only has two keepers.
Shin also recently lost a big one, though he was casting and winding. The sun is shining bright. The wind is still blowing pretty steady. Maybe it's time for a last-minute changeup to try and get a couple big bites and make a last-minute move.
Watch Charlie Weyer in action on day four
Watch Shin Fukae in action on day four
1 p.m.: Hallman has two
Maybe Bradley Hallman has finally gotten back on track after a mechanical issue slowed him down midmorning. He's got two keepers for a total of about 4 1/2 pounds. Thankfully he's got a major lead, so he doesn't really need to catch much today to lock it up.
The only other angler to catch much since our last update is Alex Davis. He now has three keepers.
Bradley Hallman A.M. Video: See what the leader has been fishing all morning
Noon: Top 10 Weight Estimates
Hallman - one fish for 3 pounds
Davis - one fish for 1 pound
Fukae - limit for 6 1/2 pounds
Johnston - limit for 7 3/4 pounds
Neal - limit for 9 pounds
McMillan - four fish for 4 to 5 pounds
Weyer - three fish for 5 pounds
Shelton - two fish for 2 3/4 pounds
Weaver - three fish for 3 pounds
Reehm - limit for 8 pounds
11:45 a.m.: No one has mounted a real charge to catch Hallman
Hallman is doing anything but slam the door on this tournament, but he's benefitting from the tough conditions that are challenging his competitors. Hallman has just one 3-pound fish in his livewell. Shin has a limit and has culled, but is still only in the 6 1/2-pound neighborhood. Davis doesn't have a keeper. Neal has about 9 pounds. Reehm has about 6 pounds. Weyer has 3 pounds. Johnston has a limit for 7 pounds. McMillan has four for 4 to 5 pounds. Weaver has a pair for 2 pounds. Weyer has a pair for 3 pounds. Basically, no one has threatened the leader yet.
11:15 a.m.: Check out our Periscope broadcasts; another Hallman update
First off, if you're not following us on Twitter, you should. The handle is @FLWFishing. Once you start following FLW, you'll get Twitter updates when we broadcast live videos on Periscope. We've shown some sweet live footage of Shin Fukae catching a few keepers today. Also, we've got a crew with Hallman now and are trying to get a strong enough connection to go live there.
As for Hallman, he's resorted to shoving his boat into the mats with the big motor to hold in place, then flipping all around. It's not ideal in this wind, but it can work.
11:00 a.m.: Hallman update
Hallman's trolling motor has malfunctioned. No explanation of whether it's mechanical, electrical or something else. He's resorted to using his big motor to maneuver.
10:51 a.m.: The fish are turning on, and something's happening with Hallman
This weather and the generally sketchy cell service on Lake Okeechobee are hindering our communication with some of our OTW reporters, but it sounds like something is going down with Hallman right now. Possibly a mechanical issue. We're standing by for reports, and it could be nothing, so don't draw any conclusions yet. We'll update everyone when we can.
Meanwhile, Chris Johnston and Michael Neal continue to chip away. They have single-digit limits but are just a kicker each away from going into double-digits. Shin Fukae has also added a third bass to his bag.
As it stands now, Hallman has just the one 3-pounder. This wind is still howling. The sun is poking through. Mother Nature doesn't know what she wants to do today.
Keep following on the Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute reports.
Watch Chris Johnston crushin' hawgs on day three
10:00 a.m.: Johnston, Reehm heating up; Hallman quiet
Clark Reehm's go-to spot in a small discharge canal is still hot. He's on a current-oriented bite and doesn't seem to be as susceptible to these weird weather swings as the guys fishing in areas where bass are spawning. Unfortunately, he hasn't landed any bass heavier than 1 3/4 pounds and has a deficit of more than 24 pounds he'd have to make up.
Chris Johnston is also having a good morning. He has four fish for 6 or 7 pounds, and that includes a 3-pounder, so there's plenty of chance to cull up to a competitive weight. Unfortunately for him, he's almost 19 pounds behind Hallman. He's got a shot, but he probably needs a mid-20s limit.
Last year at Lake Toho, at the Tour opener, JT Kenney had a 12 1/2-pound lead over Wesley Strader going into the final day. Kenney won by less than a pound. It's proof that even a "huge" lead isn't huge in Florida, where the big hawgs live.
9:30 a.m.: Mother Nature is kicking the pros' butts
Ever have one of those days when it just seems like there's not a fish to be caught? Don't worry, the best anglers on the planet do too. Today has been one of those days.
Right now, four pros have reported keepers. Clark Reehm has four small bass. Josh Weaver has a pair. Billy Shelton has one. And Chris Johnston has a 3-pounder and a dink.
Bradley Hallman, Alex Davis and Shin Fukae are still without a fish.
8:30 a.m.: Slow going in the first hour
Not a single pro in the top 10 reported a fish catch in the first hour of competition on day four. Granted, Clark Reehm and Michael Neal had long runs, and all the pros spent a few minutes in the lock that's right outside Roland and Mary Ann Martin's Marina and Resort. But still, on the first three days, there were fish biting from the get-go.
Bradley Hallman reports that the water temperature has dropped a few degrees since yesterday, thanks to a chilly overnight rain and post-frontal winds. The water is a tad dirtier too. In Alex Davis' area, the water has dropped about 7 inches.
The pros are making their adjustments this morning. Hallman pulled off his punch skirt for a smaller profile. Shin Fukae is fishing painfully slow. On day two, when the pros were faced with similar post-frontal conditions, Shin says he fished the same area as Hallman, but Hallman whipped him because Shin was fishing too fast. Hallman fished slow, slow, slow. Shin's taking a page from Hallman's playbook and opting for the slow approach today too.
7:45 a.m: Weather woes continue to challenge the field
From a distance, it might look like Bradley Hallman has this tournament in the bag. The Norman, Okla., pro leads by 13 pounds, 9 ounces on the final day. Down here in Clewiston, Fla., however, the pros in the top 10 realize that nothing is finished until the bags hit the scale this afternoon at the local Walmart.
Hallman had a slow day yesterday with only four keepers to show for it. Thankfully for him, one of his keepers weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces. Without that big bite, this is a much different tournament.
Today, if Hallman doesn’t get the big bite, and Alex Davis or one of the other pros in the top 10 catches more than 20 to 25 pounds – it’s most definitely possible on this pond – Hallman could easily be caught.
The biggest factor today is, once again, weird Florida weather. It was 48 degrees at takeoff but felt much colder thanks to a stiff wind blowing out of the northwest. A few sprinkles are falling at Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina and Resort. By afternoon, the forecast calls for sunshine. Catching a big bag means making the right decisions amid constantly changing conditions. The same could be said at any tournament, but here in Florida, on Lake Okeechobee, in the middle of spawning season, those decisions are anything but simple.
Current temperature: 48 degrees
Forecast high: 60 degrees
Sky: cloudy, with sunshine in the afternoon
Precipitation: 65 percent chance of scattered showers beginning midmorning
Wind: WNW up to 20 mph
Watch the day two weigh-in live at FLWFishing.com starting at 4 p.m. ET.
Click here for complete tournament details.