Poitevint wins Co-angler Division

Howard Poitevint wins the Co-angler Divsion of the EverStart Series event on Lake Okeechobee with a three-day total of 40 pounds, 13 ounces.

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. - For Howard Poitevint of Bainbridge, Ga., his entire tournament came down to his last cast of the final day. In the last minute rush to work out of an area and head to weigh-in, his pro partner had missed casting to two tiny reed stems that were sticking out just above the water. Just as the call for "last cast" was made, Poitevint heaved a cast at the two discreet stems, his line moved off sideways, he set the hook, and the rest is history. The result of that last cast was a 7-pound, 13-ounce bass that gave Poitevint a push to victory in the Co-angler Division of the EverStart Series event on Lake Okeechobee. "This feels great," Poitevint said. "I've been tournament fishing a long time. I've won buddy tournaments, been to the All-American and barely missed winning a Regional (BFL) years ago to David Fritts. So to get this win here on the EverStart level is special to me."Howard Poitevint hoists his tournament-winning bass, a 7-13 brute that he caught on the last cast of the day. Poitevint claimed the big bass in the Co-angler Division on day two with an 8-12. And then his 7-13 bass today propelled him to victory. They key to his big bites? "A Zoom Ultra-Vibe speed worm in junebug," Poitevint said. "That's what I caught all my big fish on this week. Yesterday I used a 1/8-ounce weight. Today it was a little windier and I had to go to 3/16-ounce weight, all on 20-pound test Stren line." "I caught some fish swimming the worm," he added. "But the two big ones I caught came from pitching it to reeds and letting fall." Wood second William Wood of West Palm Beach, Fla., finished second in the Co-angler Division with a three-day total of 37 pounds, 11 ounces worth $5,000.William Wood of West Palm Beach, Fla., finished second in the Co-angler Division with a three-day total of 37 pounds, 11 ounces worth $5,000. Wood's primary lure during the week was a watermelon red lizard, rigged with a 3/16-ounce weight on 50-pound braided line. "That's what I caught the big limit on the first day," Wood said. "But today I switched to a black and blue Senko wacky-rigged on a shiner-style hook." Guerra third Raymond Guerra of Port Saint Lucie, Fla., finished third in the Co-angler Division with a three-day total of 35 pounds even worth $4,000. Guerra said his three primary lures during the week were a Senko (black and blue) a Gambler Big EZ (junebug) and a Gambler Buzzin' Cane Toad (Lane Toad).Raymond Guerra of Port Saint Lucie, Fla., finished third in the Co-angler Division with a three-day total of 35 pounds even. Saliba, Wiles round out the top five George Saliba of Lakefield, Ontario, finished fourth with a three-day total of 33 pounds, 9 ounces worth $3,500. Kevin Thomas of Miramar, Fla., finished fifth with a three-day total of 32-8 worth $3,000. Rest of the best Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers in the EverStart Series event on Lake Okeechobee: 6th: Jim Austin of Lithonia, Ga., three-day total of 31-15, $2,500. 7th: Cole Bailey of Thamesford, Ontario, three-day total of 30-14, $2,000 8th: Dean Harcourt of Sebastian, Fla., three day total of 28-6, $1,500 9th: Michael Wiles of Perry, Fla., three day total of 26-9, $1,000 10th: Donnie Dodd of Guntersville, Ala., three-day total of 26-0, $800

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/news/2015-03-28-birge-buzzes-ahead

Birge Buzzes Ahead

Today started off with a slightly miserable 31-degree air temperature, but it didn’t take long for the top 20 pros to really heat up on Lewis Smith Lake at the second stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour presented by Evinrude. Reports poured in throughout the day of big bass – especially big largemouths – being caught off beds. It looked at first as if one of the “largemouth lookers” might piece together a big enough bag to snatch the lead away from Oklahoma rookie Zack Birge, who struggled early to make his shallow topwater pattern work. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, the young gun Birge has the coolness and patience of a veteran, and he stuck with his game plan of throwing a buzzbait and soft jerkbait rig until the sun had time to warm the shallows and spur the fish to become more active. Birge tallied 17 pounds, 11 ounces today, raising his three-day total to 54-8 and giving him a lead of 3-11 over Texas veteran Clark Wendlandt in second place. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 3

After three days, it looks as if tournament leader Zack Birge has the quality largemouth bite in the bushes wired. But behind him on the leaderboard are nine pros doing everything from sight-fishing to catching schooling bass and everything in between. Even with all the patterns in play, few have fizzled. The sight-fishers have reported finding new bedders, the schoolers are still schooling and a couple of guys have even started tapping floating docks. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 2

While air and water temperatures plummeted on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude, the big surprise came in the stability of the fishing patterns amidst such change. Zack Birge found plenty of production on his primary pattern to send him to the top of the leaderboard, and those under him held true to their patterns as well to secure a ticket to day three’s top 20. Among the biggest surprises was the number of pros who were still able to pluck fish off beds. Most pros that were sight-fishing say the bass are committed to beds and that the cold snap will not run them off at this point in time. Despite the cold, some even found new fish on beds that were not there yesterday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-day-2-remember

Day 2 Remember

Brad Roberts didn’t just catch more weight than his pro. By the time day two was over, the co-angler had weighed in the biggest bag of any angler on the day. Leading the co-angler side going into the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude on Lewis Smith Lake, Roberts sacked a giant 18 pounds, 13 ounces to complete a two-day sweep with an impressive 32-1. “This feels awesome,” Roberts says. “I could only fish three [FLW Tour] events this year, and I picked this one because it’s a lot like Dale Hollow and Lake Cumberland back home. Obviously, I picked the right one.” How impressive was what the Faubush, Ky., angler pulled off? His 18-13 beat the biggest pro weight on day two by 9 ounces (Jason Reyes, 18-4), and his 32-1 cumulative weight would have put him in fourth on the pro side after two days. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-o-donnell-earns-co-angler-win

O’Donnell Earns Co-angler Win

“Every time I would think “oh no, this isn’t going right,” I would catch a big one,” says O’Donnell. “I guess it was meant to be.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-10-top-10-patterns-from-toho

Top 10 Patterns from Toho

At the halfway point of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Toho on Friday afternoon, it looked as if the event would be a JT Kenney runaway win. Kenney’s “red-dot” bedding program appeared to be unstoppable. But then things changed drastically: The warm-up ended, the full moon began to wane, heavy clouds took up residence over central Florida and the fairy tale of scripted plans in a multiple-day tournament came to a screeching halt. By the end of the event, several other patterns on Lake Toho quickly closed up Kenney’s seemingly insurmountable lead (12-10 after two days and 12-8 after three). When the final weigh-in came to an end, the top three places were only separated by 1 pound, 5 ounces. Patterns that involved current, shell beds and even docks helped close the gap. Here’s a look at some of the other top 10 patterns from the week. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-08-kenney-connects-the-dots

Kenney Connects the Dots

Mercury pro JT Kenney was as confident as he could be early in the week at the Walmart FLW Tour season-opener on Lake Toho. He had an incredibly refined plan built on a series of precisely placed waypoints. The waypoints marked isolated spawning areas within beds of lily pads. In the first two days of competition, Kenney looked unstoppable with limits weighing 29-14 and 22-9, respectively, to build a lead of 12-10. On day three, Kenney looked human. His limit of 14-5 could have left the door open – but after weigh-in Kenney’s lead shrank by only 2 ounces. And today, it looked as if the king, despite a massive lead, was about to give up his crown. Kenney weighed in only 9 pounds, 4 ounces. But that was enough. The Florida pro squeezed through by an 11-ounce winning margin to win the first Tour event of 2015. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-07-kenney-on-cruise-control

Kenney on Cruise Control

For those who don’t believe that professional fishing is a game of offense and defense like any other sport, consider JT Kenney’s strategy for the last three days of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Toho presented by Mercury. The first two days, Kenney ran pure “offensive plays” on key, precise bedding areas to run up the score. Today, he ran more “defensive plays” to protect his lead. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-07-top-5-patterns-from-toho-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Toho Day 3

When the Walmart FLW Tour event started at Lake Toho on Thursday, the story lines were all about spawning fish and catching bedding bass by working soft-plastic baits around isolated pad clumps. Today, the buzzwords changed to current, shell beds and reaction baits such as spinnerbaits and lipless rattlers. The change in vernacular is associated primarily with the weather. While a warm, balmy day one allowed leading pros to score big by blind bed-fishing, today’s lower temperatures, nippy northeast winds and dull gray skies caused a significant shift in productive tactics that led to a shakeup on the leaderboard. As already revealed, leader JT Kenney had to resort to a spinnerbait to adapt. Others in the top 10 have found consistency in the currents of the Kissimmee River or have adapted with new baits. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-06-kenney-crushing-the-field

Kenney Crushing the Field

Day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Mercury on Lake Toho saw JT Kenney extend his lead to 12 pounds, 10 ounces over second-place pro Stacey King with a 22-9 limit. Kenney has lived near Toho for some time and prepared meticulously for this event – it appears to be paying off. Fishing in Kissimmee all day, he managed another strong bag on a day when weather changes caused many in the top of the ranks to stumble. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-06-top-5-patterns-from-toho-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Toho Day 2

At halftime in the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Toho presented by Mercury, it’s looking like it could be a runaway by tournament leader JT Kenney. Of course, it’s bass fishing and anything can happen, but the latest frontal system rolling through Florida seems to have certainly stymied the bed-fish bonanza that many expected. As a result, the most productive areas from the last two days have been beat down by fishing pressure and are not recovering or replenishing very well. Here’s a look at how the rest of the top finishers managed to overcome challenging conditions on day two to stay at least within striking range of the leader. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-06-randles-takes-co-angler-crown

Randles Takes Co-angler Crown

The whole premise behind being a successful co-angler is to fish the spots that the guy in the front of the boat hasn’t already hit. Here on Lake Toho and connected lakes – with their miles of lily pad fields and vast mats of various types of aquatic vegetation – finding such targets of opportunity is never a problem, though some co-anglers are better than others at mining the ones that actually have bass in them. Chad Randles of Elkhorn, Neb., proved he had what it takes to pry bass out of their Toho cubby holes as he won the co-angler title here in the Walmart FLW Tour season-opener presented by Mercury. Randles weighed in a pair of limits over two days that totaled 29 pounds, 15 ounces. Mark Holman of Cornelius, N.C., was second with 27-11, while John Hunter of Shelbyville, Ky., placed third with 27-7. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-05-jt-tees-off

JT Tees Off

There was fuel, and there was flame. The fuel was in the form of a delayed largemouth bass spawn on Lake Toho that had been pushed back for several weeks due to low water temperatures and high water flows through the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. The biological clocks of Toho’s bass have been ticking, so to speak. The flame was in the form of a fast warm-up over the last three days, a full moon occurring right now and water temperatures rising nearly 10 degrees in the last 72 hours. At the day-one takeoff of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Mercury this morning, everyone held his breath for the combustion that was about to occur. And when fuel met flame there were a few fiery flare-ups, but not of the size that many expected. In all, the 20-pound mark was reached by seven anglers on a warm, balmy day that had five-alarmer written all over it. Exactly why the bite was not as good as expected is still in question. Many pros reported a vanishing act of bedding bass that had just started to show up during practice, but have now disappeared despite highly favorable conditions At the top of the standings are Florida ace JT Kenney and Missouri veteran Stacey King, who checked in with 29-14 and 28-1, respectively. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-05-top-5-patterns-from-toho-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Toho Day 1

Lake Kissimmee produced the bulk of the top-10 catches on the first day of competition, but not all of them. Still, it seems that anglers believe the time lost to traveling through the lock from Toho to eventually get to Kissimmee is worth the gamble. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-01-toho-s-mojo

Toho’s Mojo

Rob Newell breaks down the Kissimmee Chain lake by lake for a complete preview of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Toho. READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-14-carrillo-cool-in-victory

Carrillo Cool in Victory

He’s probably the most relaxed competitor this writer has ever encountered in tournament fishing. Just don’t mistake his cool demeanor on the outside for a lack of intensity deep down inside. Ricardo Carrillo of Laredo, Texas, was all business on the water at this week’s Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event on Lake Amistad presented by Frabill. Carrillo caught 11 pounds, 15 ounces, 6-10 and 5-4 in three days for a tournament total of 23-13 to win the co-angler division by more than 3 pounds. For his efforts, Carrillo earned his very first bass boat, a Ranger Z117 with 90-hp outboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-02-07-leue-lands-co-angler-title

Leue Lands Co-angler Title

Lake Havasu City, Ariz. – Believe it or not, Daniel Leue of Colusa, Calif., was the only co-angler to bring in a five-bass limit every day of competition this week in the first Western Division event on Lake Havasu presented by Mercury. Though, that doesn’t mean the second victory of his career came easy. The average quality of fish in Havasu kept Leue on his toes but thanks to his 16-pound, 2-ounce limit (the largest of the tournament) on the final day he walked away victorious. READ MORE »

/news/2015-01-24-clewiston-native-wilson-is-co-angler-champ

Clewiston Native Wilson is Co-angler Champ

He was born and raised in Clewiston, and for the last eight years Moses Wilson has been pouring his heart and soul into building a professional fishing career on his hometown waters of Lake Okeechobee. Today, Wilson took a long step forward in his quest by winning the co-angler division of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event presented by Power-Pole on Lake Okeechobee. Wilson caught 13 pounds, 7 ounces today while fishing with pro Mark Daniels Jr. for a three-day total of 38 pounds, 2 ounces. READ MORE »