FLW Tour Recap: Lake Okeechobee

Kellogg’s pro Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., netted second place overall after day-three competition on the Potomac River.

(Editor's note: Veteran bass pro Dave Lefebre has agreed to take time to share his insights into each FLW Tour event of the 2013 season. After every event, Lefebre will give his thoughts on tournament strategy, winning techniques and other behind-the-scenes stories/information that is compelling to our readers. The following blog represents his first installment of the season. Lefebre ultimately finished the Lake Okeechobee event in 102nd place with a two-day total of 20 pounds, 8 ounces). One hundred and second place - not a bad way to kick off the 2013 FLW Tour season ... yeah right! This trip to Okeechobee is hard to swallow and it will be a long time before I quit thinking about it. I feel like a field goal kicker who just missed a game-winning boot in the last 3 seconds of a game; it's a sick feeling. A bad performance is never good, but there is a good reason why this bomb hurts a lot more than those in the past. I almost always leave Florida feeling like I lucked out, so deep down I knew a train wreck would probably happen one of these days. Sometimes the littlest things that happen throughout the three-day practice period can turn out to be monumental in your final outcome - and one of those little things is what ultimately got me this year on the "Big O." Like many others, I had a tougher-than-normal practice. By the third day I had decided I was going to go pound it out in the same location I have done well over the past three years or so. I was content to put my head down and grind it out. I checked it out, found a 4-pounder on a bed and caught a couple other smaller fish. However, the presence of four airboats spraying weed killer in the area scared me a little. So on the last afternoon of practice, I decided to go to a section of the lake I'd never been before and just start over. It was about 4 p.m. on Tuesday when I took my practice partner, Alton Lackie, for a long boat ride south into Pelican Bay. As soon as we started fishing we immediately began catching fish, mostly smaller ones under 2 pounds. But then I got a big bite, and then another. I landed one over 8 pounds and then we headed home. It seemed like I had finally found something and I became a little excited for the derby to start; thus I subsequently forgot about my other area that has treated me so well over the last few years. Needless to say, I spent the entire tournament in this area in Pelican Bay. I caught 100-plus fish per day, but only had one big bite, a 6- or 7-pounder early on day 2 which I lost. It was amazing to catch so many small fish and never run into a bigger one. Charlie Ingram, Blake Nick, Stetson Blaylock and Jonathon Newton shared the same large area and Ingram's co-angler proved that some bigger bass were hanging around in the area as he had over 22 pounds to lead all co-anglers. Stetson also managed a big bite or two from the spot and ultimately ended the day one with 17 pounds. The rest of us didn't fair so well and we all finished in the bottom of the pack unfortunately. But here's the part that causes me sleep loss. After the second day of the event, Greg Bohannan asked me why he didn't see me in the area I've fished the last three years. He said there was another guy in there in a white Phoenix boat. As it turns out, that white Phoenix belonged to the eventual winner of the event, Drew Benton. To verify Greg's story, I watched Rob Newell's Reel Time Report from day three and easily recognized the small spot ... I just couldn't believe it. Had I not made that run to Pelican Bay late on the last day of practice, what could've been? I guess I'll never know. I've practice right through areas without a bite before, only to see that same area really excel on TV later. It's a terrible feeling, but this one is much worse, having so much history in the area. Now I've got five more tournaments to claw my way out of the basement and try to regain some sort of pulse. Okeechobee was no doubt tougher this year, but the same techniques produced as usual. Weedless swimbaits like the Yamamoto Swimming Senko and Trigger X Slop Hopper proved very effective when reeled through the thick grass. Casting Senkos and worms into holes in the grass was also deadly. Sight-fishing was big for a few guys I know, especially Bryan Thrift, who told me he snatched an 8-pounder from a bed on day one. The Thrifter went on to finish in seventh. The jig bite, however, was off. I know Rick Cotton, the leader after day 2, caught most of his fish with a big jig, but overall it didn't play as in years' past - a scenario underscored by Brandon Medlock's results. I know I tried to make the jig bite happen for many hours in practice and only had a single bite. ChatterBaits, Rippin Raps and spinnerbaits also played well, with several of the top finishers using the ChatterBait in the outside, thinner grass areas. The winner actually put a few key fish in the boat with this technique as well. The northern area of the lake was most popular as everyone I talked to who relied on the south end struggled in the event. It seemed that if you weren't fishing in a crowded area, you weren't making a big check. I can promise you that I'll be in a crowded area next year, pounding it out with everyone else. Our next FLW Tour stop takes us to Lewis Smith Lake in Alabama, a location we've been to twice before in the past. I think our timing for that one will be perfect and the weights will be very strong. I'm looking forward to fishing a lake that makes sense, a lake where the bass read the same books I did. Besides, my buddy Randall Tharp says I'm going to win that one. I'll take his word for it! To read more about Dave's life on the road, check out On Tour With Dave and Anne, sponsored by Chevy. Throughout the 2013 FLW Tour season, Dave and his wife, Anne will be keeping a detailed blog of their experiences while traveling the country in their Chevy Trucks. To follow Dave Lefebre on Facebook click here.

Tags: blog  dave-lefebre 

/tips/2015-04-24-blog-east-vs-west

Blog: East vs. West

I’m not going to say the West is better than the East, or vice-versa. However, I am going to say that where fishing is concerned, there are some distinct differences between the two. The list is long and I’m sure that you can think of many additional differences, but here are a few things I have found that separates the two locales. For the purposes of this blog, let’s make the dividing line the Mississippi River although I think we should include Texas with the East. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-21-blog-the-bucket-list

Blog: The Bucket List

I lived my first 25 years in the Midwest, and I used to get horrible cabin fever this time of year. Sitting in front of a television and watching Jimmy, Hank, Roland and Bill catch monster bass on a spinnerbait on every single cast only made it worse. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-14-blog-back-in-the-groove

Blog: Back in the Groove

It feels good to be in full swing of the tournament season again. We just finished the second stop of the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake, and it was an excellent event. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-14-5-pivotal-moments-in-my-career

5 Pivotal Moments in my Career

The FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake marked the beginning of my senior campaign. While it was great to get on some open water for the first time in months (though we didn’t finish very well), it also had me looking back at five events that, more than any others, led me to this point. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-14-a-year-of-new-firsts

A Year of New Firsts

There are a lot of firsts in my life now: my first full year on the Walmart FLW Tour, the first time not to fish any full B.A.S.S. circuit in many years, the first time to fish with co-anglers in a long while, the first time to compete at Beaver Lake, and so on. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-10-up-then-down-again

Up, Then Down Again

The highs and lows in this sport are amazing. They are amazing and sometimes hard to deal with. Sometimes you just have to test yourself on how thick your skin really is. For example, consider my highs and lows in the last few months. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-07-sweet-home-alabama

Sweet Home Alabama

Hey everyone, I'm just getting back and caught up from the second stop of the Walmart FLW Tour at Lewis Smith Lake. The lake was fishing like never before, and all the fish have grown up quickly on those blueback herring. Now that I've been back home a week and watched all the videos and read all the articles about the top 10 anglers I can say I have zero regrets! READ MORE »

/tips/2015-04-02-when-everything-comes-together

When Everything Comes Together

Dave Lefebre describes what baits and techniques he used to win the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake in this week's blog. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-29-lefebre-wins-walmart-flw-tour-on-lewis-smith-lake-presented-by-evinrude

Lefebre Wins Walmart FLW Tour On Lewis Smith Lake Presented By Evinrude

JASPER, Ala. (March 29, 2015) – FLW Tour pro Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pennsylvania, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 19 pounds, 5 ounces to win the Walmart FLW Tour at Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude. Lefebre’s four-day total of 20 bass weighing 65-5 gave him a 1-pound, 14-ounce margin of victory over second place pro... READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-29-lefebre-lands-on-top

Lefebre Lands on Top

He left the dock this morning in 7th place, eight and a half pounds off the lead. And when he returned this afternoon, Dave Lefebre shocked the weigh-in crowd with a come-from-behind Walmart FLW Tour win that left his competitors shell-shocked. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-18-expect-change-and-adapt-to-it

Expect Change and Adapt to It

Ish Monroe explains how to adapt to changing conditions and recommends to always fish your strengths in this weeks blog. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-17-so-you-want-to-be-a-co-angler-

So You Want to be a Co-Angler?

First and foremost, I know I’m fishing the tournament as a co-angler and I make sure that I not only stay out of my pro’s way, but I do what I can to assist him throughout the day. This starts at the ramp with assisting him with the launch where possible. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-16-a-30-piece-puzzle-with-four-pieces-missing

A 30-Piece Puzzle with Four Pieces Missing

The whole time I was down in Florida during the FLW Tour opener on Lake Toho I felt like I was trying to put together a 30-piece puzzle with four pieces missing. The weather was right, the water temperature was right, the thousands of acres of vegetation looked right, but one thing was wrong: the fish! READ MORE »

/tips/2015-03-12-a-clean-slate

A Clean Slate

The 2015 season opener of the Walmart FLW Tour wasn’t at Okeechobee, as in recent years, but at Lake Toho in central Florida. I was excited about the change, and even more pumped to start a fresh new season after blowing my motor on day one of the first event last year. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-11-lefebre-signs-with-quigley-4x4

Lefebre Signs with Quigley 4x4

Quigley Motor Company, manufacturer of four-wheel-drive conversions for Ford, General Motors and Nissan, announces its yearlong sponsorship with top-ranked professional angler Dave Lefebre. As part of the sponsorship agreement, Lefebre and his family will travel the Walmart FLW Tour in a Quigley 4x4 Van. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-02-27-toho-bound

Toho Bound

You have to understand that having home field advantage in fishing is the absolute worst. There are so many demons; you have too much information, you start fishing the lake’s history – it goes on and on and it’s very hard for a professional angler to mentally break that barrier. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-02-25-3-thoughts-on-toho

3 Thoughts on Toho

I was without power for three days after the first storm, but it snowed again this weekend and there is supposed to be more weather on the way. Suffice to say, I can’t get to Florida and Lake Toho fast enough. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-02-20-east-to-west

East to West

As a tournament angler, I realize that a primary aspect of my job is to be able to catch fish anywhere, in all types of fisheries, under a variety of conditions. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-02-12-from-swamp-pro-to-bass-pro

From Swamp Pro to Bass Pro

When most people hear the name “T-Roy Broussard,” they think of me as the Texan in the big green airboat on the reality television show Swamp People. Three years ago I was introduced to households across the world as a burly alligator hunter that made a living off of the land. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-01-29-here-we-go

Here We Go

The 2015 bass tournament season is officially underway and I am super-excited about the changing dynamics. There is no doubt that the economy is improving and the 250-boat field that fished the first Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Okeechobee is testament to that. READ MORE »