Dehart by an ounce

Co-angler champion Billy Dehart holds up two giant Lake Okeechobee bass.

CLEWISTON, Fla. - On a lake like Okeechobee anything can happen from day to day. One day you are having the tournament of your life, and the next you are left scratching your head in frustration. For co-angler Billy Dehart that perfect day came at the perfect time as his tournament-best limit of 23 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday was enough to carry him to victory. For winning the 2014 FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee, co-angler Billy Dehart earned $20,000.Dehart's week started out with him tied in 10th place with 15-5. Day two was rougher on the Burlingame, Calif., co-angler with a limit of 9-14 that dropped him to the 14th spot. The stars aligned for Dehart today when he put together that monster bag to push his three-day total to 48-11 giving him the win by a mere 1 ounce. "The lake setup right for me this week," said Dehart, who won his first major title. "This was the most comfortable I have felt in years of fishing out here." The comfort he felt on Lake Okeechobee this week can be chalked up to the fact that this was his third tournament on the lake in 2014. "I wanted to stay in Florida all of January until this tournament," Dehart explained. "I wanted to get a feel for what the weather changes did to the fish and just really get tuned into the bite." He got his week off to a solid start by throwing a white 3/8-ounce Ware Eagle spinnerbait with some orange and chartreuse - something he picked up in the Rayovac FLW Series a month ago - through the grass with wind blowing on it. When conditions changed on day two, so did Dehart. He tossed a Rapala X-Rap Prop around sparse lilly pads to produce his catch - including a 4-pounder in the last minutes to bump him inside the top-20 cut. Today, without hesitation Dehart went back to the spinnerbait with 65-pound PowerPro braid and put a 7-pounder in the boat quickly giving him instant satisfaction that he made the right call. Dehart's 7-pounder was a great start but it was his 9-14 kicker that helped seal the deal. Co-angler Billy Dehart holds up his trophy for winning the FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee."I started flipping a 5-inch watermelon colored Senko to the tules for a while and it was the only rod I didn't have braid on. I got bit and instantly got hung in the cattails. I only had 16-pound Sunline so I was pretty worried but the fish swam out pretty quick and we got her in the boat." Dehart has fished all levels of FLW competition and has found success in all of them. From a BFL Regional win to multiple top 10s in Rayovac Series and tour-level event, yet a win on the FLW Tour has eluded him - until now. "This was my first year of fishing full time. I spent my first two years on Tour flying red-eyes every event only to get in the night before the tournament with no prep time. I had to do that because of my job, but now that I can focus on fishing I feel a lot better. "I really want to thank Jacob Wheeler for teaching me all that he has over that past eight months. I also want to thank my mom and dad along with Hi's Tackle Box." With a cool $20,000 in his pocket from the victory what does the California co-angler have in mind for it? "I signed up to fish the Northen Division of the Rayovac Series as a boater just the other day except I don't have a boat. I planned on buying one but this will make it a lot easier." Coats heartbroken in second Second-place co-angler Ken Coats holds up his kicker from day three on Lake Okeechobee.Ken Coats of Tulsa, Okla., fished a great tournament this week. He kicked things off with a weight of 15 pounds, 10 ounces on day one. He added 13-11 to that on day two and today whacked 19-5 to but a bow on the title - or so he thought. In the end his three-day weight of 48-10 was just a hair shy and left him with a parting gift of $7,500. "It feels like there is an egg beater in my stomach," said the 41-year-old co-angler. "I don't think I'm going to be able to sleep for a week. I'm driving back to Oklahoma tonight and I'm sure this is all I will think about." In practice earlier in the week, Coats was catching good quality fish on a 1-ounce jig but says the slight cool front that rolled in on the first day of the event pushed the fish off that bite. He made a change to sight-fishing beds with a Junebug or black/blue Senko to put fish in the boat. "I noticed my pro was fishing kind of fast and moving right past the beds on the first day. My Typhoon sunglasses really made it easy to pick the fish out on the bed. From there it was just a matter of putting the Senko in front of them." Coats kept that up again on day two but the wind made sight-fishing a little harder. With the conditions presented on day three he made the change to a Gamble Big EZ in McMillan Magic color and it paid off. He threw the Big EZ on 50-pound PowerPro with a 7-foot heavy Falcon Rod. "Today I bet Greg (Bohannan) and I caught 25 keepers each. My Kicker was caught when it blew up on my Big EZ but didn't eat it, so I threw a Zoom Speed Worm back in there and she ate it." Though he didn't walk away with the title, Coats is happy to get the season started in the right way. "Last year at this tournament I got 50th place. I ended up finishing the season 10th in the points. So this is a great start to the year, better than I thought. I want to make it back to the Forrest Wood Cup again and this puts me in the right direction." Kavros third Co-angler Chuck Kavros shows off his keeper.Chuck Kavros of Grass Valley, Calif., was fishing in just his second Walmart FLW Tour event of his life this week. Though it was it his first event on Okeechobee, Kavros showed the poise and ability of a seasoned pro. Days one and two brought limits of 11 pounds, 8 ounces and 20-8, respectively. Kavros brought 14-6 to the Walmart parking lot today to bring his three-day total to 46-3, earning him a check for $5,000. "I had a confidence level this week that made me feel like I would do well," said Kavros, the owner of Top-This (a truck accessory store) who is his title sponsor. "I was actually pretty relaxed in all three days of fishing. I think a lot of that had to do with my practice. I spent time with Darrell Davis and Kevin Stewart earlier in the week and those guys really helped me figure out what to and what goes on out on Okeechobee." Kavros experienced what most of the field did this week with a decent morning bite everyday followed by a lull. The bite would pick back up again right before the day was over creating just a few windows to capitalize on the bite. His bait of choice in the event was a Zoom Speed Worm - Junebug in color. "I owe a lot of this week to the help I received in practice. I would have never imagined I would make a top 10 this year. A lot fell in line for me this week." Wolfe, Loeffelman Jr. round out top five Cecil Wolfe of Scarborough, Ontario, finished the event in fourth place thanks to his three day catches of 11-6, 18-0 and 13-9. His total weight on the week went 42-15 to earn him a check for $4,000. Nick Loeffelman Jr. of Valles Mines, Mo., caught 11 pounds, 12 ounces on day one. Day two saw his catch increase to 16-8. Day three he caught 14-3 to push his total up to 42-7. For his efforts, Loeffelman earned a check worth $3,000. Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers from day three on Lake Okeechobee: 6th: Joshua Weaver of Macon, Ga., 41-11, $2,500 7th: Kyle Monti of Okeechobee, Fla., 39-14, $2,000 8th: Chad Randles of Elkhorn, Neb., 39-6, $1,800 9th: Bryan Partak of Marseilles, Ill., 39-0, $1,700 10th: Greg Knick of Ansonia, Ohio, 38-4, $1,600

Tags: co-angler-headline 

/news/2015-05-15-sweet-as-honeycutt

Sweet as Honeycutt

Keith Honeycutt knows how to fish his way to the tournament podium. The veteran Texas co-angler has won multiple FLW tournaments, including the 2013 Walmart FLW Tour event at Grand Lake. Still, when Honeycutt hoisted the FLW Tour co-angler champion’s trophy over his head on stage this afternoon at Lake Eufaula, he celebrated with great joy because he knows how difficult it is to attain that level of success against the best amateur anglers in the world. “It doesn’t come around very often,” says Honeycutt, who edged out Japan’s Hiroyuki Watanabe by just 2 ounces with a two-day total of 22 pounds, 12 ounces. “It’s hard to get two pro partners who fish a way that you can catch them too.” READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-09-farage-dominates-delta-co-anglers

Farage Dominates Delta Co-anglers

Adapt or die. That pretty well sums up co-angler Jack Farage’s runaway win at the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division event presented by Ranger Boats on the California Delta this week. Obviously, the Discovery Bay, Calif., co-angler adapted – he changed baits every day – and made all the right moves. Farage opened the tournament with a massive 26-pound limit, followed with 11-11 yesterday and then blew the competition away with 16-14 today. His three-day total of 54-09 is 15-07 better than second-place co-angler Todd Kline’s. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-02-big-day-one-catch-sets-up-lejeune-s-texoma-win

Big Day One Catch Sets Up Lejeune’s Texoma Win

No doubt, co-angler Ryan Lejeune, of Eunice, La., would have preferred two more days like his first, but a big opening effort set up his wire-to-wire win in the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division tournament on Lake Texoma. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-24-co-angler-dunkin-nearly-perfect-at-beaver-lake

Co-angler Dunkin Nearly Perfect at Beaver Lake

Having all the right lures and executing proper presentation are what catches fish in a tournament. However, Walmart FLW Tour co-angler Luke Dunkin knows that to win a Tour event and its $20,000 prize from the back of the boat, everything has to be darn near perfect. “It [perfection] starts with getting to fish your style of fishing, the right pro partner and not losing a fish during the tournament,” Dunkin says. Check, check and … almost check. Dunkin, of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., experienced as close to perfection as is possible this week on the way to winning the co-angler competition at Tour stop No. 3 on Beaver Lake. His only misstep was a single lost fish that he worried would cost him. It didn’t, and in the end his total weight of 18 pounds, 2 ounces was enough to hold off Tour veteran Todd Lee of Jasper, Ala., by just 3 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-18-triplett-takes-co-angler-crown-on-grand

Triplett Takes Co-Angler Crown On Grand

READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-11-wilson-tops-co-anglers-on-rayburn

Wilson Tops Co-anglers on Rayburn

Dan Wilson caught one of only three co-angler limits on the final day of competition to come back from fourth place and win the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division event on Sam Rayburn Reservoir presented by Mercury. Consistency was key for Wilson, who weighed in 11 pounds, 1 ounce on day one, then followed with 13-04 and 14-15 on days two and three, respectively. His three-day total of 39-04 bested day-two leader Bryan New of North Carolina by 3 pounds, 12 ounces. 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/2015-03-21-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/2015-03-06-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/2015-02-14-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 »

/news/2014-11-01-callaghan-wins-co-angler-title

Callaghan Wins Co-Angler Title

ROGERSVILLE, Ala. – James Callaghan got matched up with the right pros when it counted the most here in the 2014 Rayovac FLW Series Championship on Lake Wheeler and his three-day total weight of 24 pounds, 3 ounces won him the co-angler title and the Ranger Z117 boat package that went with it. READ MORE »

/news/2014-10-04-cifuentes-wins-co-angler-title

Cifuentes wins Co-angler Title

ZAVALLA, Texas – Imagine traveling FLW Outdoor’s fishing circuits as a co-angler with legendary pro Larry Nixon…practicing with him…rooming with him…and just talking bass fishing 24-7 with one of the most decorated bass fishing pros in the modern world. READ MORE »

/news/2014-09-20-gillespie-claims-co-angler-crown

Gillespie Claims Co-angler Crown

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Carl Gillespie of Old Hickory, Tenn., couldn’t have asked for a better week. It seemed hard enough for many of the pros to connect with quality bites, let alone the co-anglers. But Gillespie stayed focused and posted double-digit limits every day of the event en route to his first title as a co-angler. READ MORE »

/news/2014-08-23-co-angler-crocker-sweeps-james-river

Co-Angler Crocker Sweeps James River

RICHMOND, Va. – Coming to the scales with only two bass on the final day of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on the James River had Michael Crocker a little nervous, but strong performances the first two days enabled the Maryland co-angler to complete the wire-to-wire victory. READ MORE »

/news/2014-08-15-new-crowned-co-angler-champ

New Crowned Co-angler Champ

COLUMBIA, S.C. – When Bryan New left the dock at Dreher Island State Park this morning, he could hardly control his excitement. Before him lay an opportunity, and it was an opportunity he believed he could seize. After catching 7 pounds, 9 ounces on day one of the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray, New came into today’s competition atop the co-angler leaderboard by more than 2 pounds. All he needed to do was catch a couple of solid fish and he’d have a shot at the win. Three keepers would almost certainly seal the deal. After two consecutive top-five finishes at the Forrest Wood Cup, this was New’s best shot at the title. And he went out and earned it. READ MORE »

/news/2014-08-14-new-nets-co-angler-lead

New Nets Co-angler Lead

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Calling your day on the water a “grind” is one of the biggest clichés in the sport of bass fishing. However, it is probably the best way to describe day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray presented by Walmart and hosted by Capital City/Lake Murray Country. When the scale closed Bryan New of Belmont, N.C., set the bar with four bass that weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces to take the lead by 2-5. READ MORE »

/news/2014-06-28-kelley-crowned-co-angler-champ

Kelley Crowned Co-angler Champ

PARIS LANDING, Tenn. – The third time was indeed the charm for Cody Kelley here at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude on Kentucky Lake, as the Arkansas fisherman won the co-angler title with a combined stringer weight of 54 pounds, 9 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2014-06-21-crowder-clinches-potomac-win

Crowder Clinches Potomac Win

MARBURY, Md. – Kermit Crowder, of Matoaca, Va. completed his wire-to-wire victory with the largest sack of day three, 12-15, and tallied a total of 39-8 in the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on the Potomac River. READ MORE »