UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - St. Lawrence River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Three for three

Three for three
Billy Bowen Jr., of Ocala, Fla., used an 11-pound, 1-ounce catch to capture first place in the Pro Division heading into the finals.

Pro Billy Bowen Jr., lands in first place ... again

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. - Old habits are hard to break. Just ask Billy Bowen Jr., of Ocala, Fla. Bolstered by an 11-pound, 1-ounce catch, Bowen captured the lead in the Eastern Division EverStart tournament on Lake Okeechobee for the third consecutive day. However, to hear Bowen tell it, if it wasn't for a nagging voice that awoke him in the middle of the night, he might not be standing atop the leaderboard heading into tomorrow's all-important final round of competition.

"I had a fishing spot I was saving for today, but I woke up at 3 a.m. and something told me not to go there," said Bowen. "I didn't and I wound up catching a limit by 9:30 a.m. at the place I've been going to all week. For three days I've been to the same spot and have done pretty well. So I guess I'm going back there tomorrow."

Although Bowen has little to prove after posting three consecutive first-place finishes, he acknowledged that the pressure keeps mounting despite his previous triumphs.

"This is a very nerve-wracking experience for me," said Bowen, who has about as much experience fishing Lake Okeechobee as any angler in the tournament. "I've done well so far, but I realize that this is a four-day tournament. There are many anglers capable of doing very well."

While his nerves may be causing him sleepless nights, Bowen said that if the conditions are right, he likes his chances in tomorrow's competition.

"If everything goes right tomorrow, I should have a limit of fish," said Bowen, who has yet to lose a bite all tournament. "I'm looking forward to the finals. But to tell you the truth, I wish it was over now."

In like a Lamb, out like a lion

Pro Mark Lamb of West Palm Beach, Fla., used a 10-pound, 5-ounce stringer to leapfrog from seventh place to the runner-up position heading into the finals. However, unlike Bowen, Lamb doesn't think he'll have any problem sleeping through the night.

"I've been catching a bunch of fish and I should be able to catch a limit no problem tomorrow," said Lamb, who says he's been getting between 15 and 20 bites a day. "The key is to fish really slowly. With these conditions, if you think you're fishing too slowly, you need to force yourself to slow down some more."

Lamb, who has had success flipping a Gambler crawdad and casting a Junebug in about 3 to 5 feet of water, says he is excited to be in position to win the top prize of $15,000 and a new Ranger boat.

"Second place is not too shabby at this point," he said. "For me, the pressure is off. Tomorrow, I'm just going fishing."

Wayne Clifton of Goose Creek, S.C., finished in third place with a catch of 8 pounds, 6 ounces.

"I'm fishing hard, but I missed three fish today," he said. "Hopefully, I can catch a limit tomorrow."

J.T. Kenney of Frostburg, Md., took fourth place with an 8-pound catch while Jonathan Newton of Rogersville, Ala., finished in the fifth spot with a 7-pound, 12-ounce catch.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 were Wesley Strader (sixth place) of Spring City, Tenn., with a catch of 5 pounds, 4 ounces; Jim Dalrymple (seventh) of Tavernier, Fla., with a catch of 5 pounds, 3 ounces; Vince Ingle (eighth) of Maryville, Tenn., with a catch of 4 pounds, 1 ounce; Brian Randall (ninth) of McCalla, Ala., with a catch of 3 pounds, 9 ounces; and Russ Bringger (tenth) of Pompano Beach, Fla., with a catch of 3 pounds.

Peifer storms his way into the Co-angler finals

While the majority of co-anglers struggled mightily on the fickle waters of Lake Okeechobee this afternoon, Robert Peifer had no such problems. Using a little bit of luck and some expert angling savvy, Peifer blew away the rest of the field with an amazing two-fish, 12-pound, 13-ounce catch.

"I guess I was just in the right place at the right time," said Peifer, a native of Lake Placid, Fla. "I was worried there for awhile. By 12:30 p.m., I still didn't have any fish in the boat. But then I caught two great fish in the next couple of hours. That's what made the difference."

What made the achievement more astonishing was the fact that Peifer was fishing in the first EverStart tournament of his career.

"I qualified for the EverStart tournament through the Wal-Mart BFL circuit and my goal was simply to make the top 50," said Peifer, of his pre-tournament goals. "When I qualified for the top 20 I was very happy. But to make the top 10, man, I'm doing backflips."

Standing in uncharted waters both figuratively and literally, Peifer said that he is going to have to calm his nerves during the final day of competition.

"Once I get a fish in the boat tomorrow, I should be alright," he said. "But I'm definitely going to be nervous. The key is to never give up."

Jamey Way, fresh off winning the Big Bass award in yesterday's competition, finished in second place with a catch of 6 pounds, 2 ounces. Way is a native of McLeansville, N.C.

Third place belonged to Mike Calloway of Titusville, Fla., who turned in a catch of 4 pounds, 15 ounces.

Sam Wisnewski of Kill Devil Hills, N.C., finished in fourth place with a catch of 2 pounds, 4 ounces while David Kent of Lumpkin, Ga., grabbed the fifth spot with a catch of 1 pound, 14 ounces.

Rounding out the top 10 were David Geeter (sixth place) of Augusta, Ga., with a catch of 1 pound, 13 ounces; Al Reed (seventh) of Tequesta, Fla., with a catch of 1 pound, 6 ounces; Joseph Webster (eighth) of Brilliant, Ala., with a catch of 1 pound, 6 ounces; David Bowersock (ninth) of Lake Worth, Fla., with a catch of 1 pound, 4 ounces; and Ed Sankowski (tenth) of Riverview, Fla., with a catch of 0 pounds.

Tomorrow's final takeoff is scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. at the Okee-Tantie Marina located at 10430 Highway 78 West in Okeechobee.

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Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2002-01-09-lake-okeechobee 

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