UPCOMING EVENT: FLW SERIES - 2020 - Toledo Bend Lake

McMillan is the man

McMillan is the man
Jimmy McMillan of Belle Glade, Fla., wins the Walmart FLW Series event on Lake Okeechobee with a four-day total of 74-4.

CLEWISTON, Fla. - Last January, Jimmy McMillan of Belle Glade, Fla., fished the Walmart FLW Series on Lake Okeechobee and finished second.

At the time, the FLW Series event was the biggest tournament he had ever fished. During that tournament he made some bad decisions, and his runner-up finish left him on the edge of what could have been.

After that tournament, he had no intentions of fishing the rest of the 2008 BP Eastern Division tournaments. But at the last minute, he decided to go to the second stop, Lake Wheeler, sight unseen.

A $10,000 check at Wheeler for a 49th-place finish made him push on to Lake Champlain and then to Clarks Hill, where he scored another top-10. At the end of the 2008 FLW Series season, McMillan was crowned BP Eastern Division Angler of the Year after fishing against some of the best names in professional bass fishing.

With that Angler of the Year title, McMillan proved something to himself: He could compete against the best and finish at the top. That confidence carried into the new 2009 Series season, where the opener once again landed on his home lake of Okeechobee.

This time around, however, McMillan exhibited the kind of calmness and focus that only comes with Jimmy McMillan drove his win home with a pair Big O kickers.tournament-fishing experience. Over the course of four days, the Okeechobee local never faltered and amassed a dominating weight of 74 pounds, 4 ounces to win his first major title as a professional angler.

"This feels really good," McMillan said after pocketing $100,000. "After I won the points in the Eastern Division last year, it took a lot of pressure off me. This week I went out there and fished for me. I found an area, developed a game plan and stuck to it."

That game plan involved targeting spawning bass in an area on the east side of the lake.

"I actually found this area on January 7th, before the cutoff," McMillan recalled. "I normally fish the south end of the lake, but I went up to the east side and found a beautiful area, full of gin-clear water and a nice hard bottom that had mussel shells. I knew right then that area would be the hot spot for this tournament, and it was. There were a lot of people that found it and caught fish in there this week."

McMillan's one-two punch for the area centered on swimming a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper through the grass and sight-fishing a Sweet Beaver on beds.

The Skinny Dippers were rigged with either a Reaction Innovations Screwed-up locking weight or a 1/32-ounce screw-in weight, punched into the nose of the soft-plastic swimbait with a 6/0 Gamakatsu hook. He used a variety of colors and tied the Dipper to 65-pound-test Suffix braid.

Jimmy McMillan's key lures: a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper and a Sweet Beaver.The Sweet Beaver (white) was his sight-fishing weapon, topped with a ¼-ounce weight and tied to 25-pound-test Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon.

"The first day was mostly the Skinny Dipper," McMillan said. "The next two days I mixed it up with the Dipper and the Beaver, and then with the wind today, I couldn't sight-fish so I went back to swimming the Skinny Dipper."

McMillan noted that when he fished the Skinny Dipper, he did not "buzz" the surface, but instead reeled it under the surface.

Today he only caught four fish, but they weighed 16 pounds, 14 ounces, the biggest catch of the day despite the high winds.

Kreiger second

Iams pro Koby Kreiger of Okeechobee, Fla., finished second with a four-day total of 61 pounds, Iams pro Koby Kreiger finished second with 61-4 for four days.4 ounces worth $50,000.

For most of the week, Kreiger put his sight-fishing skills to work using a white Zoom Superhog to pluck fish off beds.

In fact, during the week, McMillan gave credit to Kreiger for giving him some sight-fishing tips.

Kreiger and McMillan shared the same productive bedding area on the east side of the lake.

Though Kreiger estimated that 80 percent of his fish came sight-fishing, he, too, used the Skinny Dipper to snare a couple of key fish.

Fukae third

BP pro Shin Fukae finished third with 59-9 for four days.The ever-consistent Shin Fukae of Mineola, Texas, was the only pro to catch a five-bass limit Saturday on a blustery day four. His 9-pound, 10-ounce catch gave him a four-day total of 59 pounds, 9 ounces, good enough for $40,000.

Fukae spent most of the week swimming a 5-inch green-pumpkin Swimming Senko on the surface of Kissimmee grass in South Bay.

With the gusty conditions today, he adapted by fishing a ChatterBait around cattails.

His ChatterBait, however, was rather unique.

"I took a ChatterBait blade and put it on an All-Terrain swimming jig," Fukae explained. "Then I put a 4-inch Swimming Senko on for a trailer."

Both the skirt and the Swimming Senko were green-pumpkin in color.

Surman fourth

Castrol pro Mike Surman of Boca Raton, Fla., finished fourth with a four-day total of 58 pounds, 3 Castrol pro Mike Surman finished fourth with 58-3.ounces worth $40,000.

Surman, too, did a lot of his damage on the east side of the lake in the area that McMillan and Kreiger were fishing.

His primary baits were a 5-inch Gambler Paddletail worm, a Gambler 10-inch worm and a Cane Toad.

"I did catch a few fish on the surface with the Cane Toad, but a majority of my fish came on the Paddletail and big ribbontail worms," Surman said. "I used a 5/16-ounce weight on both and pitched them into holes in the grass."

Mann fifth

Tom Mann Jr. of Buford, Ga., finished fifth with a four-day total of 57 pounds, 4 ounces worth $20,000.

Tom Mann, Jr., made his first stride to the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup with his fifth place finish today.Mann has one thing on his mind these days: the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Lanier in 2010, and rightly so. Few fishermen know more about Lanier than Mann, who has fished the lake all his life. But he has to get there first, and he made the first giant step in securing that berth with his fifth-place finish today.

"Make no bones about it: I'm after a Forrest Wood Cup berth," Mann said. "I even put in extra practice time down here for it."

Mann spent most of the week fishing between Turner's Cove and Cochran's Pass with Yamamoto Senkos, Cut-tail worms and Horny Toads.

On day three he caught 23 pounds, 7 ounces to put him in the top 10.

"There was really nothing special about it," Mann said of the huge limit. "I went fishing in the same area with the same baits like I did the days before; I just got some really big bites. It was a fun week, but I'm already thinking about the next Series stop on Eufaula - I want to make the Cup in 2010."

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros in the Walmart FLW Series BP Eastern on Lake Okeechobee:

6th: Scott Lunsford of Calhoun, Ga., four-day total of 56-1, $19,000
7th: Shonn Goodwin of Moore, Okla., 53-8, $18,000
8th: Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., 53-4, $17,000
9th: Carmen Patti of Davie, Fla., 52-12, $16,000
10th: Glenn Browne of Ocala, Fla., 49-14, $15,000

Coming up

The next FLW Series Eastern event will be held April 1-4 on Lake Eufaula in Alabama.

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2009-01-28-lake-okeechobee 

Cox Losing Ground on Rayburn

Cox Losing Ground on Rayburn

READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Day 3 Coverage

Sam Rayburn Day 3 Coverage

The final 30 anglers are blasting off and headed to their first spots of the day. By the time the smoke clears this evening, we'll have 10 pros left to fish tomorrow, all chasing that $100,000 check and a huge jump start on the Angler of the Year points race. READ MORE »

Cox Leads by 5 pounds at Rayburn

Cox Leads by 5 pounds at Rayburn

Day two of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event on Sam Rayburn offered fairly tough conditions, but the cream of the crop still caught a lot of Texas bass. In first, John Cox stayed steady with an 18-pound, 12-ounce limit to get up to a 40-3. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Day 2 Coverage

Sam Rayburn Day 2 Coverage

After an overcast and calm start to the first day on Sam Rayburn, day two looks to be offering much different weather conditions. The forecast calls for sunny skies all day, though it should be as windy, or windier, than it was to close day one. That's potentially good news for a good portion of the field, as conditions should more closely resemble what anglers had to work with during practice. READ MORE »

Cox Cranks Up Lead on Rayburn

Cox Cranks Up Lead on Rayburn

In what had to be an ironic sight, while Cox watched others around him beat Sam Rayburn’s shallow brush, the DeBary, Fla., pro sacked up 21 pounds, 7 ounces and take the day one lead by focusing out deeper with a crankbait to kick off the new Pro Circuit season. READ MORE »

Cox Leads with 21 at Rayburn

Cox Leads with 21 at Rayburn

Day one of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit on Sam Rayburn provided plenty of fish, but none of the mega-bags that hit the scale in 2019. As is often the case, John Cox is in the lead after day one, with 21 pounds, 7 ounces. Behind him, are a strong collection of tour veterans, up-and-coming pros and local talent. In second with 21-4 is Greg Bohannan and close behind him is Darold Gleason with 21-3. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Day 1 Coverage

Sam Rayburn Day 1 Coverage

The 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season is officially underway on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in East Texas. With the new season comes some fresh faces and familiar favorites, all of whom are looking to get a head start on the rest of the field in the 2020 Angler of the Year points standings. READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - Sam Rayburn

FLW Live Leaderboard - Sam Rayburn

FLW Marshals and media staff provide unofficial weight estimates for the first stop of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Sam Rayburn Reservoir. READ MORE »

Carper Wins Big on St. Johns River

Carper Wins Big on St. Johns River

The 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine continued competition Saturday at the St. Johns River in Palatka, Florida – the first time that the Gator Division presented by A.R.E. has opened their season on the St. Johns River – and featured a major return on investment for the winner. READ MORE »

Lasyone Tops Record Field on Rayburn

Lasyone Tops Record Field on Rayburn

The 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine opened competition Saturday at the historic Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas, and featured a record-setting field size – 230 boaters and 230 co-anglers. The season opener, the largest field in more than 20 years, took off with multiple anglers left on the waiting list.  READ MORE »

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Weighing limits of 15 pounds, 13 ounces on day one and 15-3 on day two, Michael Miller of Greenville, S.C., overcame a tough-fishing Kentucky Lake to win the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Wild Card and qualify for the All-American. READ MORE »

Coastal Carolina Wins on Hartwell  

Coastal Carolina Wins on Hartwell  

The Coastal Carolina University duo of Max McQuaide of Tyngsborough, Mass., and Grant Tattersall, of Conway, S.C., won the YETI FLW College Fishing tournament at Lake Hartwell presented by Costa with a five-bass limit weighing 13 pounds, 11 ounces. The victory earned the Chanticleers’ bass club $2,000 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

Allison Comes from Behind on Cumberland

Allison Comes from Behind on Cumberland

By catching four quality smallmouth bass on the final day of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland, Missourian Chad Allison was able to come back from 10th place and win the co-angler division, earning more than $30,000. READ MORE »

Upshaw Closes on Cumberland

Upshaw Closes on Cumberland

For the second time this season, Andrew Upshaw is an FLW champion thanks to consistent days spent targeting big Southern smallmouths. The Tulsa, Okla., pro won the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland in Burnside, Ky., with a three-day total weight of 42 pounds, 15 ounces. The win comes less than seven months after Upshaw won the FLW Tour event on Cherokee Lake in east Tennessee. READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Cumberland

FLW Live Leaderboard - Lake Cumberland

FLW media staff provides unofficial weight estimates for the 2019 Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland READ MORE »

Cumberland Day 3 Coverage

Cumberland Day 3 Coverage

Andrew Upshaw continues to roll on Cumberland. READ MORE »

Upshaw Moves Ahead at Cumberland

Upshaw Moves Ahead at Cumberland

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland was a bit tougher for some, given the post-frontal conditions featuring lighter winds, sun and cold temperatures. As projected, consistency has been the key and Andrew Upshaw continued to dial in his program adding 15 pounds, 1 ounce to his day-one bag of 14-15 for a total of 30 pounds even. READ MORE »

Cumberland Day 2 Coverage

Cumberland Day 2 Coverage

Day one of the Costa FLW Series Championship proved to be about as challenging as many anglers anticipated after a tough practice period, but it wasn’t all bad. Zimbabwe’s Roger Cousens certainly wasn’t complaining. His tournament-leading 17-pound, 2-ounce bag was exactly what he had hoped for as the tournament kicked off, and he’s gunning for another big stringer today. READ MORE »

Zimbabwe’s Cousens Grabs Lead

Zimbabwe’s Cousens Grabs Lead

The FLW International Division is well represented in the Costa FLW Series Championship, and perhaps none represented the division better than Roger Cousens of Zimbabwe, who didn’t seem bothered by the stingy conditions of Lake Cumberland on day one. With the only bag that topped 17 pounds for the day (17-2), Cousens enters day two with a 3-ounce lead over Robert Nakatomi, who qualified from the Western Division. READ MORE »

Cumberland Day 1 Coverage

Cumberland Day 1 Coverage

With rain early and a cold snap forecasted to move in this afternoon, the first day of the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Cumberland could present some unique challenges for the 193-boat field, especially after a fairly mild and pleasant practice period.  READ MORE »