UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Brown cruises to victory on Big O

Brown cruises to victory on Big O
Pro Marty Brown of Dalton, Ga., proudly displays his first-place trophy after winning the FLW American Fishing Series event on Lake Okeechobee.

CLEWISTON, Fla. - As a full-time firefighter and paramedic for the city of Smyrna, Ga., Marty Brown is used to dealing with intense and nerve-wracking situations on a daily basis. But luckily for him, today was not one of them. Using a total three-day catch of 52 pounds, 1 ounce, Brown sailed to victory in the biggest fishing tournament of his career, easily outdistancing the competition on the day when it mattered most.

"This is great," said Brown, shortly after securing the hard-fought tournament title on Lake Okeechobee. "I've been fishing with this organization for a long time and had a lot of close calls. But to win a tournament like this is just wonderful. This is probably the best moment of my fishing career."

While Brown ultimately won the event with plenty of weight to spare, that didn't mean that it was easy. Although the day started off calm and warm, a nasty cold front moved through the area around midday, bringing torrential rains as well as a significant drop in temperatures that shut down the bite for the majority of the field.

"At one point I was standing in the front of my boat in the rain and the cold wondering what the heck I was doing," said Brown. "But then I remembered that there was probably a good check waiting for me at the end.

"I was really hoping that the water would warm up today, but that didn't really happen," Brown continued. "But I didn't make any mistakes, and that's what needs to happen if you're going to win a tournament like this."

Pro Marty Brown of Dalton, Ga., shows off part of his wnning stringer at the American Fishing Series event on Lake Okeechobee.During the early-morning hours when the weather was more favorable, Brown managed to land a small limit of keepers by 10 a.m.

"I probably culled about three or four fish after that," said Brown. "But my big fish didn't come until around noon. It was a tough day out there. At one point my co-angler wanted to change areas, but there was no way I was going anywhere. With the weather, I knew that the weights would be down. But heading back to weigh-in, I still didn't think I had enough to pull off the win."

Brown said that he relied primarily on one fishing area, a spot that served as a gateway for spawning fish heading to and from the shallows.

"I haven't been to this lake in about 10 years, so I tried to keep things simple," he said. "I had two Castaway flipping sticks that I used all week. And I caught most of my fish on a Zoom black lizard."

As a co-angler on the FLW Tour last season, Brown said that one of the most important things he learned from his pro partners was the value of remaining patient during tournament days.

"I used to be a run-and-gun type of guy," he said. "If the fish didn't bite, I'd get impatient and go to a new area. But I saw how the pros did it. If they knew fish were in the area, they wouldn't leave even if they weren't getting the bites. And today, that helped me. Instead of moving to where I thought the fish would be, I waited for the fish to come to me."

And come to Brown they did. In the end, Brown walked away with nearly $25,000 in winnings as well as the most important victory of his career.

McMillan snares unlikely second-place finish

Pro Jeff McMillan of Belle Glade, Fla., finished the American Fishing Series event on Lake Okeechobee in second place.Heading into the finals on Lake Okeechobee, Jeff McMillan of Belle Glade, Fla., was sitting in sixth place, nearly a full 10 pounds off the lead. While it appeared McMillan was in line for a nice check, it didn't seem likely that he'd be able to challenge for a tournament title. But that's exactly what he did.

After turning in the biggest sack of day three - a 13-pound, 7-ounce stringer - McMillan sat back and watched as one pro after another struggled to bring a double-digit bag to the weigh-in podium. And before he knew it, there was only one angler - Marty Brown - standing between him and a tournament title.

While Brown quickly produced the winning weight, McMillan's effort was not lost on the crowd.

"It was a great tournament," said McMillan. "It could have been a little better, but the weather really got us. But, overall, I had a blast."

McMillan said that he targeted most of his fish in grass in about 2 to 3 feet of water using a combination of Reaction Innovation Skinny Dippers and Senko worms.

"If I missed a fish on the Skinny Dipper, I'd throw the Senko and catch it nine times out of 10," he said. "For me, the key was finding clear water. It was OK if it was a little bit dirty, but if it was chocolate, you might as well move on and not waste your time."

McMillan, who ultimately recorded a three-day catch of 46 pounds, 6 ounces, walked away with a runner-up finish and nearly $8,400 in prize money. And although he had a few minor regrets, he said the overall experience is one that he'll remember for a long time.

"This is my first-ever American Fishing Series event, so I feel pretty good," he said. "I lost a good fish on Thursday, another one on Friday and had a 3-pounder come unhooked at the boat today. And those fish would have helped me. But, overall, I had a fantastic time."

DeMott nets third place

Day-one pro leader Don DeMott of Boca Raton, Fla., ultimately finished the American Fishing Series event on Lake Okeechobee in third plalce.Like many of the top 10 finalists, day-one pro leader Don DeMott of Boca Raton, Fla., really struggled with the last-minute weather change that descended upon Lake Okeechobee during the final day of competition. Although he appeared poised to make a strong run at a tournament title, his final-day catch of 5 pounds, 10 ounces ultimately derailed his chances.

"The water temperature really changed overnight, and I think that's why the weights came down a bunch today," said DeMott. "I really needed the water temperatures to be in the low 60s, and that didn't happen. When the weather changed, it really hurt my fish. I guess Florida fish really don't like weather changes that much."

Throughout the tournament, DeMott had been running all over the lake, targeting as many as 15 different spots and fishing a variety of Gambler ribbon-tail worms, flapping shads and a new bait, the Gambler Big Easy. However, despite his lack of success in the finals, DeMott said he had no regrets.

"Any time you make the top 10, you're making good decisions," said DeMott, who ultimately recorded a total weight of 46 pounds, 5 ounces. "It was definitely a lot of fun to compete against the caliber of fishermen here. Overall, I've been really blessed this week. I had a great time."

For his efforts, DeMott walked away with nearly $6,000 in winnings.

Fitts grabs fourth place

Pro Jeff Fitts of Keystone Heights, Fla., finished the American Fishing Series event on Lake Okeechobee in fourth place.Plagued by boat problems all week, it was a near miracle that Jeff Fitts of Keystone Heights, Fla., even qualified for the finals. Throw in the fact that he entered the final day of competition in ninth place, and it was easy to see why Fitts was more than pleased with his fourth-place finish.

"I'm so excited to be here," said Fitts, who turned in a three-day catch of 45 pounds, 14 ounces. "It's unbelievable. It's been a trying week for me for sure."

Fitts, who lost his lower unit earlier in the tournament, said that he targeted bass by using a combination of Strike King tube baits, Zoom Brush Hogs and sight-fishing techniques.

"What a week," said Fitts. "It was tough. But, overall, I'm happy with how things turned out."

For his efforts, Fitts netted nearly $5,000 in prize money.

Best of the rest

Dwayne Horton of Knoxville, Tenn., used a total catch of 45 pounds, 8 ounces to finish in fifth place. Horton also walked away with a check for $4,400.

Pro Koby Kreiger of Okeechobee, Fla., shows off his catch en route to a sixth-place finish at the FLW AFS event on Lake Okeechobee.Rounding out the top 10 American Fishing Series pro finalists:

6th: Koby Kreiger of Okeechobee, Fla., 44-11
7th: Kevin Long of Clewiston, Fla., 42-15
8th: Roger Gonzalez of Hialeah Gardens, Fla., 40-7
9th: Aymon Wilcox of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., 38-13
10th: Ronnie Watts of Florence, S.C., 36-15

FLW American Fishing Series Southeast Division action resumes on Lake Seminole, scheduled to take place April 29-May 1 in Bainbridge, Ga.

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2010-02-25-lake-okeechobee 

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 »

Fitzpatrick All the Way on Grand

Fitzpatrick All the Way on Grand

Roger Fitzpatrick has had quite a fall fishing season. He won the BFL Super Tournament on Lake of the Ozarks in September, then qualified for the All-American by winning the BFL Regional on Grand Lake in October. READ MORE »

Drury Wins on Lake of the Ozarks

Drury Wins on Lake of the Ozarks

The Drury University duo of Cole Breeden of Eldridge, Missouri and Cameron Smith, of Nixa, Missouri, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Bass Pro Shops with a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 9 ounces. The victory earned the Panthers’ bass club $2,650 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

Myers Makes Long Run for Kentucky Win

Myers Makes Long Run for Kentucky Win

Mark Myers of Cedar Falls, Iowa, is no stranger to the victory circle with FLW, having previously won a BFL as a boater to go with two FLW Tour victories as a co-angler and two more as a co-angler in Costa FLW Series competition. But, his latest win at the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Regional on Kentucky and Barkley Lakes is the realization of his long-time goal to qualify for the All-American. READ MORE »

Beavers Wins Potomac Regional

Beavers Wins Potomac Regional

A severe storm backed up the tides and drained many of the best areas on the Potomac. Adjusting to the unusual conditions and grinding out daily limits were the keys to success in the BFL Regional. READ MORE »

New Dominates Seminole Regional

New Dominates Seminole Regional

Belmont, N.C., angler Bryan New, who’s regularly one of FLW’s top performers in the grassroots ranks, had established a dominant pace. New weighed in 22 pounds, 9 ounces on day one and added 20-2 on day two to carry a lead of 6 pounds, 15 ounces into the finals. A roughly 7-pound margin isn’t necessarily a sure thing on Seminole, but the fall bite was a bit slower than what the lake can produce, and it was obvious New was cruising. READ MORE »

Hays Rallies for Ozark Title

Hays Rallies for Ozark Title

The final day of the Costa FLW Series Central Division event on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude was no walk in the park for the top 10 pros. With a cold front passing through at the start of the event, a high-pressure system settled in for the final round of fishing. While most struggled, Dylan Hays of El Dorado, Ark., sacked up 14 pounds, 6 ounces today – the biggest limit brought in during the final day – and finally was able to wrangle his first FLW title. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 3

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 3

The final day of the Costa FLW Series Central Division on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude is fixing to get fun based on what’s already happened today and what could happen. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake of the Ozarks – Day 2

Sure enough, with conditions changing from rain and clouds to sun and wind, the Costa FLW Series Central Division on Lake of the Ozarks, which is presented by Evinrude, has made it tough on guys. Of course, day-two leader James Watson predicted that some of the biggest bags of the event would come in today despite the conditions, and he was right. READ MORE »

Consistency Puts Watson Out Front

Consistency Puts Watson Out Front

Weather has been the storyline leading up to the Costa FLW Series Central Division finale on Lake of the Ozarks presented by Evinrude. With storms and rain blowing through yesterday ahead of a cold front, the cooler weather set in today making fishing tough on some, but others took advantage of the change. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 2

Lake of the Ozarks Midday Update – Day 2

A cold front that brought temperatures in the 40s, rain and wind has the bass in a funk on day two of the Costa FLW Series Central Division event presented by Evinrude on Lake of the Ozarks. READ MORE »