UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Eufaula

Sight-bite dies, leads to McMillan’s rise

Sight-bite dies, leads to McMillan’s rise
Brandon McMillan of Belle Glade, Fla., now leads the EverStart Southeast Event with two-day total of 47-6.

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. - From the mouths of many tournament anglers these very words have been spoken, "You can't win a multiple day tournament on Lake Okeechobee by sight-fishing alone."

Day two of the EverStart Southeast event on Lake Okeechobee proved that convention true once again.

While sight-fishing can make magic happen for a single-day catch on the Big O, as Joey Thigpen's 34 pounds, 8 ounces did yesterday, something always changes - namely weather or fishing pressure - which snuffs out the sight-bite.

After a day full of trolling motors in the spawning flats Thursday, and much cooler Thursday night, the big spawning females did not want to play today and it showed in the overall weights. Twenty limits over 20 pounds were weighed in Thursday; only two limits topped the 20-pound mark today.

Those who caught sight-fish yesterday struggled today; meanwhile those who brandished the flipping sticks today rose up through the standings.

Among those charging with the big sticks were JT Kenney, Randall Tharp, Brandon Medlock and the new tournament leader: Brandon McMillan

Brandon McMillan of Belle Glade, Fla., followed up his 26 pounds, 1 ounce from day one with a 21-5 catch today to move into first with a two-day total of 47 pounds, 6 ounces.
McMillan is fishing in and around sight-fishing areas, but instead of looking for fish, he is looking for something completely different.

"I know where the two biggest sight-fishing areas are on the lake right now," McMillan said. "I went into those areas looking for the thickest, nastiest looking mats I could find with the expectation that fishing pressure or colder weather would push those fish under protective mats and post-spawn fish in general would begin using that thick stuff as the tournament wore on."

So far McMillan's strategy has paid off perfectly. In addition, he's got the wind playing right into his hands.

"In a way the wind has helped because it keeps blowing more and floating vegetation into my best areas," McMillan said. "Yesterday I was punching little mats with a 1/2-ounce weight and I only had about 200 yards of it to work with. Today, that mat had grown to over a ¼-mile long and I had to use a 1-1/2-ounce weight to get through it."

McMillan now enters the final day with 3-pound advantage.

Medlock second Brandon Medlock of Lake Placid, Fla., is in second place after day two with 44-6.

Brandon Medlock of Lake Placid, Fla., is in second place with a two-day total of 44 pounds, 6 ounces.

Medlock, too, is pitching and flipping, but he is targeting sparse, isolated vegetation. This is an important distinction when compared to the matted stuff because Medlock's fish are spawning while McMillan's fish are in more of a staging mode in the thicker vegetation.

"There's no doubt my fish are spawning fish," Medlock said. "Yesterday they were eating it up, but today they were biting funny - typical spawning fish - barely hooked inside the mouth. I lost two big ones because they just were not biting when compared to yesterday."

Medlock is using a jig his dad makes called Medlock's Double-guard jig - a 1-ounce flipping jig with a double weed guard for Florida's weedy waters, black and blue in color.

"It's a great reaction bait down here," Medlock said. "The 1-ounce size is perfect for making long pitches in windy conditions."

Thigpen third
Joey Thigpen of St. Johns, Fla., is in third place with a two-day total of 44-0.
Day one leader Joey Thigpen of St. Johns, Fla., slid back to third place today with a small limit that gave him a two-day total of 44 pounds even.

Thigpen did catch one sight-fish today, but most of his catch came from working a Swimming Senko over the grass.

He is holding out hope that some new fish will move up tomorrow with sunny skies and lighter winds.

Tharp fourth
Randall Tharp of Gardendale, Ala., is in fourth place with a two-day total of 43-9.
EverStart pro Randall Tharp of Gardendale, Ala., is making a habit out of mining top-10 finishes at the Big O and he is at it again this week, claiming fourth place with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 9 ounces.

Tharp's key to success at Okeechobee is to have several irons in the fire in terms of fishing options during the course of a tournament week.
This week he has been rotating between sight-fishing, mat flipping and swimming a worm in the grass depending on the conditions.

"I started the day flipping mats and got a limit pretty quick," Tharp said. "Then I went to a sight-fish I'd found earlier in the week and it. In the course of doing that, I found another one on bed and caught it and those two sight-fish really ended up being my two best fish."

As for tomorrow, Tharp thinks he'll stay with the mats a little longer than he did today.

"I might have given up on those mats a little too early this morning," he said. "On this lake it's all about fishing the conditions you're dealt from day to day so I'm prepared to do anything tomorrow."

Jenkins fifth

Rounding out the top five is Frank Jenkins of Fort Myers, Fla., with a two-day total of 40 pounds, 1 ounce.

Big bass

Shawn Perrigo of Rienzi, Miss., caught the big bass in the Pro Division on day two weighing 8 pounds, 4 ounces.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top-10 pros in the EverStart Series event on Lake Okeechobee after day two:

6th: JT Kenney of Palm Bay, Fla., two-day total of 38-7
7th: Justin Lucas of Guntersville, Ala., two-day total of 37-14
8th: Yancy Windham of Reform, Ala., two-day total of 37-4
9th: Derek Yasinski of Senoia, Ga., two-day total of 37-0
10th: Rodger Beaver of Dawson, Ga., two-day total of 36-9

Treadaway leads co-anglers

Rodney Treadaway of Decatur, Ala., leads the Co-angler Division of the EverStart Southeast on Okeechobee with 30-7.Rodney Treadaway of Decatur, Ala., moved into the lead in the Co-angler Division of the EverStart Series event with a two-day total of 30 pounds, 7 ounces.

"This is all new to me," Treadaway said. "This is my first EverStart tournament; this is my first time to Okeechobee. I'm still kind of taking it all in."

"I fished with Boo Woods from Kentucky today and I have to thank him for my catch - he's quite the professional," Treadaway added. "The last two days I've caught my fish on a Gambler Big E-Z and swimming a Gambler worm, so thanks to Gambler for making great lures as well."


Gerald Bozeman of Sylvester, Ga., is in second place with a two-day total of 29 pounds, 12 ounces.

Bill Brown of Vero Beach, Fla., is in third place with a two-day total of 28 pounds, 5 ounces.

Galen Fugh of Hixson, Tenn., is in fourth place with a two-day total of 25 pounds, 2 ounces.

Fred Martin of North Little Rock, Ark., rounds out the top five with a two-day total of 25 pounds, 2 ounces.

Big bass

Frank Mackin of New Port Richey, Fla., caught the big bass in the Co-angler Division on day two weighing 6 pounds, 13 ounces.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers in the EverStart Series event on Lake Okeechobee after day two:

6th: Ron Buck of Port St. Lucie, Fla., two-day total of 25-1
7th: Josh Smith of Germantown, Ohio, two-day total of 24-7
8th: Lisa Opel of Hernando, Fla., two-day total of 23-13
9th: Ray Elmore of Calhoun, Ga., two-day total of 23-9
10th: Kevin Thomas of Miramar, Fla., two-day total of 23-8

Day three of the EverStart Series Southeast on Lake Okeechobee will begin Saturday at 7:30 a.m. at C. Scott Driver Park.

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2011-01-06-lake-okeechobee 

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