UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Mead

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Medlock’s jigging madness brings EverStart win on Big O

Brandon Medlock of Lake Placid, Fla., shows off his kicker bass to win the EverStart Series Southeast event on Lake Okeechobee.

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. - Mother Nature saved her biggest breath for the last day of the EverStart Series Southeast event on Lake Okeechobee. Today winds howled a sustained 20 mph out of the west, making fishing difficult for the top 10 pros fishing Saturday.

For those trying to sight-fish, visibility was limited, and those who were punching mats found the winds had compressed their mats so tight that getting a bait through the canopy was more difficult than on previous days.

But the sound of howling wind was music to the ears of Brandon Medlock of Lake Placid, Fla. That's because Medlock had the remedy for the conditions: a custom-made 1-ounce jig that was specifically designed to fish Florida's weedy waters on days just like this.The Champion of the first EverStart Series event of 2001: Brandon Medlock of Lake Placid, Fla.,

While wind hampered other pros' patterns, Medlock took advantage of the situation today, catching 19 pounds, 2 ounces on his dad's custom-made jig to win the EverStart event with a three-day total of 63 pounds, 8 ounces worth $35,000.

"This is unbelievable," Medlock said after his victory. "This is my first EverStart event, and I was just hoping for a top-10 (finish). I owe it all to my dad's jig; it's custom made to fish Florida lakes, especially on windy days."

The jig - called a Medlock's Double-guard jig and available at Fishing Headquarters in Okeechobee, Fla. - features a double weedguard protecting the hook from grabbing weeds.

Medlock used a 1-ounce model in a standard black-and-blue color, trimmed with a black-and-blue chunk and tied to 65-pound-test Power Pro braided line.

He pitched the jig to sparse, isolated clumps of reeds and cattails in the Horse Island area. Even though Medlock could not see fish on beds, he's certain that's what the fish were doing, given the light spots around the clumps.

The method to Medlock's madness was to make long, accurate pitches to the clumps and get a reaction bite from unsuspecting bass. The technique was as simple as making a pitch, letting it drop one time and reeling it back for another pitch just as fast as he could.

"Fish don't see many jigs on Okeechobee," Medlock said. "And with the 1-ounce model, you can zip it accurately, straight to the target you want to hit, even in heavy wind. The jig flares in the fish's face, and it's a total reaction bite."
The winning lure: Medlock
During the course of three days, Medlock weighed in 28-1, 16-5 and 19-2 on the jig. Of the 16-5 day, he said the only reason it was his lightest day is because he lost two giants.

Medlock's key area in Horse Island was only a quarter-mile long and he milked it each day, noting that he caught multiple fish off certain clumps during the event.

"I've fished the Horse Island area for the last 12 years," he added. "I know where they come in there this time of year to spawn. In practice I found one little area that had a male bass on nearly every reed, and I knew the big females were not far behind. Sure enough, that's where I won the tournament."

McMillan second
Brandon McMillan of Belle Glade, Fla., finished runner-up with a three-day total of 58-1.
Day-two leader Brandon McMillan of Belle Glade, Fla., brought in 10 pounds, 11 ounces today, but it was not enough to hold off the hard-charging Medlock.

McMillan finished runner-up with a three-day total of 58 pounds, 1 ounce worth $12,000.

While the wind had also been McMillan's friend the last two days, piling up new mats for him to fish each day, today the strength of the wind had compacted the vegetation so tight that his efficiency of getting the bait through the canopy dwindled considerably.

"Instead of making 500 clean punches, I probably only made 200 punches," McMillan said. "Even the small mats were so tight that I had to pitch the bait way up in the air to get it to go through instead of a nice subtle pitch and letting it slide through the mat."

McMillan fished the North Shore area, and his key punching baits included a Gambler BB Cricket, a Crawdaddy and Bruiser Baits Swimming Shad.

Windham third
Despite a dislocated shoulder and broken trolling motor, Yancy Windham of Reform, Ala., rallied to third place.
Despite already having a dislocated shoulder and then losing his trolling motor to rough water this morning, Yancy Windham of Reform, Ala., sacked up 17 pounds, 11 ounces today to jump from eighth place to third to earn $10,000 with a three-day total of 54-15.

Windham dislocated his shoulder before leaving home, and when rough water destroyed his trolling motor this morning, he remained undaunted and managed to sight-fish his catch against all the odds.

"I love sight-fishing," Windham said. "I do it a lot back home, and I win a lot of money looking at them. And the tougher the conditions, the better I like it because it makes sight-fishing a true challenge. When it's easy, like the first day, everyone can do it. But when it gets really bad like it was today, it becomes a whole new ball game in terms of seeing the fish."

Windham's primary sight-fishing bait this week was a white Venom Lures Sweet Dream creature bait rigged on 65-pound-test Power Pro braid and 25-pound-test Seaguar fluorocarbon.

Jenkins fourth
Frank Jenkins of Fort Myers, Fla., finished fourth with a three-day total of 54-13.
Frank Jenkins of Fort Myers, Fla., finished fourth with a three-day total of 54 pounds, 13 ounces worth $9,000.

Jenkins spent his week sight-fishing with a Sweet Beaver and swimming a Skinny Dipper over flats in the North Shore area where bass were spawning.

"This morning, it was on when I got to my primary area - they were eating it up," said Jenkins, who weighed 14-12 today. "But once the sun came up, it was over - I mean over. The first five fish I caught in the first hour of the morning were the ones I weighed in."

Tharp fifth
Randall Tharp of Gardendale, Ala., finished fifth with a three-day total of 54-12.
EverStart pro Randall Tharp of Gardendale, Ala., finished fifth with a three-day total of 54 pounds, 12 ounces worth $8,000.

This marks Tharp's sixth tournament visit to the Big O and his fourth top-10 cut.

During the week Tharp assembled a trio of techniques that included sight-fishing, swimming a big worm and mat flipping.

Today he caught all of his bass flipping mats to weigh in 11 pounds, 3 ounces on the day.

His primary flipping gear included a 1 ¼-ounce tungsten weight, a Mystic Bug, a 4/0 Trokar hook and 70-pound-test braided line.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros in the EverStart Southeast event on Lake Okeechobee:

6th: Justin Lucas of Guntersville, Ala., three-day total of 53-10, $7,000
7th: Joey Thigpen of St. Johns, Fla., three-day total of 48-11, $6,000
8th: Rodger Beaver of Dawson, Ga., three-day total of 46-5, $5,000
9th: JT Kenney of Palm Bay, Fla., three-day total of 44-6, $4,000
10th: Derek Yasinski of Senoia, Ga., three-day total of 40-10, $3,000

The next stop on the EverStart Southeast schedule will be Lake Guntersville Feb. 24-26.

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

Duarte Covers Ground for Second W

Duarte Covers Ground for Second W

John Duarte of Middle River, Maryland, caught five bass Saturday weighing 18 pounds, 8 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) South Carolina Division season opener on Lake Hartwell presented by Navionics. For his win, Duarte earned $4,396. READ MORE »

Stevens Drops 32-10 on Big O

Stevens Drops 32-10 on Big O

Kail Stevens of Boynton Beach, Florida, caught a massive five-bass limit Saturday weighing 32 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Gator Division tournament on Lake Okeechobee. Stevens took home $4,766 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Aaron Plays Current for G-Ville Win

Aaron Plays Current for G-Ville Win

Chad Aaron of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, caught five bass Saturday weighing 25 pounds, 14 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Choo Choo Division season opener on Lake Guntersville presented by Navionics. For his win, Aaron earned $4,363. READ MORE »

Montevallo Wins on Seminole

Montevallo Wins on Seminole

The University of Montevallo duo of Justin Barnes of Monroeville, Alabama, and Adam Carroll of Carrollton, Georgia, won the YETI FLW College Fishing event on Lake Seminole Saturday with a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 1 ounce. The victory earned the Falcon’s bass club $2,000 and a slot in the 2020 FLW College Fishing National Championship. READ MORE »

Mount Paran Christian School wins on Seminole

Mount Paran Christian School wins on Seminole

The Mount Paran Christian School duo of Lee Rose Koza and Carter Koza, both of Marietta, Georgia, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 23 pounds, 2 ounces to win the 2019 Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Lake Seminole Open. READ MORE »

Anders Chases Shad for Keowee W

Anders Chases Shad for Keowee W

Boater Joe Anders of Easley, South Carolina, caught a five-bass limit Saturday weighing 14 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Savannah River division event on Lake Keowee presented by Navionics. Anders earned $4,164 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Toho Day 4 Coverage

Toho Day 4 Coverage

Complete coverage of the 2019 Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla. READ MORE »

Gross Wins Second Tour Title

Gross Wins Second Tour Title

Buddy Gross of Chickamauga, Ga., won the 2019 FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats at Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla., with a four-day total of 20 bass that weighed 85 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

Gross Grabs Toho Lead

Gross Grabs Toho Lead

Day three of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho was tough on the leaders, but Buddy Gross stayed steady, rising to first from fifth with 19 pounds, 12 ounces. In total, Gross has amassed 62 pounds even through three days, which is just about a pound ahead of Darrell Davis, who caught 25-12 for a 60-15 total and rocketed up to second from 13th. Going into the final day, everyone in the top six is within 5 pounds of the lead, and the way the Kissimmee Chain is pumping out big ones, that counts as the slimmest of margins. READ MORE »

Toho Day 3 Coverage

Toho Day 3 Coverage

Complete coverage of the 2019 Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla. READ MORE »

Cox Stays Ahead on Toho

Cox Stays Ahead on Toho

Day two of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger on Lake Toho featured not one, but TWO 10-pounders, one caught by Casey Scanlon and the other by Jamie Horton. READ MORE »

Toho Day 2 Coverage

Toho Day 2 Coverage

Complete coverage of the 2019 Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla. READ MORE »

Cox Leads Toho Slugfest

Cox Leads Toho Slugfest

Day one of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho was the slugfest many expected. Leading the way is sight-fishing extraordinaire John Cox, who caught 31 pounds, 9 ounces and the day one big bass – a giant that went 10-9.  In second, John Voyles wrangled up 24-15, and Scott Martin is close behind him with 24-12. READ MORE »

Toho Day 1 Coverage

Toho Day 1 Coverage

Complete coverage of the 2019 Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Toho

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Toho

Weigh-ins at the FLW Tour Lake Toho event will be broadcast daily at 3 p.m. ET days one and two and 4 p.m ET days three and four. The studio broadcast, with live in-the-boat streaming, airs Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. with hosts Travis Moran and Peter T. READ MORE »

Thliveros Brings it Home

Thliveros Brings it Home

Nick Thliveros led after day two on Okeechobee and after weighing his lowest weight of the week, he was able to seal the deal for his first Costa FLW Series win as a pro. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Okeechobee – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Okeechobee – Day 2

Fishing as a whole is still tough on the Big O, but there was definitely an improvement today – especially for the guys at the top of the leaderboard. READ MORE »

Thliveros in Charge on Okeechobee

Thliveros in Charge on Okeechobee

Nick Thliveros is one day away from taking the title in the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Okeechobee – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Okeechobee – Day 1

Things are tough on Okeechobee, but these pros cracked some of the code to wrangle solid catches. READ MORE »

Roder Out Front on Big O

Roder Out Front on Big O

Okeechobee is normally the place of dreams. This week, however, it isn’t quite living up to its reputation. Day one of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event on the Big O saw plenty of fish, though the quality bites were hard to come by. Troy Roder of Brookeland, Texas, set the pace early with a 19-pound, 15-ounce limit to grab the lead in the season opener – presented by Power-Pole – with a lead of over 4 pounds heading into Friday. READ MORE »