UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir


Opener to be a Shootout on the Big O

Excitement is in the air as the first Costa FLW Series event of 2016 prepares to kick off on Thursday morning. The playing field for the first Southeast Division tournament, which is presented by Power-Pole and hosted by Okeechobee County Tourism, will once again be famed Lake Okeechobee, and a full roster of 250 pros and co-anglers is ready to get the season rolling.

This past weekend the first FLW Bass Fishing League event of the season took place on Okeechobee, and the lake definitely showed out. George Kapiton took home the hardware with a massive 31-pound limit, while Okeechobee veteran Mike Surman came in second with just shy of 29 pounds. Five other limits topped 20 pounds. Not bad for a Saturday on the Big O.

This weekend, anglers will have a slightly different challenge. Okeechobee is always susceptible to weather changes, and a recent cold front threatens to make things a little interesting.

“The weather has really cooled off since the BFL,” says Kapiton. “It will definitely make the flipping bite strong for the first day or two of the tournament. It’s supposed to warm up by Saturday, and if it does then I could see a topwater bite or winding bite be the deal.”

All anglers in the field will fish the first two days on Thursday and Friday, with the top 10 pros and co-anglers advancing to Saturday’s final round. Heaviest cumulative three-day weight wins.

“The lake in general right now is amazing,” Kapiton adds. “It’s beautiful. Because of the high water, grass is dying off in the right places, and the water is pretty clear. From one side of the lake to the other there is fishable water. I have never seen it look so good in all my years of fishing here.”

With cold-front conditions and a full moon next week, being able to adapt with the changing conditions will be the key to staying on the right caliber of fish. Kapiton notes that there has already been a decent push of fish up spawning, as evident by empty beds and fry swimming around. However, there are some fish staging to pull up to spawn too. Kapiton weighed both prespawn and postspawn bass during the BFL.

George Kapiton

“I saw a lot of guys catching 13-inchers around me last week,” he says. “There are pods of fish all over, but the biggest key is figuring out how to get those bigger bites. I basically figured that out while I fished last week, and I’ll probably have to do it again for this tournament.”

Though Lake Okeechobee is a massive body of water at more than 450,000 acres, it tends to fish small during tournaments – especially when the wind blows. Due to the higher water, however, Kapiton believes that the field will be more spread out than usual, and the lake should fish a little bigger.

“I think that with the south wind that is forecast for the first few days it could help the hayfields on that end of the lake play more,” says Kapiton. Northern grass beds and bays will bear the brunt of the wind, which typically shuts down the bite on Okeechobee. “Otherwise I think hydrilla and dying lily pads will be the biggest focus. If I had to guess I’d say that the winner will be flipping a Texas rig and using a jig.”

Early predictions say that it will take at least 30 pounds over two days to make the final-day cut, and somewhere around 65 pounds will win the tournament. With such a stacked field, nothing is out of the question, especially on Okeechobee – land of the giants.


Tournament Details

The Costa FLW Series Southeast Division event on Lake Okeechobee is a three-day tournament held Jan. 14-16. All pros and co-anglers fish the first two days, and the top 10 anglers in each division based on cumulative two-day weight qualify to fish on day three. The heaviest three-day cumulative weight wins.

Anglers will take off from C. Scott Driver Park, 10100 West Highway 78, Okeechobee, FL at 7:30 a.m. ET each morning. Daily weigh-ins are at the park at 3 p.m.

Fans at home can tune in to the weigh-ins via FLW Live at FLWFishing.com.

Click here for complete details.


Big Money on the Big O

Lake Okeechobee has been like money in the bank for Costa FLW Series anglers – literally. It’s figured into some of the richest payouts in Series history, including what was then a record for a regular-season payout to the entire field: $417,000 for a Southeastern Division event in 2015.

This year’s tournament pays even more, given the new enhanced payout system that scales up proportionally across all places and pays out additional prize money for every 10 boats that enter beyond the 150-boat baseline. If all possible contingencies are paid out, plus Big Bass awards, the grand total of cash and prizes at the 2016 Costa FLW Series opener with its maximum field of 250 boats will be $466,050, with an impressive $105,000 in cash and prizes going to the winning pro.

Here’s how the paychecks break down at Lake Okeechobee this weekend, based on standings and the Big Bass prize money:

Place   Pro                    Ranger Cup                                        Co-angler                                Ranger Cup

1          $60,000             Ranger Z518C with                              Ranger Z175 with

                                      200HP Outboard                                  90HP Outboard + $2,500         $5,000

2           $25,500                                                                           $7,500                                   

3           $17,000                                                                           $6,000                                   

4           $15,000                                                                           $4,500                                   

5           $14,000                                                                           $4,000                                   

6           $10,500                                                                           $3,500                                   

7             $9,000                                                                           $3,000                                   

8             $8,000                                                                           $2,250                                   

9             $7,000                                                                           $1,700                                   

10           $5,000                                                                           $1,450                                   

11           $4,700                                                                           $1,100                                   

12           $4,000                                                                           $1,100                                   

13           $3,500                                                                           $1,100                                   

14           $3,500                                                                           $1,100                                   

15           $3,500                                                                           $1,100                                   

16           $3,500                                                                               $900                                   

17           $3,500                                                                               $900                                   

18           $3,500                                                                               $900                                   

19           $3,500                                                                               $900                                   

20           $3,500                                                                               $900                                   

21           $2,850                                                                               $800                                   

22           $2,850                                                                               $800                                   

23           $2,850                                                                               $800                                   

24           $2,850                                                                               $800                                   

25           $2,850                                                                               $800                                   

26           $2,600                                                                               $700                                   

27           $2,600                                                                               $700                                   

28           $2,600                                                                               $700                                   

29           $2,600                                                                               $700                                   

30           $2,600                                                                               $700                                   

31           $2,200                                                                               $600                                   

32           $2,200                                                                               $600                                   

33           $2,200                                                                               $600                                   

34           $2,200                                                                               $600                                   

35           $2,200                                                                               $600                                   

36           $2,200                                                                               $600                                   

37           $2,200                                                                               $600                                   

38           $2,200                                                                               $600                                   

39           $2,200                                                                               $600                                   

40           $2,200                                                                               $600                                   

41           $2,180                                                                               $590                                   

42           $2,180                                                                               $590                                   

43           $2,180                                                                               $590                                   

44           $2,160                                                                               $580                                   

45           $2,160                                                                               $580                                   

46           $2,140                                                                               $570                                   

47           $2,140                                                                               $570                                   

48           $2,140                                                                               $570                                   

49           $2,120                                                                               $560                                   

50           $2,120                                                                               $560                                   

51           $2,120                                                                               $560                                   

52           $2,120                                                                               $550                                   

53           $2,120                                                                               $550                                   

54           $2,080                                                                               $540                                   

55           $2,080                                                                               $540                                   

56           $2,080                                                                               $540                                   

57           $2,080                                                                               $530                                   

58           $2,080                                                                               $530                                   

59           $2,080                                                                               $530                                   

60           $2,040                                                                               $520                                   

61           $2,040                                                                               $520                                   

62           $2,020                                                                               $510                                   

63           $2,020                                                                               $510                                   

64           $2,020                                                                               $510                                   

65           $2,000                                                                               $500                                   

66           $2,000                                                                               $500                                   

67           $2,000                                                                               $500                                   

BB1        $300                                                                                  $200                                   

BB2        $300                                                                                  $200


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Tags: lake-okeechobee  kyle-wood  pre-tournament  2016-01-14-lake-okeechobee 


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