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


Top 5 Patterns from Okeechobee Day 1

Lake Okeechobee was stingy to say the least on day one of the Costa FLW Series event presented by Power-Pole, yet a few anglers managed to wrangle some solid limits and put themselves in contention for the title. Peter Cherkas leads the way with his 20-pound bag, but the rest of the top five sits right on his heels.

Read about Cherkas’ leading pattern here.

Complete results


2. Zach Crider – Tunnel Hill, Ga. – 19-04 (5)

Zach Crider

Georgia’s Zach Crider came to Florida with one mission – to flip. He stayed true to his mindset and flipped up a 19-4 limit to put him hot on the heels of Cherkas.

“Things got started pretty quick for me this morning,” says Crider. “I had three or four fish by 8 o’clock. It was a long dry spell until after lunch when I finally caught my two biggest.”

Crider located some key stretches of water that are holding fish both looking to spawn and recovering from it. He notes that relocating the fish within his areas is the biggest challenge as they move almost daily.

With the weather for Friday’s competition looking blustery and rainy, Crider says he planned for that.

“I thought about the weather a lot in practice. I think my area is protected enough that the wind shouldn’t hurt it.”


3. Justin Morgan – Okeechobee, Fla. – 18-04 (5)

Justin Morgan

For Justin Morgan, being one of the only locals in the top 10 has its advantages. Having fished through numerous cold fronts on the Big O, Morgan relied heavily on local knowledge to haul in an 18-4 limit.

While Morgan is happy where he currently sits on the leaderboard he is even happier to be in the tournament.

“I was on the waiting list for this tournament until Tuesday,” says Morgan. “I didn’t get any practice time in so I ran to an area that has traditionally produced for me in years past during cold fronts.”

The area he is referring to is a small stretch of canal that he has plucked fish from for years in these conditions. It’s an area he can cover efficiently with moving baits like topwaters or spinnerbaits. He’s not sure what makes the stretch so special, but he does know it holds quality fish.

“I actually had higher hopes for today,” laughs Morgan. “I had a few fish on that came off, but I expected to have around 25 pounds. I make a few stops on the stretch throughout the day and usually put a few fish in the boat with each pass. You don’t get many bites, but they are the right quality.”

Morgan’s trolling motor batteries died around 10:30 today and forced him to Power-Pole down on a hump to try and cull up. With that issue sorted out he has high hopes for Friday.

“My biggest concern is the wind tomorrow. I have a pretty long run to get where I’m going so getting to and from my spot could be interesting.”


4. Lavoyd Lemmond – Decatur, Ala. – 17-14 (5)

Lavoyd Lemmond

In just his second trip to the Big O, Lavoyd Lemmond has figured out how to track down finicky Florida largemouths. A respectable 17-14 limit has the Alabama pro in shape for the best finish of his career.

“I found a little area where the fish were staging off the main lake,” says Lemmond. “It’s a little deeper water that seems to be holding some postspawn and prespawn fish. I feel pretty comfortable that I can go back and catch another good limit tomorrow.”

Lemmond is flipping specific reed patches with hard bottom. The biggest key is the 2-foot depth change around the reeds.

“I had to fish real slow today because the fish were real sluggish,” Lemmond explains. “It was a very subtle bite. I lost two good ones that would have really helped because of how subtle the bite was.”


5. Juan Ruiz– West Palm Beach, Fla. – 17-11 (5)

Another local who put himself in contention is Juan Ruiz of West Palm Beach, Fla. Ruiz utilized his wealth of knowledge from guiding on the lake for 16 years to sack up 17-11 and the fifth spot on the leaderboard.

“I practiced for the tough conditions I knew we’d face in this tournament,” says Ruiz. “Making adjustments is going to be crucial throughout this tournament. I punched hydrilla mats around all four corners of the lake today. Tomorrow, I could be doing something totally different.”

Ruiz echoes some of the same feelings as his fellow competitors about Friday’s weather.

“Tomorrow is going to be another curveball. I thought this was setting up to be a flipping tournament, but with the weather tomorrow a swim jig or spinnerbait bite could turn on. Making adjustments to the conditions will be what it takes to fish the final day.”

Ruiz caught several fish today, though the majority of them were 12-inchers.

Tournament Details

Format: All 250 boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 7:30 a.m.

Takeoff Location: C. Scott Driver Park, 10100 West Highway 78, Okeechobee, FL 34972

Weigh-In Time: Days 1 & 2 & 3 at 3 p.m. ET

Weigh-in Location: C. Scott Driver Park, 10100 West Highway 78, Okeechobee, FL 34972

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