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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Lake Okeechobee Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Okeechobee Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

When the boats lit out across Lake Okeechobee this morning to start day one of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division opener presented by Power-Pole, weather apps professed the local temperature to be somewhere in the 32- to 34-degree range. And while that might not have broken record lows at the Big O, it was certainly some of the lowest temperatures the area has experienced in a couple of years.

Instantly, Costa anglers felt the effects on their fishing areas. Water temperatures dropped, north winds pushed muddy water into the fragile clear-water areas and fishing overall went south in a hurry.

Tournament leader Terry Tucker of Gadsden, Ala., was the only pro to break the 20-pound mark. He caught 21 pounds, 3 ounces in an area where he found spawning fish before the cold front happened.

Others in the top 10, however, had to counter the elements with an array of strategies that included a lot of “backing up to punt.” The phrases, “just tried to survive,” “decided to just fish for a check” and “hoping to salvage my day” were used a lot at weigh-in.

Here’s a closer look at how others in the top five fared.

Day 1 results

Tucker's leading pattern 

 

Justin Hamner

2. Justin Hamner – Northport, Ala. – 19-3

If you were wondering who caught the biggest bass on day one, look no further than Justin Hamner, who landed a 9-pound, 8-ounce Okeechobee giant to propel him into second place with a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 3 ounces.

Hamner’s beast was his first fish of the day.

“I was freezing to death for about the first 10 minutes this morning,” Hamner recalls. “Then I hooked and fought that big one and got it in the boat, and suddenly I was sweating to death. It’s amazing what a big fish like that does to you.”

Hamner was initially concerned when he first pulled into his primary area this morning because the water clarity had deteriorated to some degree.

“It was definitely darker,” he says. “But I felt like the fish were committed and weren’t going to leave the area. The one thing I did do was make a bait change. I switched to a bait I haven’t fished all week. But with it being so cold and turned up, I figured I better change up.”

When the big one tugged his line, he knew he had found the right program.

“After the big one, I caught three more pretty quick,” Hamner says. “No. 5 took a little longer, but I pretty much had what I weighed in at 9 or 10 o’clock. From that point on, I backed off the main area and tried to expand out while guarding the best zone. Fortunately, nobody else ever tried to get in there. I think there are a lot of fish in that one section; I can’t wait to find out tomorrow.”

 

Darrell Davis

3. Darrell Davis – Dover, Fla. – 17-1

Veteran Florida pro Darrell Davis has been around the severe-cold-front-on-Okeechobee block a number of times, giving him plenty of experience with north winds and dropping water temperatures. He only weighed four bass today, but with two near-7-pounders, he checked in 17 pounds, 1 ounce.

Davis admits that his best water was churned up, but it wasn’t unfishable.

“It had dirtied up a little bit more, but it was not chocolate milk,” Davis says. “It was still tolerable. The key for me when it does this here is to just slow way down. I have to go to slower baits that are a pain to fish in the wind, but it’s just something you have to do.

“The fish are still in these areas; it’s not like they leave. I think the fishing pressure pushes them around a lot, too, and positions them on different stuff during the day. I’m still fishing for the same fish, but I’m using different baits and fishing completely different targets than I was in practice.”

 

Bryan Schmitt

Bryan Schmitt

4. Bryan Schmitt – Deale, Md. – 16-15

Bryan Schmitt decided to tour Lake Okeechobee for a few hours this morning before making his first cast.

“I made the run all the way south, and that didn’t work out too well,” Schmitt says with a chuckle. “I got all the way down there, pulled into my spot, looked at the water, and it was completely blown out. It was horrible. So I just cranked up and ran all the way back up north to try to salvage my day on one little patch of hydrilla I found in practice.”

That “salvaging” happened with just four fish, but two of them were big ones.

“It was a miracle day, really,” Schmitt says. “All I had was that grass bed, so I kept grinding around it. I finally caught a good one. Then I had another bite; it got my trailer. I had no time left to get another trailer out, so I just kept fishing my bait with no trailer, and I caught another big one. Crazy stuff like that normally doesn’t happen to me, but after that ride I took this morning, I’m just thrilled to have caught what I did.”

 

Nick Thliveros

5. Nick Thliveros – St. Augustine, Fla. – 16-5 (tied)

One of the cold front tricks of veteran Florida pros on the Big O is to dodge into one of the lake’s many canal systems to find stable water. Nick Thliveros might not qualify as a veteran pro yet, but his dad, Peter T, certainly is, and apparently he has taught his son well.

“Dad’s been doing this a long time, and we talked about this situation a lot during practice. He made the right call to fish canals,” the younger Thliveros says. “In fact, we spent most of our practice in canals preparing for this weather, and it paid off. I just got a few better bites than he did [Peter is in 88th with 7 pounds].”

Nick says the way he is fishing in the canals is not really a Florida style either.

“What I’m doing is more of a TVA style of fishing,” he adds. “Those canal fish are a little different. They have deeper water to relate to, so you have to fish for them a little bit differently.”

 

5. Joey Sabbagha – Prosperity, S.C. – 16-5 (tied)

Joey Sabbagha found dirty water in his best areas this morning, but as he fished around in it he soon discovered that small zones of clearer water still existed within the area.

“I didn’t have a fish in the well until about 1:30,” Sabbagha says. “When I began noticing that there were still some pockets of clearer water in the area, that’s when I started getting some bites. From 1:30 to 2:30 I caught five or six fish from those clearer windows.”

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2018-01-04-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 »