UPCOMING EVENT: HIGH SCHOOL FISHING - 2019 - Pickwick Lake

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 

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 3

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 3

Kris Wilson did everything he could this morning to put away this tournament before anyone had a chance to make a run at him. The Montgomery, Texas, pro returned to the spot where he started the first two days and boxed up a pair of 5-pounders. The leader has camped on his spot basically all morning, and now we estimate he's culled up to about 18 pounds. Wilson came into today with a lead of more than 4 1/2 pounds over second-place pro Josh Bensema, and a much greater margin over everyone else, so that limit is huge and likely has him on course for a wire-to-wire victory in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. READ MORE »

Wilson Wins Big on Rayburn

Wilson Wins Big on Rayburn

Kris Wilson pounded out another big limit – 24 pounds, 1 ounce – to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury at Sam Rayburn Reservoir by a margin of 13 pounds, 15 ounces. His three-day total was 72-8.  READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 2

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 2

In terms of fish caught, tournament leader Kris Wilson had a tougher morning today than on day one. But a behemoth bass that will probably push the 8-pound mark has him in prime position to maintain his lead in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

On the flip side, Josh Bensema, who’s 4 pounds, 10 ounces behind Wilson, thinks he might have found the kind of Sam Rayburn motherlode that could earn him a come-from-behind victory. And while most of the rest of the top 10 are well behind Wilson, several of them hinted at being on the trail of some truly mammoth bags. READ MORE »

Wilson Still in Control at Rayburn

Wilson Still in Control at Rayburn

A 9-plus-pound bass anchored Kris Wilson’s day-two limit to help him stay in the lead at the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Wilson weighed in 21 pounds, 12 ounces today to go with 26-11 yesterday. His 48-7 two-day total has Wilson 4 pounds, 10 ounces ahead of Josh Bensema and miles ahead of the rest of the top 10.   READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Montgomery, Texas, pro Kris Wilson caught a big-time stringer of more than 26 pounds to take the day-one lead at the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury at Sam Rayburn. Wilson says he fished some of the flooded cover that’s lining Rayburn’s shorelines, but the bulk of his catch came from a series of offshore areas where bass are starting to pile up. The rest of the top five fished a mix of patterns, but their results indicate that the offshore pattern could wind up being the most consistent as the tournament goes on.  READ MORE »

Wilson Waylays 26 at Rayburn

Wilson Waylays 26 at Rayburn

The second stop of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn, which is presented by Mercury, has certainly lived up to expectations. Plenty of fish are out there to be caught, yet finding quality is the key to separating yourself from the pack. Kris Wilson of Montgomery, Texas certainly distanced himself after hauling in 26 pounds, 11 ounces to the Umphrey Family Pavilion stage. It may not be the Texas-sized bag Rayburn is known for, however, given the conditions it is absolutely impressive. Wilson will hold a 6-7 lead over Josh Bensema heading into Friday. READ MORE »

Campbell Goes Back to Back

Campbell Goes Back to Back

Brody Campbell of Oxford, Ohio, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Buckeye Division tournament on the Ohio River at Tanner’s Creek Saturday with five bass weighing 9 pounds, 15 ounces. Campbell netted $6,718 for his victory. READ MORE »

Shaw Drags Worm on Shelbyville

Shaw Drags Worm on Shelbyville

Wayne Shaw of Urbana, Illinois, weighed five bass Saturday totaling 13 pounds, 7 ounces, to win T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division tournament on Lake Shelbyville. Shaw pocketed $4,071 for his day on the water. READ MORE »

Fox Claims No. 8

Fox Claims No. 8

Dwight Fox of Gainesboro, Tennessee, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Music City Division tournament on Old Hickory Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 18 pounds, 1 ounce. For his efforts, Fox netted $2,941. READ MORE »

Ganey Cracks 20-11 on Big Sam

Ganey Cracks 20-11 on Big Sam

Rylon Ganey of Pineville, Louisiana, won Saturday’s T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Cowboy Division tournament on Sam Rayburn Reservoir with five bass weighing 20 pounds, 11 ounces. For his win, Ganey took home $6,362. READ MORE »

Walser Nets 13th Title

Walser Nets 13th Title

Robert Walser of Lexington, North Carolina, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) North Carolina Division tournament on High Rock Lake Saturday with five bass weighing 21 pounds, 13 ounces. With his win – his 13th on the BFL circuit – Walser tied the BFL all-time wins record held by Dick Shaffer of Rockford, Ohio. READ MORE »

College Championship Midday Update – Day 3

College Championship Midday Update – Day 3

As expected, the fishing has been great for the final day of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River. Sunny skies and moderate winds have set everyone up for success, and so far the top 10 teams are making the most of it. READ MORE »

Racers Lock Up National Championship

Racers Lock Up National Championship

The final day of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River was quite the show, especially if you watched FLW Live. After catching the biggest limit of the event worth 18 pounds, 14 ounces on day two to take the lead, the Murray State duo of Adam Puckett and Blake Albertson gave it all they had on the final day to squeak out their smallest, yet most important limit of the week. Today, Murray State caught 15-8, which was enough to edge out the Bethel University team of Tristan McCormick and Dakota Pierce by just 3 ounces to bring home the title. Along with winning a Ranger Z175 with a 115-horsepower motor for the club, Puckett and Albertson also get entry into the 2019 FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark., this August 9-11. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Day one of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River had a wide variety of patterns in play among the leaders. Today, with overcast skies and gusty winds, the folks fishing grass started to pull ahead. In the lead, Adam Puckett and Blake Albertson of Murray State have managed more than 16 pounds each day, but the rest of the top-10 crew is hot on their heels. Additionally, the fishing seems to be getting better by the day, so a big bag from a team down the standings a little bit wouldn’t exactly be a shock on the final day.  READ MORE »

Murray State Races Ahead

Murray State Races Ahead

Thanks to a day-two limit worth 18 pounds, 14 ounces, Adam Puckett and Blake Albertson of Murray State University have the lead going into the final round of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance at the Potomac River. The Racers weighed 16-13 on day one to place seventh, but moved up the leaderboard today with the tournament’s biggest limit so far. READ MORE »

College Championship Midday Update – Day 2

College Championship Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance on the Potomac River has been quite different from day one. With strong souths winds kicking up the main channel and keeping the tide back, teams have had to adjust. READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - College Championship

FLW Live Leaderboard - College Championship

Anglers and FLW staff provide unofficial weight estimates for the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship on the Potomac River. READ MORE »

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Potomac River Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Though the fishing seems markedly better than it was just a few days ago, the techniques getting it done are just as mixed as before. Unlike some years on the Potomac, slightly underdeveloped grass beds have the river fishing in a pretty diverse way. If all you want to do is fish grass, that isn’t ideal, but it has made for a lot of opportunity elsewhere. READ MORE »

Minor, Raines Lead College Field

Minor, Raines Lead College Field

Nolan Minor and Thomas Raines of West Virginia University have the day-one lead at the 2019 YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship presented by Lowrance at the Potomac River. The Mountaineers’ 18-5 bag gives them a 9-ounce cushion over second-place anglers Jarrett Martin and Nickolas Marsh of Adrian College.  READ MORE »