UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Grand Lake

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Okeechobee Top 5 Patterns - Day 2

Okeechobee Top 5 Patterns - Day 2
Christopher Brasher

There are the pros fishing in Harney Pond, and then there is everyone else.

The top six anglers after day two of the FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude on Lake Okeechobee are all fishing there, and despite a significant amount of added boat traffic in the area on Friday, they all managed to outfish the rest, thanks to some little things they’re doing differently.

Schmitt’s leading pattern

Complete results

 

2. Mark Rose – West Memphis, Ark. – 47-5

Leader Bryan Schmitt and Rose had similar experiences on day two. Both were thrown off by the added boat pressure, yet caught quick, tiny limits before finding some significant upgrades later in the day.

While Schmitt caught all his on one bait, Rose continued to use a mixed bag. The key for him was continuing to fish slower than most and just grinding it out to the tune of 23-5 on day two.

“We all knew it was a special area, and we’ve all kind of figured it out in our own ways,” Rose says. “Now it’s like an arm-wrestling contest. We’re all just waiting on one of those big females to come in like a kamikaze and become catchable. I only got two yesterday and two today.”

Rose is no stranger to tasting victory and has a history of being a strong closer, even winning back-to-back to start 2017 on Guntersville and Lake Travis. Now in contention on Okeechobee, however, this one is a little different.

“There is so much tradition here,” says Rose of Okeechobee. “So many legends have won here. It’s the Mecca of bass fishing. So to win here would mean a lot.”

 

3. Chris Johnston – Peterborough, Ontario – 43-1

Simply put, no one had a better day two than Johnston.

The pro sacked up a tournament-best 28 pounds, 7 ounces, and was the one pro in the armada of boats that consistently caught fish throughout the day. Well, almost throughout the day.

“I didn’t have a fish at 10 a.m.,” says Johnston. “Then I caught a 2-pounder and two casts later I caught an 8-pounder. That got the nerves out. Then I just went to work. From 10:30 to 1 p.m. I caught a good fish every half hour.”

A big reason for his success was bait and presentation. While many were throwing a similar bait, Johnston has a homemade version, and he’s fishing it differently than the rest. In fact, brother Cory was struggling in the same area until the two spoke. A quick switch and Cory now sits in sixth.

One thing worth noting is Johnston had a late penalty yesterday that cost him a pound. However, he figures one fish can more than make that up.

“The fish want to move up in there,” says Johnston. “With less boats over their heads tomorrow I think it’s going to get really good. We haven’t even scratched the surface of that area.”

 

4. Tim Frederick – Leesburg, Fla. – 42-3

Everyone was worried about the wind muddying up the Harney Pond area. Frederick was worried for a second reason.

“I’m target fishing,” says Frederick, who caught 25-15 on day two. “I have to line up just perfect and pole down to make precise casts. That’s hard to do in that brutal wind.”

While many of the pros are blind casting, Frederick figured out prior to the Costa FLW Series event a few weeks back how the big females were setting up on pieces of cover in that area. He even cracked a pair of 30-pound bags in an hour before the Costa doing what he’s doing now. So he knows the potential. It’s just a matter of managing the wind and boat traffic.

“I’m fishing a little differently and away from everybody,” says Frederick. “So I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, because I know what can happen.”

 

5. Christopher Brasher – Longview, Texas – 38-15

While the rest of the top five put together 20-pound-plus bags, Brasher stumbled to the tune of only 16-15. However, you have to chalk some of that up to bad luck.

“I had everything I had by 9:30 a.m.,” says Brasher. “I just never got any good bites like everyone else. You need those. I watched a pro catch a giant right in front of me. So I know I’m doing the right things.”

Like Frederick, Brasher is fishing a bit away from everyone, where the current being blown through the reeds is keeping his water a little cleaner than out on the large hydrilla flat many of the anglers were blind casting today.

While he says he has some other areas he could try, he knows his only shot to win is to stick it out and hope he gets a couple key bites on Saturday.

Tags: sean-ostruszka  article  headline-story  2018-01-25-lake-okeechobee 

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