UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Champlain

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Okeechobee Top 5 Patterns - Day 3

Okeechobee Top 5 Patterns - Day 3
Chad Morgenthaler

The 30 anglers who made Friday’s cut at the FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude on Lake Okeechobee had high hopes for Saturday, but the lake threw quite the curveball to most of the field.

While Tim Frederick was able to crack more than 20 pounds to take the lead, he mentioned his bite was significantly tougher. That sentiment was echoed by most other pros, as many saw their weights drop, including the previous top two anglers. However, two other pros stayed steady or even increased their weight today in order to jump into the top five.

Frederick’s leading pattern

Complete results

 

2. Bryan Schmitt – Deale, Md. – 64-7

Prior to Saturday, Schmitt and most everyone else was convinced the winning fish were filtering into the Harney Pond area to spawn, and Schmitt had been the best one at catching them with his Riot Baits Recon Bladed Jig. After Saturday, he’s not so sure.

“I don’t think any new fish are coming in there like they were the last two days,” says Schmitt. “I think what’s there is there, and they’re very educated.”

Case in point: Three times today Schmitt had a giant bass come up and hit his jig so hard it knocked a foot of slack in his line, and he was unable to catch any of them. He did stick one big girl which helped anchor his 16-pound, 4-ounce bag.

“I’m wondering if I need to make a change (in lures),” says Schmitt. “I’m going to have to put my thinking cap on and try something tricky.

“I have to go back to that area, though. It’s my only chance to win.”

 

3. Mark Rose – West Memphis, Ark. – 61-3

Schmitt and Rose have been fishing within eyesight of one another the entire event, though the two are doing slightly different patterns in slightly different areas. It didn’t matter. The two had similar experiences Saturday.

“I think too many motors, too many baits have gone through that area,” says Rose, who caught 13-14 Saturday. “That area has been hammered pretty good.”

Along with the pressure, Rose thinks the big girls may actually be spawning and locked onto beds in the large hyrdilla flat he’s fishing, as opposed to having just moved up and still roaming. That’s making them much harder to catch, and also making him wonder if he has to slow down even more or if it’s time for him to change areas.

“I have one other area that is built like what I’ve been fishing,” says Rose. “So I’ll probably start in Harney Pond, but if I’m not catching them I’ll probably try to go win it at the other place.”

 

4. Cory Johnston – Cavan, Ontario – 53-11

The Johnston brothers have been staples in the Harney Pond area since the tournament started. However, Cory made a decision to leave early on day three while Chris opted to stick it out. Cory caught 16-12 to make the cut, while Chris caught only 7-7 and nearly missed the cut.

 “I just wasn’t feeling it,” says Johnston. “The water was getting muddy. So around 10 a.m. I left to check a couple different areas.”

Johnston had an area in Moonshine Bay he figured he could flip up a quick limit. Problem was, all his bites wouldn’t keep.

With little in the livewell, he began running new water, looking for “stuff fish come to when they spawn.” Toward the end of the day he found an 80-yard stretch in Monkey Box where he filled out his limit and stuck a 7-pounder.

As for Sunday, he’ll let the weather determine what he does.

“I’ll watch the wind,” says Johnston. “I still think my best bet for a giant bag is in Harney Pond, but if the wind is wrong I’ll go to the place I found today. You never know. Maybe the big girls will have moved in there.”

 

5. Chad Morgenthaler – Reed Springs, Mo. – 53-0

On Saturday, everything was about the same for Morgenthaler as it’s been the previous two days. He’s hunkered down in South Bay where he’s flipping and casting a massive lily pad flat and isolated reed clumps. He even had the same amount of bites – about 20. The size just went up Saturday.

“I really don’t know why [my fish got bigger],” says Morgenthaler. “It makes no sense, but I’ll take it.”

The one thing holding Morgenthaler back is he’s lost two key fish every day. If he’s going to make a comeback, that can’t happen Sunday.

“Losing fish the way I’m fishing is part of it, but you hate to see it,” says Morgenthaler. “I know there is a 20-pound bag in there, but I’ll need 30. To do that, I’ll have to fish flawlessly tomorrow.”

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

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