UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Wylie

An Okeechobee Slugfest Could Happen

An Okeechobee Slugfest Could Happen

Pre-tournament optimism can be hard to find, but this year, if the weather holds, the fishing might be really good for the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee.

 

TOURNAMENT DETAILS

Toyota Series Southern Division

Lake Okeechobee

Clewiston, Fla.

March 12-14, 2020

Hosted by the Hendry County Tourism Development Council and Roland & Mary Ann Martin's Marina & Resort

 

How the lake sets up

Essentially a big shallow bowl with grass around the edges, Lake Okeechobee is one of the most historic places in bass fishing. In recent years, it has routinely failed to truly show out like the old days, but conditions this time around could be better.

“From this year to last year, we’re about the same water level,” says Donny Bass, who routinely competes in FLW events in Florida. “We’re at like 12.6 feet now, which is almost identical to last year. The difference is last year we had no submerged vegetation, and this year we have a lot of eelgrass. There’s still very little other submerged vegetation, but there is a lot of eelgrass, which was a big player in the Bass Pro Tour event.”

 

Troy Roder

What to expect

If things go well and the forecast holds, the fishing ought to be good. Unlike most of the recent tournaments in Florida, this one should actually coincide with warm weather.

“We’ve had a lot of little tiny waves of spawners, but we haven’t had that major push – a big wave,” says Bass. “If I was to bet, I’d bet it might be really, really good; maybe the best we’ve seen this year.

“I feel like every Thursday or Friday we’ve had a cold front for the last two months,” adds Bass. “They’re not hanging around. I don’t know if it’s the lack of vegetation or just the weather. We’ve got a mild little cold front coming in, but it’s not very big, and then it’s going to be pretty stable leading up to the event.”

Bass says that due to the current makeup of the lake, which changes a lot year to year depending on the vegetation, the north end is the place to be.

“We’ve had a lot of north winds, and that trashes the south end,” he says. “The south end lost a ton of the hard walls [of cattails]. So, there’s less to protect it down there. The water down there has stayed muddy all year.

“If I had to bet, it’s going to be another north end deal. Those cattails that Taylor Ashley was throwing a swim jig around when he won down there in 2017, they’re all gone. So, the south end is real finicky now.”

For a winning weight, Bass thinks that tough fishing could produce a total of around 57 or 58 pounds.

“If the weather holds out, and if it’s good, you could add 10 pounds to that,” says Bass. “It’d take at least 20 a day if it’s good. March and April tend to be the best two months on Okeechobee if you ask any local guy. We get our biggest spawns in April, and they tend to not leave as easy because we start getting a bluegill spawn.”

So, cross your fingers the weather holds. If it does, it could be a fun time down in Florida.

 

Taylor Ashley

Baits and techniques

If it works in Florida, it works at Okeechobee. All sorts of soft baits and skirted baits will be in play come derby day. One of the main questions ahead of each event on Okeechobee is what way the techniques will lean – casting or flipping.

“I’m a big-time flipper. That’s pretty much what I do,” says Bass. “I learned from Brandon McMillan. He pretty much showed me the ropes. The last few years, the casters have won more than the flippers have. So, if I had to bet, it’s going to be more of a casting deal.

“Something like a Gambler Burner Worm or a swim jig would be the deal,” says Bass. “The flipping bite has been tough, and the few mats we have only have about 6 inches of water.”

From a standpoint of fun, it’d be hard to beat a winding bite on the Big O. Some of the most epic tournament footage of all time has come about from just such a bite.

 

 

Tags: jody-white  pre-tournament  2020-03-12-okeechobee 

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Bites were easy to come by at Lake Martin. It was getting the quality bites that separated the field. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Martin

FLW Live Schedule for Lake Martin

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit's third stop goes down this week at Lake Martin in Alexander City, Ala. Here's how you can watch the action live. READ MORE »

Practice Report: Lake Martin

Practice Report: Lake Martin

March in Alabama can be boom or bust in terms of weather, but luckily this week’s forecast calls for mostly gorgeous springtime weather for the third stop of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Martin. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from Okeechobee

Top Patterns and Baits from Okeechobee

Though the total weights didn’t live up to some expectations, the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee was still a lot of fun. The weather was great, there were plenty of fish caught the first two days, and there was a truly dramatic race for the win on the final day. READ MORE »

Lake Placid’s Medlock Wins Toyota Series Tournament at Lake Okeechobee

Lake Placid’s Medlock Wins Toyota Series Tournament at Lake Okeechobee

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Pro Brandon Medlock of Lake Placid, Florida, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday totaling 19 pounds, 4 ounces to win the three-day Toyota Series at Lake Okeechobee event in Clewiston, Florida. Medlock’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 54-4 earned him the win by a 5... READ MORE »

Niles Goes Back-To-Back

Niles Goes Back-To-Back

Hailing from Ocean Springs, Miss., Andy Niles has now won on Okeechobee two years in a row. In 2019, he picked up the win in the Southeastern Division event on Okeechobee, and this year he got the win in the second Toyota Series Southern Division event of the year. Weighing a total of 44 pounds, 7 ounces, Niles takes home a new Phoenix bass boat for his efforts. Friday was Niles’ son Cooper’s 8th birthday, and though he’s probably not going to get the boat for a present, he’ll at least get a very happy dad. READ MORE »

Medlock Brings it Home on Big O

Medlock Brings it Home on Big O

Weighing the biggest limit of the final day worth 19 pounds, 4 ounces, Brandon Medlock locked up his third Toyota Series title in the Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee. With 54-4 overall, Medlock won comfortably and was essentially the only pro to put together two very good days of fishing, with a 13-9 catch on day one as his worst day. READ MORE »

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 3

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 3

The final day of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Okeechobee is proving to be just as tense as expected. With the entire top 10 less than 4 pounds apart, anything can happen, and it’s entirely possible that someone in ninth or 10th catches a big bag to come from behind. READ MORE »

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 3

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 3

It was another slow morning on Lake Havasu at the Toyota Series Western Division opener. Though, that was to be expected. Most of the top 10 pros have had their best luck in the middle of the day and early afternoon. Mornings have been tough. READ MORE »

Medlock Ahead on Okeechobee

Medlock Ahead on Okeechobee

Despite nice weather this week, which has been a rarity for FLW tournaments in Florida this year, the fishing on Okeechobee just hasn’t been what the lake is capable of producing. Still, Okeechobee hammer Brandon Medlock rallied on day two dropping 21 pounds, 7 ounces on the scale to take the lead in the Toyota Series Southern Division event on the Big O with 35 pounds even. READ MORE »

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 2

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 2

The weather is still splendid, but day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee has been tougher than day one. While keepers were pretty easy to come by early yesterday, that hasn’t quite been the case today. Still, the weather is good and there’s plenty of time left for the lake to turn on. READ MORE »

Honnerlaw in Front at Big O

Honnerlaw in Front at Big O

Day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Okeechobee was great from a fish-catching standpoint, but somewhat lacking from a big fish perspective. In the lead, Bryan Honnerlaw of Moore Haven, Fla., put 19 pounds, 14 ounces on the scale. Behind him, three other pros also managed 19 pounds or better, and there is an absolute stack of anglers in the mid-teen range. READ MORE »

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 1

Okeechobee Midday Update – Day 1

Day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee has been a beauty so far. Takeoff went off without a hitch in the morning, and there’s basically been just a light breeze and sunny skies all day. Though it hasn’t been oppressively hot, it has been quite warm, and after setting down on their first spot, many anglers probably never put their hoodies back on. READ MORE »

Game Day on Okeechobee

Game Day on Okeechobee

The second stop of the Toyota Series Southern Division is hitting Lake Okeechobee later in the year than usual for FLW. Typically, big, multi-day FLW events on the Big O go down in January and February, but this one runs March 12-14 and should offer a different look at the familiar and ever-changing body of water. READ MORE »

ETBU Gets School of the Year Rings

ETBU Gets School of the Year Rings

Tallying up 1,752 points for the season, ETBU beat out Tarleton State-Stephenville by 16 points to earn the Southern Conference School of the Year title. READ MORE »

An Okeechobee Slugfest Could Happen

An Okeechobee Slugfest Could Happen

Pre-tournament optimism can be hard to find, but this year, if the weather holds, the fishing might be really good for the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

College Open Prize Pool Bigger than Ever

College Open Prize Pool Bigger than Ever

The annual Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open returns to Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in mid-March for the sixth consecutive season. This time around, however, the stakes are even higher, as teams compete for a brand-new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat, 20 spots in the 2021 National Championship and 20 spots in the all-new Major League Fishing College Faceoff presented by Wiley X in Raleigh, N.C., later this spring. READ MORE »

Lake Okeechobee Set for Toyota FLW Series Tournament

Lake Okeechobee Set for Toyota FLW Series Tournament

CLEWISTON, Fla. – Lake Okeechobee is set to play host next week to the 2020 Toyota Series, with the Toyota Series at Lake Okeechobee, March 12-14 in Clewiston, Florida. Hosted by Roland & Mary Ann Martin’s Marina and Resort and Hendry County Tourism, the three-day tournament will feature the... READ MORE »

Volunteer Division Starts on Douglas

Volunteer Division Starts on Douglas

The kickoff event of the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Volunteer Division takes place on Douglas Lake on March 7. One of the most scenic lakes in the country, Douglas promises some good prespawn fishing. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Harris Chain 

AOY Update: Harris Chain 

Through two events, the leader of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Angler of the Year race isn’t unexpected, but the standings behind Ron Nelson are in absolute turmoil. With Lake Martin and Cherokee Lake on tap, things could begin to clarify a bit as spotted bass, smallmouths and lakes that actually have rock become factors. So, while we’re about to run through the top contenders, it’s highly likely that the next few events really reshape the standings.  READ MORE »