UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Lake Erie

Living the Dream: Lake Okeechobee, Part 3

Living the Dream: Lake Okeechobee, Part 3
TBF Living The Dream winner Dave Andrews shows off his catch at Lake Okeechobee.

-------------------------------------
Editor's note: This is the third piece in a series of journal entries from Dave Andrews, winner of the 2007 TBF National Championship, which will be published at FLWOutdoors.com throughout the course of the 2008 FLW Series Eastern season. As winner of the "Living the Dream" package offered by FLW Outdoors through The Bass Federation, Andrews had his entry fees paid to test his club skills on the pro tour with the use of a fully wrapped boat and tow package. Andrews will chronicle his adventure in pro bass fishing during the season, beginning with his experience at Florida's Lake Okeechobee. After Andrews has submitted his journal following each FLW Series event, segments will be posted every few days or so. (Read Part 1 and Part 2)
-------------------------------------


Wal-Mart FLW Series BP Eastern Division
Stop No. 1: Lake Okeechobee
Jan. 23-26, 2008


Official practice, day three (Sunday, Jan. 20)

Fun's over! A bad cold front had dropped into town over night, bringing with it clouds, rain, rapidly dropping temperatures and, of course, wind. Dave (Guichard, a co-angler from New Hampshire) and I fished together again, and I decided to run up the Caloosahatchee River to check some of the canals and make the best of what the weather would allow us to do. The main lake was definitely out today! I had put on every bit of winter clothing that I had brought and wished I had a ski hat and gloves. Temperatures never made it out of the low 50s, and the 25- to 40-mph winds made it feel much colder.

After locking into the river in Moore Haven, we ran 16 miles to the next lock and ducked into a few small canals. The canals had rows of docks that held huge oceangoing vessels. We flipped around the boats and lily pads and managed to put a few small keepers in the boat, mostly on black and June-bug colored worms fished on spinning tackle and 8-pound Gamma line. There was a small local tournament, and most anglers had only one or two keepers. The area looked promising, but after three or four hours, we decided to abandon ship and head back upriver.

We locked back into the rim canal and fished our way back south to Clewiston. We picked up a few fish in the canal, but nothing very big. There were nearly 100 boats fishing in a 10-mile stretch in the rim canal. They were piled up in some of my best spots. I told myself it was because of the high winds - that they were only hiding in there for protection. Surely they would move out once the tournament started, right? I had an uneasy feeling.

TBF angler Dave Andrews shows off his new boat - which was part of his Living The Dream prize package.Official practice, day four (Monday, Jan. 21)

Tournament Director Chris Jones arrived late on Sunday night, towing my new Ranger Z520 with Yamaha 250 HPDI, which was wrapped in the "Living the Dream" theme. Wow, what a pretty boat. It is definitely an eye-catcher. The following morning, I spent an hour or so transferring my equipment into the new boat. I planned to spend much of the day running around in the rim ditch, breaking in the new motor.

I was alone again on the morning of the fourth and final practice day. The day would be mostly sunny, but the wind would continue to punish the Okeechobee region. There would be no getting to the main lake today, and it would be another day of checking spots in the rim canal and looking for something obscure that might be needed come tournament time.

I graphed several sections of the canal and attempted to catch fish on different baits than I had been using. I threw a Carolina-rigged lizard for about an hour along the deeper sections of the canal, attempting to establish a backup pattern in case the rapidly increasing pressure in the canal would move the fish off the bank. Nothing took the lizard. I tied on a 1/2-ounce black-and-blue Gambler Swim Blade and worked it off the first breakline. I boated two solid fish on the swim blade and decided to head for the lock and work my way into the river again.

After locking through, I wound my way up one of the oxbows, way off the beaten path, and discovered a narrow ditch that ran for miles back into the sugar cane fields. There were lots of targets to fish, mostly hyacinths and lay-downs, and I worked a black Tufcore frog along the plentiful cover. I boated two decent fish on my way back in, when my cell phone rang. It was my longtime friend and tournament partner Scott Leppanen from Byfield, Mass. He was fishing the co-angler side of the tournament and had just flown into Palm Beach and was driving to Clewiston. I told him to head for Moore Haven, and I would pick him up at the launch there. I zipped back out of the oxbow and found Scott waiting by the launch; he jumped in and we immediately headed back to where I left off in the ditch, throwing worms and frogs. It was getting late in the afternoon, but the ditch was intriguing to me, as it was way off the beaten path and totally fishable due to its high banks that blocked the strong winds.

Working our way back, we discovered a spillway from another ditch that was open. Clear water The Giggy Head poured out from above. I threw the Giggy Head worm along the current breaks and fallen trees and quickly boated five keepers up to 2 1/2 pounds in size. I pitched in again, and the line swam off. I set the hook, and a big fish came up and jumped. I played the fish for quite a while and finally boated it. It was close to 7 pounds. We left after this, and after dropping Scott off in Moore Haven, I worked my way back to Clewiston, mainly just running the boat at various RPMs to break in the engine. I did stop a few times and throw a crankbait, catching a few along the way.

Registration day (Tuesday, Jan. 22)

Lake Okeechobee was off limits today. A new policy from FLW Outdoors forces anglers off the water for one day prior to the start of the competition. I think the new mandatory off-limits day was put in place to allow anglers time to get their boats worked on at the support trailers and to have the registration and pretournament meeting earlier in the day.

I'm a big fan of the new policy. It was nice to sleep in a little and have some time to think before the tournament started. The heavily pressured fish got a break as well. I used the time in the morning to work on my tackle. I spooled new Gamma line on all my reels, changed out old hooks to fresh Gamakatsu trebles and even spent some time by the pool at the motel tuning my jerkbaits. I took a break at about 9:30 a.m. and headed to the local Beef O' Brady's for breakfast with Chad Brauer and Frank Lannom. The restaurant was full of fishermen, and there were many fish stories being told.

Registration began at 2 p.m., and an outdoor barbeque was part of the set-up. I picked up my new "Living the Dream" sponsor jerseys at registration and chatted with a few anglers while grabbing a hamburger. The pretournament meeting and pairings were fairly uneventful. I drew boat 118 in the sixth flight and will be fishing with Jerry Lamb, a co-angler from northern Florida.

-------------------------------------
Editor's note: Stay tuned for Part 4 of Andrews' adventure on Lake Okeechobee, in which he'll write about the first day of Wal-Mart FLW Series BP Eastern competition on the Big O.
-------------------------------------

Tags: dave-andrews  article 

ROY Update: Mississippi River

ROY Update: Mississippi River

The most recent Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries at the Mississippi River was a pivotal one for the season-long points races. On the Angler of the Year side of things, Ron Nelson widened his lead tremendously. In the Polaris Rookie of the Year race, Kyle Hall roared from third place into first. READ MORE »

TITLE Bubble Watch

TITLE Bubble Watch

There’s a lot at state in the final Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Erie. Aside from someone taking home the $125,000 top prize, Angler of the Year and Polaris Rookie of the Year will be crowned. But there is another important thing to be settled on Erie: finalizing the field for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay. The top 50 anglers in the points will qualify, and while some are already just about locked in, others will need to fish down to the wire. READ MORE »

AOY Update: Mississippi River

AOY Update: Mississippi River

Ron Nelson has led the way in the Angler of the Year race in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit since the very early going. Now, with just one event left, he’s opened up a fairly massive gap between himself and the rest of the field. READ MORE »

Breaking Down Poche’s Disqualification

Breaking Down Poche’s Disqualification

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Rule No. 12 regarding Boat and Horsepower Regulation recently came under scrutiny after Major League Fishing pro Keith Poche’s day one weight was disqualified at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at the Mississippi River presented by OPTIMA Batteries. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for the Mississippi River

FLW Live Schedule for the Mississippi River

With just two events left in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit season, it’s time to turn attention to the northern part of the country. Presented by OPTIMA Batteries, the Pro Circuit Super Tournament on the Mississippi River out of Stoddard, Wis., will not only crown a winner with a $125,000 payday but also shape the Angler of the Year race. READ MORE »

Alvin Shaw Withdraws from Remaining Super Tournaments

Alvin Shaw Withdraws from Remaining Super Tournaments

Citing emergency surgery to remove his gall bladder, pro Alvin Shaw announced today that he is withdrawing from the remaining two 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit events. Shaw, a 16-year FLW pro, has 15 top-10 finishes and two career victories in FLW competition. READ MORE »

MLF Analyst Marty Stone Joins "FLW Live"

MLF Analyst Marty Stone Joins "FLW Live"

FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, and Major League Fishing (MLF) announced the addition of veteran MLF NOW! analyst Marty Stone to the FLW Live broadcast team. READ MORE »

2nd Place Earns MDJ Bonus Bucks

2nd Place Earns MDJ Bonus Bucks

Major League Fishing pro Mark Daniels Jr. took home $3,000 of Toyota Bonus Bucks thanks to his second-place finish in the final Bass Pro Tour event of the 2020 season. “MDJ” had an extremely close, back-and-forth battle with eventual winner Justin Lucas on Sturgeon Bay before finishing the Championship Round as the runner-up. READ MORE »

Northern Division Returns to Sandusky

Northern Division Returns to Sandusky

FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today that the organization will shift its Aug. 18-20 Toyota Series Northern Division event from Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh, New York, to Lake Erie and Sandusky, Ohio. The move was made in response to New York’s expanded travel restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic. READ MORE »

Under the Cap: Look Inside Justin Lucas’ Truck

Under the Cap: Look Inside Justin Lucas’ Truck

Although he makes his living fishing on the front deck of his Phoenix boat, MLF pro Justin Lucas spends as much (or more!) time in between competition rounds and Bass Pro Tour events working out of a four-wheeled tackle garage that includes an A.R.E. Z Series truck cap. READ MORE »

BFL Winning Patterns – July 18-19

BFL Winning Patterns – July 18-19

The weekend of July 18 featured eight Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine events spread across six different divisions. With a pair of double-headers mixed in, it was an action-packed weekend on the water. READ MORE »

Assessing the ROY Race

Assessing the ROY Race

With the final two events of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit regular season slated for the Mississippi River and Sandusky Bay, on Lake Erie, there’s really no candidate that is perfectly suited for both. Because of that, the final two events set up well to test true fishing talent, and it won’t be easy for someone to get on a roll to close it out. READ MORE »

Pro Circuit Events Move to Great Lakes

Pro Circuit Events Move to Great Lakes

FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today that the final two Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit events of 2020 have been moved. The final Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament scheduled for Aug. 11-14 has been moved to Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio, while the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota, scheduled for Aug. 24-29, has been moved to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. READ MORE »

Lake Martin TV Show Premieres Tonight

Lake Martin TV Show Premieres Tonight

The 2020 season of “FLW Fishing” features 13 two-hour episodes, showcasing competition during each of the six regular-season Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit events, plus all six days of the Tackle Warehouse FLW TITLE presented by Toyota, the Pro Circuit Championship. This week, the Pro Circuit event at Lake Martin is on tap.  READ MORE »

Cifuentes’ Chickamauga Mayfly Pattern

Cifuentes’ Chickamauga Mayfly Pattern

Adult mayflies only live for about 24 hours out of the water, but during that brief window, they can dramatically affect the prospects of catching a bunch of fish. At the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga, Miles Burghoff based a lot of his success on schools of bass that were related to the mayfly hatch. Joey Cifuentes also keyed on the mayfly hatch, and his strategy provides a great playbook for responding to mayfly hatches in a variety of situations. READ MORE »

Apex Watercraft Funding Next Kayak Venture

Apex Watercraft Funding Next Kayak Venture

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit angler Eric Jackson’s new company Apex Watercraft is setting out to build carbon fiber fishing kayaks that are faster, lighter and just as stable as the competition. Apex Watercraft is currently offering fans the opportunity to back the groundbreaking kayak-building venture on Kickstarter and via their website at apexwatercraft.com.  READ MORE »

ICAST Cup Winners Announced

ICAST Cup Winners Announced

The ICAST Cup presented by FLW, a popular part of the ICAST tradeshow for the last five years, kicked off ICAST Online as a fish, photograph and release tournament Saturday and Sunday with 50 anglers across the country fishing their local waters to raise money for Keep America Fishing. READ MORE »

BFL Winning Patterns – July 11-12

BFL Winning Patterns – July 11-12

The weekend of July 11 featured seven Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine events spread across six different divisions. With a pair of double-headers mixed in, it was an action-packed weekend on the water. READ MORE »

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

From a weather standpoint, day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie has been almost too perfect. Slick and hot from the start, anglers have been able to go wherever they want and fish however they want. READ MORE »

FLW Classics – Week 5

FLW Classics – Week 5

Even though tournament action is back in full swing, we decided to keep dipping into the archives for some tournament highlights from yesteryear. Below is a batch of classic FLW TV shows from 2008 to 2010, with more on the way.  READ MORE »