Live now : TOYOTA SERIES 2020 Chickamauga

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 

Wiley X Teams with FLW

Wiley X Teams with FLW

FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Wiley X, one of the most trusted brands in the world for safety eyewear, high-performance sunglasses, and optical/protective sports eyewear for youth. Effective immediately, Wiley X becomes the official sunglass provider of FLW and assumes title sponsorship of the FLW High School Fishing Camp, the ultimate summer camp for serious high school anglers, their parents, boat captains and coaches. In addition to the High School Fishing Camp, Wiley X has also been named the presenting sponsor of the new Major League Fishing (MLF) College Faceoff events. READ MORE »

Dortch’s Flipping Setup

Dortch’s Flipping Setup

After growing up on the Tensaw River in Alabama and spending much of his early fishing career in Florida, Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Bradley Dortch naturally has a very good handle on flipping. Especially around matted cover, Dortch is quick to put a big stick into action, and his preferences fit him perfectly. If you’re looking for a new flipping plan, or maybe just thinking about tweaking around the edges, his advice could be applicable to you. READ MORE »

Co-angler Opportunities Expand in Toyota Series

Co-angler Opportunities Expand in Toyota Series

For 2020, FLW has partnered with Toyota to roll out a host of enhancements to its Triple-A league known as the Toyota Series – including great new opportunities for co-anglers. READ MORE »

Abu Garcia Partners with FLW, MLF

Abu Garcia Partners with FLW, MLF

FLW and Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today a sponsorship agreement with Abu Garcia, a legendary fishing brand and industry-leading manufacturer known for its high-quality, innovative rods and reels. Abu Garcia will immediately assume title sponsorship of FLW College Fishing circuit. READ MORE »

Toyota Series: Best Value in Fishing

Toyota Series: Best Value in Fishing

For 2020, FLW has partnered with Toyota to roll out a completely revamped Triple-A league known as the Toyota Series, with many enhancements over the previous FLW Series that were requested by competitors. READ MORE »

Register Now for High School Camp

Register Now for High School Camp

Registration is now open for the 2020 Wiley X High School Fishing Camp presented by Tackle Warehouse, which runs from July 22-24. The registration period will continue through June 30 or until all camp spots have been filled.  READ MORE »

Toledo Bend Midday Update – Day 3

Toledo Bend Midday Update – Day 3

The final day of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Toledo Bend is an absolutely glorious one, in terms of weather. A light breeze and sunny skies greeted anglers for the first time all week, and while it may be pleasant to be outside in, it hasn’t done much to help the fishing. READ MORE »

Toledo Bend Midday Update – Day 2

Toledo Bend Midday Update – Day 2

It was another cloudy, cool morning to start day two of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Toledo Bend. With water temperatures hovering around 52 degrees, the fish weren’t in much of a biting mood throughout much of the morning. READ MORE »

Fish BFL, Series for Chance to Win Polaris

Fish BFL, Series for Chance to Win Polaris

Just as it did last season, Polaris is teaming up with FLW in 2020 to give away a pair of ATVs and a UTV. READ MORE »

Toledo Bend Midday Update – Day 1

Toledo Bend Midday Update – Day 1

Day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division season opener on Toledo Bend has been about what the competitors figured it would be – a slow and steady grind. A misty rain and light fog greeted anglers at takeoff, followed by a decent wind out of the north bringing a chill to the air, which wasn’t exactly forecasted. READ MORE »

Previewing the St. Johns River

Previewing the St. Johns River

With the addition of new divisions on the 2020 Toyota Series schedule, Florida anglers (and anyone else hoping for a full schedule of Florida fisheries) get a trio of Sunshine State staples on the docket this year, starting with the St. Johns River on February 13. READ MORE »

Toyota Sponsors MLF and FLW

Toyota Sponsors MLF and FLW

Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) announced today a formal sponsorship of Major League Fishing (MLF), professional bass fishing’s newest premier tournament organization, and home to Team Toyota professional anglers Mike Iaconelli, Terry Scroggins, Kevin VanDam, and Jacob Wheeler. The partnership includes Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, as title sponsor of the Toyota Series. READ MORE »

Sharing Forrest Wood Stories

Sharing Forrest Wood Stories

In the few days since Forrest Wood passed away, thousands of people have taken to social media to share their favorite “Forrest Wood story” in public tribute to one of bass fishing’s most iconic men. In keeping with the trend, we reached out to people within the FLW family and the broader fishing industry and invited them to share a Forrest Wood story or two, or to reflect on what Forrest meant to them. READ MORE »

Forrest Wood’s Legacy

Forrest Wood’s Legacy

Surrounded by his family, Forrest Wood passed away in a Mountain Home, Ark., hospital just after 9 a.m. Saturday, four days after suffering a heart attack in his home. Wood, who was 87 at the time of his death, was the founder of Ranger Boats of Flippin, Ark. A pioneer of bass tournament fishing, he helped launch the careers of hundreds of aspiring tournament anglers through sponsorships. During his 20-year span at the helm of the company he founded with his wife, Nina, Forrest is credited with laying the groundwork for the modern bass boat through his innovative designs and engineering advancements. READ MORE »

Forrest L. Wood, 1932-2020

Forrest L. Wood, 1932-2020

FLW is saddened to report that Forrest L. Wood, the namesake of our organization and a longtime member of the FLW family, passed away today at age 87. He spent his final days surrounded by his family, including his wife of 68 years, Nina. READ MORE »

Daniel Fennel to Direct Pro Circuit

Daniel Fennel to Direct Pro Circuit

At the registration meeting for this week’s Pro Circuit season opener at Sam Rayburn Reservoir, FLW announced that Daniel had been promoted to senior director of tournament operations for the Pro Circuit, FLW Series and Phoenix Bass Fishing League, with responsibilities to include directing the Pro Circuit. Bill Taylor, who served as tournament director for the FLW Tour from 2001 through 2019, has been promoted to senior director of operations, where he’ll lend his expertise acquired through more than two decades as a tournament director toward logistics, angler relations and event planning for all FLW circuits. READ MORE »

2020 Pro Circuit Predictions

2020 Pro Circuit Predictions

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit is at Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookeland, Texas, this week to kick off what promises to be another great season of professional bass fishing for FLW. In anticipation of great things to come during the inaugural Pro Circuit season, a few FLW staff members and one Pro Circuit pro decided to play pundit and make a few predictions.  READ MORE »

John Cox Making Most of Opportunities

John Cox Making Most of Opportunities

In addition to finishing second in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit standings last season, John Cox finished runner-up in the Bassmaster Central Open standings and fourth in the Eastern Open standings, qualifying him to fish the Pro Circuit and Bassmaster Elite Series this year. While many pros were faced with some either-or decisions this offseason, Cox chose both – fishing the Pro Circuit and Elite Series – and he’s not even a bit nervous about doing both. READ MORE »

Tackle Warehouse Teams with FLW

Tackle Warehouse Teams with FLW

FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today that it has reached a sponsorship agreement with Tackle Warehouse, the sport’s leading online retailer that offers the guaranteed lowest prices on bass fishing tackle from every top brand. Effective immediately, Tackle Warehouse becomes the official tackle retailer of FLW and assumes title sponsorship of the FLW Pro Circuit, professional bass fishing’s premier five-fish-limit tournament series. READ MORE »

Rookie Profile: Laramy Strickland

Rookie Profile: Laramy Strickland

Being a rookie on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit can be daunting no matter what age you are. This year, there are 28 newcomers eager to prove themselves against some of the best in the game. And while the bulk of them have been chasing the dream for a while, 22-year-old Laramy Strickland of Bushnell, Fla., will be one of the younger pros looking to make a name in the industry. READ MORE »