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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

PanAm Championship Hits the Big O

PanAm Championship Hits the Big O

It starts with a dream; then comes the game plan. For the first-ever PanAmerican Black Bass Championship taking place Wednesday through Thursday on Lake Okeechobee at Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort, that goal is to someday see the Big O’s signature species pursued beneath the flag of five interlaced rings.

Part of a larger effort by the Confederation Internationale de Peche Sportive (CIPS) to make bass fishing an Olympic sport, this week’s event was sanctioned by the PanAmerican Sportfishing Delegation, which awarded hosting honors to USA Bass, a branch of United States Angling Confederation (U.S. Angling). FLW is providing logistical assistance.

Complete details

PanAm practice photo gallery

“The international fishing community is thrilled about this event,” says tournament organizer and CIPS Vice President John Knight. “It fits perfectly into the global initiative to increase participation in bass fishing. Steps like this are making bass fishing the frontrunner when fishing becomes an Olympic sport.”

USA Bass brings five of the 22 two-person teams in a field that also includes six teams from Mexico, eight from Canada and three from Costa Rica. Accompanied by an official observer, each team will fish for daily five-bass limits, with the winner determined by the heaviest two-day weight. At stake are gold, silver and bronze medals for individual teams, and a separate medal competition for countries.

Harnessing the visibility and influence of top-tier U.S. bass pros will, no doubt, benefit this effort. Fishing for the U.S. are three past Forrest Wood Cup champions – FLW Tour pros John Cox (2016), Scott Martin (2011) and David Dudley (2003) – along with nine-time Bassmaster Angler of the Year Roland Martin.

Elsewhere, Team Canada’s captain is Bob Izumi, a past Cost FLW Series Northern Division winner who hosts Bob Izumi’s Real Fishing TV show and publishes a fishing magazine called Real Fishing. Team Mexico features Richie Gonzalez, who owns a tackle shop in Monterey called Anglers Edge and also hosts a fishing TV show, Bass Pro Basics TV.

“I’m very proud to represent Mexico,” says Gonzalez, who teams with Arturo Saldana. “It’s an honor for us, and we will do our best to represent our country with dignity.”

 

What it means

Martin, who recently competed in the 2017 Black Bass World Championships on South Africa’s Vaal River in October, says he’s approaching this event with the same determination and enthusiasm as his FLW Tour competition.

“We may not be fishing for $125,000, but we’re fishing for a gold medal,” Martin says. “There’s no money involved, but we want to win gold.

“What an opportunity this is for Team USA, having these other teams here. What I was so impressed with, when we were in South Africa, was how serious everyone was. I mean, this is a big deal.”

Dudley says he’s honored to participate in what could be the foundation of a bass fishing milestone.

“Any angler out there would love to say ‘I was part of the process of getting this sport into the Olympics,’” he says. “It’s an honor to be here, and I really believe that one day, bass fishing will be an Olympic sport. And one day, every angler will appreciate the hard work that went into making that happen.

“And fish don’t discriminate against age, so I’m not going to say no to the possibility that I could be a part of that. I would hope to be.”

 

Casting camaraderie

“I’m really excited about this because it’s a team tournament, and I’m usually fishing alone as an FLW Tour pro,” says Scott Martin, who will compete alongside his father, Roland. “I’m fishing with my father this week, but going forward [in future events], I’ll fish with other USA Bass anglers. This is a neat opportunity to fish with guys you never get a chance to fish with.”

Dudley agrees and adds this thought: “In this tournament, we’re more open with our teammates than we would be in a traditional tournament. Usually, we might just give little clues as to what we’re doing, but this one really is a collective Team USA effort with a lot more detail because we’re pulling for each other.

“Once we’re on the water, we’ll be trying to catch the biggest bag we can, but strategy-wise, we’re all working together.”

For Cox, the event offers the chance not only to follow up on his vicarious interest in the 2017 Black Bass World Championship, but also to reunite with a tournament partner.

“When I got the invite for this event, I was super excited, but then they told me I got to pick my partner for the tournament,” he says. “I went and got Keith Carson who I’ve fished with for 16 or 17 years. It’s been an awesome week getting to fish together.”

Team Canada’s Cole Bailey partners with Bruce Leeson, a retiree who winters in Clewiston. For Leeson, it was an easy decision to participate, but Bailey was just as eager to journey south from Thamesford, Ontario.

“Our team captain, Bob Izumi, called and asked if I’d like to participate, and I said ‘Of course I would.’ yYou can’t pass up the chance to represent your country,” says Bailey.

 

The outlook

Despite Hurricane Irma’s severe lashing in early September 2017, Lake Okeechobee appears poised to deliver fireworks. A weeklong warming trend, mostly sunny skies and manageable winds could ignite an epic shallow-water bite.

“The lake is fishing really good right now; I think there’s going to be a lot of fish caught,” Scott Martin says. “The key is going to be getting the big fish, but I think it’s a good week for that to happen. I think there’s good potential we could see some 25- to 30-pound bags. There are some big ones out there.”

Anglers reported encouraging practice results, with a good number of fish on beds and what appears to be another wave staging for their big move. Competitors reported getting bit on the usual mix of swimbaits, bladed swim jigs, lipless crankbaits and flipping/punching rigs.

“It’s hard to find a good spot, because it all looks good,” Gonzalez says. “We had almost 19 pounds a day in practice. Each day, we had a kicker of 6 to 7 pounds. With these conditions, I think you’ll need four good keepers and one kicker every day.”

Cox agrees that Okeechobee is on the upswing.

“The lake is still really dirty [from windy conditions], but it’s cleaning up in areas. When we were here two weeks ago for the Tour, there were a lot of fish out in that nasty water, and there weren’t many that were moving in,” he says. “They’ve started to make that push, and I think it’s going to fish well these next two days. There’s everything you could ask for in a tournament. It’s going to be exciting; there’s going to be some giant bass caught.”

Martin, whose family name is synonymous with Lake Okeechobee, hopes this week’s event will be a “kicker” of sorts for the sport of bass fishing.

“I want to keep supporting this effort to advance bass fishing on the international level,” he says. “I really think it’s going to grow. You know, the very first FLW tournament came here years ago, so I think having the PanAm here is a sign of things to come.”
 

Roster

United States of America

Scott Martin (captain) and Roland Martin                

David Dudley and Mark Schlarb                   

Alan Boyd and Kyle Alsop   

Shirley Crain and Michelle Jalaba      

John Cox and Keith Carson   

Mexico

Richie Gonzalez (captain) and Arturo Saldaña

Alex Salinas and Fernando Salinas                

Victor Concha Jr. and Gerardo Ibarra                                   

Gabriel Torres and Eduardo Yoshii              

Tomas Santos and Cruz Alejando Salinas                

Jorge Bruster and Luis Flores

Canada          

Bob Izumi (captain) and Darren Izumi          

Rob Lee and Dave Chong      

Cole Bailey and Bruce Leeson

Brian Hughes and Anais Chaves                   

Phil Hegarty and Stephen Hegarty    

Dave Bairstow and Matt Hubble      

Joey Ford and Shawn McCaul                      

Spiro Agouros and Fern Campeau     

Costa Rica

Carlos Cabero and Henry Marin                  

Jonnathan Arroyo and Vicente Naranjo                   

Ronny Villalobos and Maricio Monge                     

 

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  article 

St. Lawrence Midday Update – Day 2

St. Lawrence Midday Update – Day 2

With slightly warmer weather and similar sun and wind conditions, day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits on the St. Lawrence River should’ve presented optimal conditions for smallmouth. Instead, nearly every angler our on-the-water crew encountered today said the same thing: It’s tougher. READ MORE »

Buy a Hat, Help USA Bass 

Buy a Hat, Help USA Bass 

Bass fishing fans have a chance to help the USA Bass team achieve its goal of winning the 2019 Pan American Championship in Canada next month. To help fund the effort, USA Bass, which is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, recently launched a limited edition hat drive with the goal of selling 1,000 USA Bass hats. READ MORE »

To Run or Not to Run

To Run or Not to Run

The final leg of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division on the St. Lawrence River, presented by Gajo Baits, is primed to be a smallmouth smashfest, as usual. That said, this year’s event, which is presented by Realtree Fishing, will launch out of Massena, N.Y., instead of the usual Clayton. So, what was once a 15-or-so-mile run to the mouth of the lake from takeoff – and roughly 30-plus miles to Gallo Island or Main Duck – will now be about a 95-mile run just to get to the lake. READ MORE »

A High School Kayak Tournament Experience 

A High School Kayak Tournament Experience 

A recent high school kayak bass fishing tournament showcased the potential of kayaks to get more young anglers on the water and competing. READ MORE »

Hough is Fighting to Fish

Hough is Fighting to Fish

Fishing just her second full season as a co-angler in the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) South Carolina Division, mother of two and first-grade teacher Kate Hough was planning and preparing for a chance to do something no woman has ever done in her division: win Co-Angler of the Year. Instead of preparing for the Super Tournament on Lake Hartwell on Sept. 28, however, Hough is simply fighting to leave her hospital bed. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 2

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 2

The second weekend in September saw seven more T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) divisions conclude their seasons with two-day Super Tournament events. From the Tennessee River to the St. Lawrence River and a few places in between, here’s a quick look at how the seven events were won. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Matt Reed

Check-in Time: Matt Reed

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Texas pro Matt Reed.  READ MORE »

When to Fish the Flashy Swimmer

When to Fish the Flashy Swimmer

In April, FLW Associate Editor Justin Onslow documented how Gross likes to cut the belly of his two favorite hollow swimbaits – the Scottsboro and the Zoom Swimmer – when rigging on a weedless hook to achieve a high hook-up ratio. However, that article didn’t break down where and why Gross prefers to use the Beast Flashy Swimmer hook versus a standard weighted, weedless swimbait hook. So we reached out to Gross for more info. READ MORE »

FLW Mourns Passing of T. Boone Pickens

FLW Mourns Passing of T. Boone Pickens

Businessman T. Boone Pickens, who in 2010 partnered with FLW to promote an alternative energy plan to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, passed away Wednesday at the age of 91.  READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 1

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 1

College football, hooded sweatshirts and the conclusion of the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) regular season are what come to mind as the calendar turns to September. This past weekend, six divisions put a feather in their cap for the year with their two-day Super Tournament events – where the payouts are bigger – but, more importantly, it’s the last chance to accumulate points to qualify for the Regionals this October. READ MORE »

Harris Chain to Host 2020 College Championship

Harris Chain to Host 2020 College Championship

Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes will host the 2020 YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship. The tournament, set for Feb. 26-28, will showcase the top collegiate anglers from across the nation. READ MORE »

Martin Makes Young Angler’s Wish Come True

Martin Makes Young Angler’s Wish Come True

A feature published this morning by Dennis Anderson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (startribune.com) details the story of a 10-year-old Minnesota boy named Colby, whose wish was to get to meet and fish with FLW Tour pro Scott Martin. Colby, who suffers from a rare autoimmune disorder, got his wish on Wednesday thanks to Martin, Minnesota-based 3M and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Together, they treated Colby’s family to a weeklong vacation, and Martin guided the young angler to a day of fishing for bass and northern pike on Mantrap Lake near Park Rapids, Minn. Martin has been in the Land of 10,000 Lakes for the last week or so filming for various video projects. READ MORE »

Khourie, Lingnau Win 2019 FLW South Africa Championship

Khourie, Lingnau Win 2019 FLW South Africa Championship

Team Khourie/Lignau, consisting of Pieter Khourie and August Lingnau of the North West region, came roaring back on day three of the 2019 FLW South Africa Championship with a five-bass limit of 10.55 kg (23.25 pounds) to take the top spot and beat out Greg Schluep and Giulio Nolli of Team Secret VC for the title. READ MORE »

Checking in with Walters After the Cup

Checking in with Walters After the Cup

Walters, 41, of Grant Valkaria, Fla., is getting back to business as usual following his remarkable Cup showing, and we checked in with him to find out what his experience in Hot Springs was like and what’s on tap for the future – including a possible FLW Tour career. READ MORE »

FLW Zimbabwe Championship Recap

FLW Zimbabwe Championship Recap

The 2019 FLW Zimbabwe Championship took place Aug. 23-25 on Lake Mteri. The Walking Dead team led by Roger Cousens won the event with a three-day total weight of 101.83 pounds. For the win, Cousens will fish as a boater at the Costa FLW Series Championship Oct. 31-Nov. 2 on Lake Cumberland, and Miles Bennet (from team Keepnet) will compete on the co-angler side. READ MORE »

A Tribute to Irwin Jacobs

A Tribute to Irwin Jacobs

Jacobs’ dreams were bigger. Bolder. He saw bass fishing’s potential to reach beyond the traditional fishing consumer and to the masses. Through his corporate savvy and hard work, Jacobs manifested a new era of professional bass fishing where anglers became household names, represented major national brands and competed for enormous payouts. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: John Cox

Check-in Time: John Cox

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with John Cox.  READ MORE »

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 3

Potomac River Midday Update – Day 3

The final day of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits event on the Potomac has offered chamber of commerce weather and some up and down fishing. The event, which is presented by Lowrance, has featured pretty tough fishing overall, and it seems like some of the top 10 may fall victim to it today. READ MORE »

Underway on the Potomac

Underway on the Potomac

For the tournament, the wind isn’t forecast to be too strong any day, and the tides will be fairly standard, but not ideal from a timing standpoint. Today, low tide was at 6:15 a.m., and low tide on Saturday will be at 8:15. That means that pros will mostly be fishing a rising tide through the tournament, with the best windows likely coming early on Friday and Saturday. READ MORE »

Curveballs at the Cup

Curveballs at the Cup

When the field of 52 anglers arrived in Hot Springs, Ark., for the official practice period for the 2019 FLW Cup, they were greeted with sunshine, humidity and brutal daytime temperatures in the upper 90s. Early in the week, there was little mention of anything other than the same – a typical Arkansas summer forecast of sunny and hot. READ MORE »