McMillan Leads FLW Series on Lake Okeechobee
Category: press release
Jan 30th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Jan 30th, 2009 at 12:00 AM
Catches remain steady, big bite dwindles, locals move up
CLEWISTON, Fla. – Bass traffic continued to be rather steady on the grass beds of Lake Okeechobee on day two of the Walmart FLW Series BP Eastern event.
With sunny skies and warm temperatures touching 80 degrees, those pros mining the spawning flats on the south end of the lake continued to catch bass. The overall catch stayed up with more limits (92 five bass limits in the Pro Division today versus 90 yesterday) and the total weight only slipped by a hundred pounds (1,496 today versus 1595 yesterday).
But what did fall off dramatically was the number of big fish, and consequently big stringers over the 20-pound mark.
Plenty of smaller male bass seem to be keeping the pros’ livewells full, but the big girls have caught on to their casting and reeling game.
The only 20-pound plus limit came from Okeechobee local Jimmy McMillan of Belle Glade, Fla., who brought in 23 pounds, 3 ounces to take the overall lead with a two-day total of 42 pounds, 13 ounces. His biggest bass weighed in at 6 pounds, 2 ounces.
McMillan, no doubt, is looking for redemption on the Big O; he finished second in this same event last year.
Ironically, it was a sight-fishing tip from fellow competitor Koby Kreiger that helped McMillan today. The hot tip was not so much area oriented as it was technique oriented.
“Sight-fishing is not my specialty,” McMillan said. “I’ve always been one to sit back off the beds and make long casts to them. But yesterday I saw a couple of big bass locked down that I could not catch. Last night I told Kreiger about how these fish were acting and he told me a few things to try and it worked. Today, once the fog broke and I could see the fish better I was able to catch a couple of the big ones I saw yesterday. Overall I got less bites today, but they were all bigger.”
McMillan noted that he has a few more left on bed in his area, but with a dramatically different forecast tomorrow (high north winds) things could be a lot different.
Day one leader, Scott Lunsford of Calhoun, Ga., slipped off the top spot with 13 pounds, Day one leader, Scott Lunsford of Calhoun, Ga., slipped off the top spot with 13 pounds, 5 ounces today. He is now in second with 39 pounds, 4 ounces.5 ounces today. He is now in second with 39 pounds, 4 ounces.
Lunsford is continuing to get plenty of bites with his primary technique, but his biggest problem is keeping them on the hook.
“I’m still getting a lot of bites, but for some reason I just can’t get them in the boat,” Lunsford said. “I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong, I’m just having problems because the stuff I’m fishing is so thick. My hook up ratio was probably only 40 percent today; I watched a 20-pound bag jump off.”
In order to deal with the frustration of losing big fish, Lunsford dropped back to his secondary pattern – pitching a ¾-ounce Omega jig to reeds – to catch a few fish and get back on track.
“If I can get a break on my primary pattern and get a couple of those bigger bites in the boat, I could weigh-in the kind of sack I had yesterday,” he added.
After posting two solid 19-pound days, BP pro Ray Scheide of Dover, Ark., is now in third place with a two-day total of 38 pounds, 6 ounces.After posting two solid 19-pound days, BP pro Ray Scheide of Dover, Ark., is now in third place with a two-day total of 38 pounds, 6 ounces.
Scheide is sharing water with some of the other top contenders (see day two morning story) and has managed to hold his own despite a waning bite in the area.
“I think we’re all kind of wondering how many fish are left in there,” Scheide said. “It’s one of those deals where we’re a little worried about leaving the area because at any time another big wave of fish could move in. I’ve got some other places in other areas of the lake I want to try, but I stayed true to that area today and it rewarded me. I’m fishing topwaters, pitching holes and doing a little sight-fishing as well.
“I’m going to return there tomorrow, probably like everyone, just to make sure I don’t miss anything. But I should know pretty quick what’s going on. I’ve caught my limit in there in the first hour the last two days so I should have a pretty good feeling of whether I need to stay or move on in the morning.”
Local pro Carmen Patti of Davie, Fla., moved up to fourth place thanks to a 18-pound, 7-ounce Local pro Carmen Patti of Davie, Fla., moved up to third place thanks to a 18-pound, 7-ounce effort today for a two-day total of 35 pounds, 2 ounces.effort today for a two-day total of 35 pounds, 2 ounces.
It’s hard to beat local experience on a lake as vast as Okeechobee and Patti, along with his friend, leader Jimmy McMillan, have that experience.
Patti’s strategy has been to stay in front of the spawn, so to speak.
“I’m not so much bed fishing as I am throwing Flappin’ Shads and Horny Toads for fish just moving in,” Patti said. “Once I feel like the fish start locking down on beds in an area, I move to an area that I think is more pre-spawn. Today I fished a different area than I did yesterday simply because I felt like all this warm weather had them locking down, so I went to another place today where the fish are a little farther behind in the spawn.”
Rounding out the top five is Tom Monsoor of Lacrosse, Wis., with a two-day total of 34 pounds, 12 ounces.
Kelly Jordon of Mineola, Texas, caught the big bass in the Pro Division on day two weighing 6 pounds, 8 ounces.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top-10 pros in the FLW Series BP Eastern on Lake Okeechobee after day two:
6th: Shonn Goodwin of Moore, Okla., two-day total of 34-7
7th: Kevin Long of Clewiston, Fla., two-day total of 34-5
8th: David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., two-day total of 34-0
9th: Mike Surman of Boca Raton, Fla., two-day total of 33-15
10th: Shin Fukae of Mineola, Texas, two-day total of 33-12
Wood leads co-anglers
Robert Wood of Jupiter, Fla., is homing in on his second FLW Series co-angler title on Lake Okeechobee with a two-day total of 30 pounds, 6 ounces.Robert Wood of Jupiter, Fla., is homing in on his second FLW Series co-angler title on Lake Okeechobee. He won this event last year and now he has moved into the driver’s seat with a two-day total of 30 pounds, 6 ounces.
“I’m ahead by ounces, just like last year,” said Wood who has just a scant 6-ounce cushion over second place. “This ounces thing is driving me crazy; I want to be ahead by several pounds, at least then I could relax a little.”
Larry Mullikin of Lauderhill, Fla., is in second place with a two-day total of 30 pounds, even.
Lady angler Lisa Opel of Hernando, Fla., in third with a two-day total of 29 pounds, even.
BP co-angler Kevin Koone of Greenbrier, Ark., remains in fourth with a two-day total of 27 pounds, 13 ounces.
Chip Brooks of Bradenton, Fla., rounds out the top five with a two-day total of 26 pounds, 13 ounces.
David Lauer of South Bend, Ind., caught the big bass in the Co-angler Division on day two weighing 8 pounds, 5 ounces.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers in the FLW Series BP Eastern on Lake Okeechobee after day two:
6th: David Lauer of South Bend, Ind., two-day total of 25-6
7th: Robert Twiss of Sunrise, Fla., two-day total of 23-8
8th: Tom Bowker of Terre Haute, Ind., two-day total of 23-7
9th: Robert Kimbrough of Vero Beach, Fla., two-day total of 22-15
10th: Charles Stevenson of Albany, Ga., two-day total of 21-6
Day three of the FLW Series BP Eastern will begin a 7 a.m. Friday from Roland & Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort located at 920 E. Del Monte Ave. in Clewiston.