Tennessee’s Neece Reclaims Lead at Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit on Lake Okeechobee
Feb 14th, 2021 by Keith Worrall
Modified Feb 14th, 2021 at 1:38 PM
CLEWISTON, Fla. (Feb. 13, 2021) – The final day of the Major League Fishing Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, 13 Fishing Stop 1 – Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida, is gearing up for an intense day of competition on Sunday. The top 10 includes a former FLW Cup champion, a 24-year veteran with 59 top-10 finishes and a standout Abu Garcia College Fishing angler, fishing the Pro Circuit during his sophomore year at Bethel University. Joined by MLF Bass Pro Tour pros Skeet Reese and Chris Lane, the top 10 is a conglomerate of fierce competitors, all with their eye on the championship trophy and the top prize of up to $135,000.
Tennessee rookie Jim Neece, Jr., who led the tournament on Day One, brought a limit of 18 pounds, 2 ounces to the scale on Saturday, moving back into the lead after dropping to 3rd place on Day Two. Neece’s three-day total of 56 pounds, 11 ounces gives him a slim 10-ounce advantage over pro Miles Burghoff of Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, who dropped to 2nd place with a limit worth 13 pounds, 2 ounces, for a three-day total of 56 pounds, 1 ounce.
Pro Cole Floyd of Leesburg, Ohio, made a jump from 15th place into 8th, while pro Ryan Salzman of Huntsville, Alabama , made a dramatic leap from 49th, into the 10th and final qualifying spot.
Neece said catching a 7-pound kicker early helped him get the day started in the right direction.
“That 7-pounder was the first bite of the day,” said Neece. “About an hour later, I lost one that was even bigger – it straightened out my hook.”
He said the fish he needs to win are in his area, north of King’s Bar, and he plans to go back again to vie for the win on Sunday.
“I’ve been in the same place all week, but have had to switch baits to get bites,” Neece said. “The first two days, I mainly fished a Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Worm and a frog, but they just weren’t biting them as well today.”
Due to the changing weather, Neece said he decided to fish a vibrating jig Saturday, which helped him put together his limit.
“I had to switch it up because of all of the wind in my area,” he said. “Today, the [vibrating jig] was the key.”
The top 10 pros after Day Three on Lake Okeechobee are:
1st: Jim Neece, Jr., Bristol, Tenn., 15 bass, 56-11
2nd: Miles Burghoff, Soddy-Daisy, Tenn., 15 bass, 56-1
3rd: Skeet Reese, Auburn, Calif., 15 bass, 55-5
4th: Bill McDonald, Greenwood, Ind., 15 bass, 55-4
5th: Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., 15 bass, 55-4
6th: Dicky Newberry, Houston, Texas, 15 bass, 53-6
7th: Pete Ponds, Madison, Miss., 15 bass, 50-15
8th: Cole Floyd, Leesburg, Ohio, 15 bass, 49-15
9th: Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 15 bass, 49-13
10th: Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala., 15 bass, 48-7
Anglers finishing 11th through 20th are:
11th: Rusty Salewske, Alpine, Calif., 15 bass, 46-11, $11,000
12th: Bobby Lane, Lakeland, Fla., 15 bass, 46-9, $11,000
13th: Brandon McMillan, Clewiston, Fla., 15 bass, 46-8, $11,000
14th: Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., 14 bass, 46-0, $11,000
15th: Kurt Mitchell, Milford, Del., 15 bass, 46-0, $11,000
16th: Jason Vance, Battle Ground, Ind., 15 bass, 45-5, $11,000
17th: Mike Surman, Boca Raton, Fla., 15 bass, 44-13, $11,000
18th: Robert Nakatomi, Sacramento, Calif., 15 bass, 44-1, $11,000
19th: Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., 15 bass, 43-4, $11,000
20th: Clabion Johns, Social Circle, Ga., 15 bass, 43-1, $11,000
For a full list of results visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 238 bass weighing 603 pounds, 5 ounces caught by 50 pros on Saturday, which included 42 five-bass limits.
The Major League Fishing Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, 13 Fishing Stop 1 – Lake Okeechobee is hosted by the Hendry County Tourism Development Council and Roland & Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort.
In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit competition, the full field of 162 anglers competed in the two-day opening round on Thursday and Friday. The field was cut to 50 anglers on Saturday. Now, the top 10 pros based on their three-day cumulative weight advance to Sunday where the winner will be determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days of competition.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2021 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Mercury, the Pro Circuit Championship, where they will compete for up to $235,000. The 2021 TITLE will be on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin on Aug. 17-22, and is hosted by Explore La Crosse.
Anglers will take off at 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday from Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina and Resort, located at 920 E. Del Monte Ave. in Clewiston. Weigh-in will also be held at the marina on Sunday at 3 p.m. Attendance is limited to competing anglers, family, essential staff and media covering the event. Fans are encouraged to follow the action online through the MLF NOW! live stream and coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com .
The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Bad Boy Mowers, 13 Fishing Stop 1 – Lake Okeechobee will feature live on-the-water coverage and a two-hour action-packed television show that will premiere on the Outdoor Channel on Sunday, July 11 from 7 to 9 a.m. ET and re-air on the Sportsman Channel this fall. Weigh-in will be streamed and fans can catch live on-the-water action all day Sunday, Feb. 14 on MLF NOW! beginning at 8 a.m. ET at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the MLF BIG5’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
About MLF BIG5
MLF BIG5 is part of MLF, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization. It provides anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money across five tournament circuits featuring a five-biggest-fish format. Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with offices in Benton, Kentucky, MLF and its partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Zimbabwe.
MLF tournaments are broadcast on Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel, World Fishing Network, MyOutdoorTV, Discovery and CBS Sports while MLF Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros to the world’s most avid bass anglers.