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Pro Anglers Expecting a Bounty of Big Fish for FLW Event at Lake O!
“This is August. They can’t do this anywhere else in the country,” declared veteran Lake O guide and former pro tour champion Steve Daniel. “The lake has been awesome all summer long.”
Some 300 anglers in the pro- and co-angler categories of the FLW Wal-Mart BFL Gator Division will be able see for themselves in the Aug. 29-30 ‘super tournament’ at Okeechobee’s Scott Driver Park. It’s the fifth and final event of the 2015 Gator Division–the largest of the BFL’s 24 divisions–where the top pro will take home $9,000 and $4,500 will go to the top co-angler.
Daniel predicts the winning two-day weight could be 45 pounds.
With water levels in the Big O hovering around 12 feet and a full moon on Aug. 29, Daniel believes the big fish will go for the spawning bluegill and shellcracker bedding on the edges of grass lines first thing in the morning. Anglers using large Senkos and swim baits in bluegill hues of green and orange will be successful, he says. As the sun rises, bass are likely to head for deeper water, such as the hydrilla beds of Harney Pond where slow-moving chatterbaits and spinnerbaits should do the trick.
FLW Tour pro Mike Surman says it’s key to knock out a couple big fish of six pounds or larger right out of the gate.
“If you find the right place early in the morning, you can catch 20 fish in the first half-hour,” Surman said. “If you catch two good ones early and one more later in the day, you’ve got a good chance to win.”
Surman, who has won major tournaments on Lake Okeechobee in the past, said he plans to start the day with a YoZuri Nor-Z– a large, jointed minnow-shaped bait with a propeller in the back– then switch to a Gambler Big EZ minnow imitation or Gambler jig with a MegaDaddy trailer later in the day. He believes the tournament could be won anywhere on the lake –even ten minutes’ ride from the boat ramp. Daniel believes anglers can also catch big fish in the Kissimmee River and adjacent canals.
At the last Gator Division tournament held on the Big O in April, Joshua Morfis weighed a limit of 34 pounds, 14 ounces in a single day to earn more than $6,300. Co-angler Hunter Abowd had the largest fish — an 11-pound, 10-ounce monster.