Don Eady of Orlando, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 26 pounds, 6 ounces, Saturday to win the third FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Gator Division tournament of 2016 on Lake Toho. For his victory, Eady took home $8,668.
Eady says he caught nearly 25 keepers over the course of the day using an unnamed purple swimbait.
“I focused on submerged hydrilla and Kissimmee grass in less than 4 feet of water on the north end,” says Eady, who earned his first career win in FLW competition. “I fished the bait really slow. I made sure that it came right over the grass and touched it from time to time.”
The Florida hit four different stretches of hydrilla and Kissimmee grass, but only two were needed to produce his winning stringer.
“My biggest fish hadn’t spawned yet and were in the grass waiting to go to the beds,” says Eady. “That was a huge factor in my pattern.”
Eady credited his knowledge of the lake and the recent weather patterns for helping him get the win.
“A lot of competitors were out looking for beds, but I wasn’t,” explains Eady. “In fact, I didn’t see a bed all day. This lake is very shallow, so it doesn’t take much of a cold front to scatter fish. With the weather we’ve had, I knew there wouldn’t be anything left on the beds.”
The top 10 boaters:
1st: Don Eady, Orlando, Fla., five bass, 26-6, $6,668 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: Ronald Yentz, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., five bass, 24-1, $2,744
3rd: Kyle Walters, Grant Valkaria, Fla., five bass, 23-4, $1,829
4th: Donny Bass, Naples, Fla., five bass, 20-4, $1,281
5th: Trevor Hamlin, Cape Coral, Fla., five bass, 20-3, $1,098
6th: Raymond Trudeau, Saint Cloud, Fla., five bass, 20-2, $1,006
7th: Sandy Melvin, Boca Grande, Fla., five bass, 19-14, $915
8th: Benny Townend, Boynton Beach, Fla., five bass, 19-6, $823
9th: Craig Mathews, Punta Gorda, Fla., five bass, 18-2, $732
10th: Joseph Kremer, Osteen, Fla., five bass, 16-9, $640
Complete results can be found here.
Eady also caught a 9-pound, 7-ounce bass – the biggest of the tournament in the pro division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $880.
Simmons wins co-angler title
Rodney Simmons of Alva, Florida, weighed in five bass totaling 19 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to earn $2,744 and win the co-angler division.
The top 10 co-anglers:
1st: Rodney Simmons , Alva, Fla., five bass, 19-7, $2,744
2nd: Delfin Pernas, Miami, Fla., four bass, 16-15, $1,372
3rd: James Brown, Margate, Fla., five bass, 15-13, $917
4th: Matthew Wolfe Jr., Casstown, Ohio, five bass, 15-12, $640
5th: Charles Tucker, Eustis, Fla., four bass, 14-5, $989
6th: Randy Paquette, Sarasota, Fla., five bass, 14-3, $503
7th: Joseph Solenski, West Palm Beach, Fla., five bass, 14-0, $457
8th: Nik Kayler, Apopka, Fla., five bass, 13-9, $412
9th: Loel Brandstrom, Jensen Beach, Fla., two bass, 12-8, $366
10th: William Carpenella, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., five bass, 12-4, $320
Tucker caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division, a fish weighing 9 pounds, 8 ounces and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $440.
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 13-15 Regional Championship on Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Georgia. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.