Alex Terescenko of West Palm Beach, Florida, brought five bass to the scale weighing 20 pounds, 8 ounces, Saturday to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Gator Division tournament on Lake Okeechobee presented by Navionics. For his win, Terescenko pocketed $3,792.
“The lake has dropped 6 inches in the past week, so I was pretty much in open water casting to the outside grass line on the north end near the Tin House area. The cleaner water drew me to the area,” says Terescenko, who notched his first career win in FLW competition. “I fished a 60-yard stretch. During practice I fished through a lot of water, and the rule of thumb on the lake is finding where the dirtier water meets the clean water, and that stretch was where it happened.”
Terescenko caught his fish on a Texas-rigged, Ice Breaker-colored Gambler Lures Big EZ swimbait on a 5/0 Gamakatsu SuperLine EWG Offset Hook and Gambler Lures Hollow Point. He also used a Texas-rigged, Gold Rush-colored Gambler EZ Vibez Swimbait on the same Gamakatsu hook, but 4/0-sized, and a Hawgtech 3/8-ounce tungsten weight with a black and blue-colored punch skirt. He adds that he caught all of his fish on a custom MHX MB904 rod.
“The first thing in the morning I heard fish busting on top eating shad, so I ran the Big EZ over the top of the grass,” says Terescenko. “After they stopped showing on top, I switched to the Vibez swimmer and slow-rolled it just below the surface. I prefer this over a swim jig in heavier grass because the swimbait is Texas-rigged, making it more weedless than a swim jig. Also, the punch skirt from Gambler gives the same flair effect of a swim jig.”
At 11 a.m., Terescenko let the area rest. He ran to some spots that he’d had some success at recently, but found them to be unproductive and ended up returning. In all, the Florida boater caught about 12 keepers throughout the tournament.
The top 10 boaters:
1st: Alex Terescenko, West Palm Beach, Fla., five bass, 20-8, $3,792
2nd: David Anderson, Fort Myers, Fla., five bass, 19-1, $1,796
3rd: John Adkinson, Winter Haven, Fla., five bass, 18-15, $1,301
4th: Clay Batson, Bradenton, Fla., five bass, 18-9, $838
5th: Eric Johnson, Millis, Mass., five bass, 18-0, $718
6th: Chris McBeath, Bradenton, Fla., five bass, 17-13, $629
6th: Brett Cannon, Parkland, Fla., five bass, 17-13, $629
8th: Bradley MacQueen, West Palm Beach, Fla., five bass, 17-7, $789
9th: Lionel Botha, Malabar, Fla., five bass, 17-4, $449
9th: Nicholas Hoinig, Port St. Lucie, Fla., five bass, 17-4, $449
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Dean Meckes of Clayton, New York, caught a 7-pound, 11-ounce bass – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $460.
Schroeder wins co-angler title
Chad Schroeder of Zephyrhills, Florida, won the Co-angler Division and $2,176 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 18 pounds, 9 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers:
1st: Chad Schroeder, Zephyrhills, Fla., five bass, 18-9, $2,176
2nd: Ernie Johnson, Okeechobee, Fla., four bass, 15-8, $1,098
3rd: Shannon Pitts, Vero Beach, Fla., five bass, 14-15, $648
4th: Brad Ballard, Winona, Minn., five bass, 14-9, $419
5th: Dana Bass, Miami, Fla., five bass, 14-7, $359
6th: Shannon Bryson, Merritt Island, Fla., three bass, 13-5, $314
6th: William House, Davie, Fla., five bass, 13-5, $314
8th: Jeff Peterson, Lake Worth, Fla., five bass, 12-14, $269
9th: Donald Frank, Fridley, Minn., five bass, 12-9, $239
10th: Cody Farnham, Port St Lucie, Fla., five bass, 12-8, $199
10th: Jason Nantz, Valrico, Fla., five bass, 12-8, $199
Schroeder also caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 9 pounds even. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $230.
The tournament was hosted by the Okeechobee County Tourist & Development Council.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 10-12 BFL Regional Championship on Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Georgia. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower outboard.
The 2019 BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments where they are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American. The 2019 BFL All-American will be held May 30-June 1 at the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland, and is hosted by the Charles County Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism and the Commissioners of Charles County. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.