CLEWISTON, Fla. – 19-year-old Taylor Ashley of Warrior, Alabama, fishing in his first ever Costa FLW Series event, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 6 ounces, Saturday to claim top honors at the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division opener on Lake Okeechobee presented by Power-Pole. Ashley’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 68 pounds, 12 ounces, was enough to earn him the win by a 7-pound, 10-ounce margin and a check for $60,200.
“I’m feeling pretty great right now,” said Ashley, who became the third-youngest boater to ever win an FLW Series event. “All of my fish came from one area of the lake, on the south end. It wasn’t my original plan to fish there but the adjustment ended up being the biggest of the week.”
Ashley said his area – which spanned between 500 and 600 yards – was littered with reeds and lilypads. He said he caught 95 percent of his bass throughout the week on a 3/8-ounce Dirty Jigs No-Jack Swimjig.
“I swam it along the edges of the reeds and cast it as far as I could in the pads,” said Ashley. “Everybody that was watching me fish said I was doing something called the “Alabama Shake”, which means that I was shaking the lure while swimming it. I threw it in both green-pumpkin and white colors, but most of my big bites came on the white.”
Ashley’s heaviest five-bass limit weighed in at 25 pounds, 6 ounces, on Friday. He noted that those five fish included his most crucial catch of the week.
“I hooked a largemouth in the lilypads and the bait popped out of her mouth just as my co-angler dipped the net under to grab it,” said Ashley. “She was buried under a bunch of pads in the net and ended up being a 7-pounder. That definitely was my anchor for the tournament.”
The top 10 pros on Lake Okeechobee were:
1st: Taylor Ashley, Warrior, Ala., 15 bass, 68-12, $60,200
2nd: Joshua Weaver, Macon, Ga., 15 bass, 61-2, $25,900
3rd: Derek Yasinski, Senoia, Ga., 15 bass, 61-1, $17,000
4th: Gary Milicevic, Labelle, Fla., 15 bass, 57-12, $15,000
5th: Scott Byrd, Ocklawaha, Fla., 15 bass, 52-5, $14,000
6th: Robert Beatty, Clermont, Fla., 15 bass, 51-4, $10,500
7th: Brian Holder, Denver, N.C., 15 bass, 49-3, $9,300
8th: Buddy Gross, Chickamauga, Ga., 15 bass, 45-2, $8,000
9th: Bill Tervin, Pocola, Okla., 15 bass, 44-14, $7,000
10th: Ron Nelson, Berrien Springs, Mich., 12 bass, 44-1, $5,000
A complete list of results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Holder caught a big largemouth weighing 10-pounds, 8-ounces Thursday – the biggest bass of the tournament in the Pro Division. For his catch, Holder earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $300.
Howard Poitevint of Bainbridge, Georgia, won the Co-angler Division and $34,700, including a Ranger Z175 with a 90-horsepower Evinrude outboard motor. Poitevint earned his win with a three-day total catch of 15 bass weighing 46 pounds, 13 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers on Lake Okeechobee were:
1st: Howard Poitevint, Bainbridge, Ga., 15 bass, 46-13, $29,700 + $5,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: Scott Bern, San Rafael, Calif., 11 bass, 43-9, $7,550
3rd: Dean Harcourt, Sebastian, Fla., 15 bass, 41-3, $6,000
4th: John Trudel, Lighthouse Point, Fla., 15 bass, 40-14, $4,500
5th: Eulon Lee Jr., Eclectic, Ala., 14 bass, 38-8, $4,000
6th: Israel Gibson, Spruce Pine, N.C., 15 bass, 37-13, $3,500
7th: Malcom Thiel, Carriere, Miss., 14 bass, 37-3, $3,000
8th: Casey O'Donnell, Scottsboro, Ala., 15 bass, 34-0, $2,250
9th: Mark Whitman, Elon, N.C., 13 bass, 33-0, $1,700
10th: Wayne Sprayberry, Williston, Fla., 12 bass, 32-2, $1,650
Alonzo Evans of Sebring, Florida, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Co-angler Division Thursday, a largemouth weighing 10 pounds, 5 ounces that earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $200.
The Costa FLW Series on Lake Okeechobee was hosted by Roland & Mary Ann Martin's Marina & Resort and the Hendry County Tourism Development Council. It was the first Southeastern Division tournament of 2017. The next Costa FLW Series tournament will be the Western Division opener, held Feb. 9-11, on Lake Havasu in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. For a complete schedule, visit FLWFishing.com.
The Costa FLW Series consists of five U.S. divisions – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments with competitors vying for valuable points that could earn them the opportunity to fish in the Costa FLW Series Championship. The 2017 Costa FLW Series Championship is being held Nov. 2-4 on Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tennessee.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Costa FLW Series on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 274 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information visit FLWFishing.com and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat: @FLWFishing.
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