OKEECHOBEE, Fla. – Jessie Mizell of Sarasota, Florida, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Gator Division event on Lake Okeechobee Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 30 pounds, 4 ounces. For his win, Mizell took home $5,122.
“I began the day at my frogging hole and caught two 6-pounders,” said Mizell, who also won a Gator Division event held on Lake Okeechobee last month, for a total of three career-wins. “That’s where I caught them when I won last month, but I hadn’t been back there since.”
Mizell said his hole was a 100- by 100-yard cove on the North Shore of the lake. He said it protected bass from the wind and had a good mix of lilypads and hydrilla.
“I was actually targeting the pad clumps,” said Mizell. “I used the same frog the entire day to catch my limit.”
Mizell said his frog was a natural-colored Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Poppin’ 60. Around 9:30 a.m., Mizell said he originally planned on burning through some nearby schooling fish to fill out the remainder of his limit, but was unable to get anything going by 11 a.m.
“When my original plan failed, I went with Plan B and it worked,” said Mizell. “I returned to the frogging hole, and within five casts I put an 8-pound, 10-ounce bass in the boat. I had to sit down and take a drink of water because I was shaking like a leaf. It was a giant.”
The Florida stalwart said he added an additional 4- and 5-pounder to his livewell within another 20 casts.
“My 13 Fishing Envy Black Rod had the backbone I needed to pull them out of that cover,” said Mizell. “Without it, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to boat-flip them.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Jessie Mizell, Sarasota, Fla., five bass, 30-4, $5,122
2nd: Fred George, Okeechobee, Fla., five bass, 27-9, $2,236
3rd: Allen Walls, Loxahatchee, Fla., five bass, 27-3, $1,492
4th: Ronald Yentz, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., five bass, 26-7, $1,043
5th: Nicholas Hoinig, Delray Beach, Fla., five bass, 21-15, $1,094
6th: Brianne McMillan, Belle Glade, Fla., five bass, 18-13, $820
7th: Charles Bass, Felda, Fla., five bass, 18-5, $845
8th: Steve Broughton, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., five bass, 17-9, $671
9th: Donny Bass, Naples, Fla., five bass, 17-8, $596
10th: Jared McMillan, Belle Glade, Fla., five bass, 17-7, $796
10th: Doug Garner, Port St. Lucie, Fla., five bass, 17-7, $496
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Mizell’s 8-pound, 10-ounce largemouth – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – also earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $650.
Christopher Jerdan of Cape Coral, Florida, won $2,561 and the Co-angler Division title Saturday after weighing five bass totaling 26 pounds even.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Christopher Jerdan, Cape Coral, Fla., five bass, 26-0, $2,561
2nd: Jay Trudel, Boca Raton, Fla., five bass, 17-10, $1,118
3rd: Shawn York, Sarasota, Fla., five bass, 16-10, $845
4th: Grant Lasseter, Plantation, Fla., five bass, 15-10, $522
5th: Martin Gainsbrugh, Miami, Fla., five bass, 15-1, $447
6th: Jarrod Stroud, Orlando, Fla., five bass, 14-15, $410
7th: David DiMauro, Longwood, Fla., five bass, 14-13, $373
8th: Edward Wertepny Sr., Tampa, Fla., three bass, 14-12, $335
9th: James Brown, Margate, Fla., five bass, 14-6, $298
10th: Mike Morse, Plant City, Fla., five bass, 14-1, $261
Jerdan also caught the biggest bass among Co-angler Division anglers, a lunker bass weighing 8 pounds, 14 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $325.
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. 19-21 BFL Regional Championship on Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.
The 2017 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. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.
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.
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