1:55 Wrapping up the blog
We’ll have a few more updates trickle in over the next half hour, but it’s time for us to prep for weigh-in. Come on down to the marina if you can to see some big bass, and if you can’t you can watch it go down on flwfishing.com. It all starts at 3 p.m. ET and today we’ll cut the field to 30 for Saturday and crown a co-angler champion.
1:45 Cory J update
Though Cory Johnston caught the fish of the day, he doesn’t have nearly as much as his brother. Cory says he’s sitting on about 16 pounds, which will be plenty for the cut but probably not the headline bag of the day.
1:40 Cox and Thrift
John Cox just now caught his fifth fish. He’s got a 6-pounder, but the rest of his limit is a bit lacking. Bryan Thrift is having another bad day – if he can win Angler of the Year after this it’ll be one heck of a comeback.
1:38 Meyer on pace again, Johnston cruising
Cody Meyer is catching again and has 15+ in the boat. Chris Johnston is fixing to weigh a sack – he’s smiling like all get out and probably has 24+.
1:14 Gussy, The General and Dunkin
Jeff Gustafson got off to a nice start on day one, but he’s only got three in the boat at the moment. Larry Nixon seems to be on track to replicate his day one effort with about 10 pounds in the boat. Luke Dunkin is doing alright too, with a 4-pounder, a 3-pounder and three skippers.
12:55 Middling day for Rose
Mark Rose had a killer start, but today has been a little slower. He’s got a limit in the boat for about 14 pounds now, which is plenty good to stay in the cut, but likely won’t threaten for the lead as is. Of course, there’s a lot of time left, and he’s around ‘em.
12:53 Frederick had dropped the hammer
Tim Frederick caught 16 and change on day one, and he says he’s got 19 or 20 pounds in the boat today. That’ll lock him into the top 30 cut, but it’s also going to put him perilously close to the top 10 and within striking distance of almost anything he wants come the weekend.
12:35 Mosley with another good day
Brandon Mosley is going to make the cut for the first time in his FLW Tour career. The Oklahoma pro had an abysmal rookie campaign, but with a 5-pounder and a 3-pounder and three littles in the box it looks like he’s got enough to fish on Saturday. Apparently his secret bait is still paying off.
12:20 Martin lands a big one, condition/technique report
We found Scott Martin over near the Monkey Box and he just put a big one in the boat that probably weighed around 6 pounds. Shortly thereafter he caught a small one to cull and then added another. He says he's got another good one as well, and figures he has aobut 16 pounds or so in the 'well.
It’s still very windy, but the sun is beginning to pop out more regularly on the north end. The water temperate is about 63 degrees or a tick higher in places. Though the water the Johnstons are in has dirtied up a lot, there is some nice clear water to be found up north. As a whole, there seem to be a lot more pros casting and winding today as opposed to flipping.
12:16 Schmitt and Rose in the distance
Bryan Schmitt and Mark Rose both just culled. Rose put a 6-pounder in the box, and Schmitt’s catch looked to be around 3 pounds. Neither of them have the weight they caught on day one, but it looks like they’re steadily putting together quality days.
11:44 LeHew and Atkins are at it
Shane “Big Fish” LeHew has culled again and Justin Atkins just popped a 4-pounder in the boat. Neither of them is really on track to make the cut, but they could certainly be headed toward checks with a few more bites.
11:38 Culling and conditions
Chris Johnston just idled up into the wind to start a new drift and immediately caught and culled by a bit, but the conditions where they’re fishing are not pretty. It’s been windy all morning, but muddy water is starting to be created or seep into the area and it doesn’t look pretty. We’ll see if it stays productive or if it’s time for an adjustment.
11:30 Becker with a limit
Rookie pro Matt Becker started the day in 22nd with 16-8, and he’s got a limit for about 10-pounds or so in the boat now. One or two more good bites and he’ll make the first cut of his FLW Tour career.
11:20 CUP CHAMP ALERT
Justin Atkins had a pretty rough day one, but he’s doing better today. So far he’s got a 5-pounder in the ‘well, has broken off a good one and managed four other small keepers. Nearby, Shane LeHew has a limit with a 5-pounder as well, and he's got over 10 pounds at the moment. Both young pros are going to work with swim jigs.
11:00 Johnston estimates
It’s hard to get a good weight estimate because of the wind and other anglers, but both Johnston brothers are cooking with gas. Cory says he’s got a bag in the teens, and Chris thinks he has over 20 pounds. Cory essentially has one giant and four decent fish, and Chris has three that range from 5 to 7 pounds plus a few keepers. It’s a long tournament, but it looks like Team Canada is going to rock it.
10:54 Small limits down south
Scott Canterbury and Brandon McMillan each have small limits in the boat now.
10:50 Conditions up north
Though the wind is ripping, the primary area where a lot of yesterday’s weight came from is still in pretty good shape. That’s good news for most of the leaders (especially so if you’re from Canada apparently), and it means that we’re likely to see a few more really big bags today.
Most of the pros are fishing very slowly, essentially drifting and Power-Poleing their way through hydrilla flats with the wind and then cranking up to do it again. It’s pretty boring until something happens, but when the bites come there seems to be a really good shot at a big one.
10:44 Team Canada is rocking
Not to be outdone by Cory, Chris Johnston just caught a 6-pounder and culled out a decent fish. No word yet, but he’s likely got a good bag going as well. Meanwhile, Cory caught another keeper and culled up by a few ounces.
10:30 Rose has five
Mark Rose has a limit for about 6 pounds (so he says), and we believe that Bryan Schmitt has finished a small limit as well.
10:24 Knight and some hope
Brad Knight reports “three little itty bitty ones” to start his day down south. Up north, we’re minutes away from some firm and fresh updates on Mark Rose and Bryan Schmitt.
10:13 Sprague limits
Jeff Sprague just checked in with five small keepers. A couple good bites will put him in the cut and now he’s got all day to get ‘em.
10:03 Johnston with a giant
Cory Johnston just boated a giant for either his fourth or fifth keeper. By giant, we’re talking 7+ pounds, a true Okeechobee game changer. It looks like he’s locked in to the cut now, and depending on how things go he could be looking for a shot at the win come Sunday.
9:53 Morgenthaler with five
Chad Morgenthaler is flipping mats down south and just put his fifth in the boat a few seconds ago. None of them are big, but every bit counts when you’re looking to make the cut.
9:48 Upshaw update
Andrew Upshaw has three so far with one good one. He only weighed 9 pounds on day one, so he’s got some ground to make up for sure.
9:40 Four for JTK
JT Kenney just boxed up a keeper and he’s got four total now. Nearby, Shawn Murphy loaded up a good fish a minute ago and Andrew Upshaw just put a good one in a bit behind Bryan Schmitt.
9:33 Kendrick has two
Jay Kendrick has started off with two in the boat. He’s got a bit under 4 pounds total for his first two.
9:25 Schmitt puts one in the box
Bryan Schmitt is fishing more back in the grass than out in the hydrilla, and he just put a micro-keeper in the boat. He's got three total now and they're all quite small.
9:20 Another for Cory
Cory Johnston isn’t loading the boat with size, but he’s got three in relatively short order. With most of the other leaders (Bryan Schmitt included) still fishless that’s a decent start for sure.
9:10 Southern updates
Down south Jay Yelas has started well with a 3-pounder and Jim Moulton has three in the box for about 5 pounds.
9:03 Preuett, Kenney, Cory J
Brett Preuett is off to a decent start with a 2-pounder in the box. He’s sitting in 16th with 17 pounds, so another solid day should see him fishing day three. JT Kenney is also on the board with a pair and Cory Johnston just caught a 2-pounder to add to his box.
8:58 Canada update
Cory Johnston has one keeper in the box to start off, and Chris still has an empty livewell. The wind is really rolling up north, and that figures to make Power-Poles key and the fishing pretty difficult.
8:44 Setzer off to the usual start
Braxton Setzer has four little ones in the box and is fishing down south. We’ll see a lot of little ones again today, but ideally we’ll mix in some bigger ones pretty soon too.
8:38 Britt with a crappie, piles around Harney Pond
Aaron Britt has started his day off with a monster crappie – no word on if he’s got anything else. Britt is mixed in up by Harney Pond, and JT Kenney and the Johnston brothers are all fishing within sight of him.
8:20 Brasher on the board
Christopher Brasher was one of the first top guys to stop to fish, and he’s already boxed up a keeper bass. Of course, he’s looking for more than keepers today.
8:15 Heading up north
Many of the top anglers did work up north in the Harney Pond area on day one, and they’re headed back there this morning for the most part. Christopher Brasher has started right where he left off, but others are headed off farther to Tin House Bay and the like.
JT Kenney in action on day one
8:00 A note on the weather
As was the case on day one, anglers are not allowed to run across the main lake because of the wind, but overall the weather seems nicer. Instead of a chilling breeze at takeoff, a sweatshirt and jeans were more than sufficient to stay warm, and it feels like the day will be warmer across the board. Though it’s a bit less sunny, it seems like the kind of day that could keep big females moving toward the shallows with a little luck.
7:30 Day two is underway
Boy howdy! Day one of the FLW Tour presented by Evinrude on Lake Okeechobee was a smashfest, with seemingly dozens of healthy 6-pounders crossing the stage and a total of 10 bags at or beyond the 20-pound mark hitting the scale. Leading the way, Bryan Schmitt popped 24-11 for a slim edge over Mark Rose who checked in with 24 pounds even. Between them, the erstwhile pros earned more than $441,000 on Tour last year and accounted for three wins – though they have some stiff competition in the rearview it could be a heavyweight battle the rest of the way.
The presence of hydrilla seemed to be the key to many of the big fish on day one, but all the usual Okeechobee patterns produced as well. We’ll dial down into some patterns a little more today, but there’s no guarantee they’ll be the same as day one.
Today’s changing factor is the wind. It’s strengthening and swinging around to the east. That eastward movement has many of the top pros concerned, and it could drastically alter some game plans if the wind is too much or the water is too dirty where anglers caught them on day one. Some anglers will probably take that into account and make different decisions right off the bat, but others will stick it out on their main stuff for at least a little before beginning to change things up.
Today we crown a co-angler winner and cut to the top 30 pros for the weekend and FLW Live. Josh Douglas is currently the first man out with 15-5 to his credit on day one. It’s probably going to take a touch under a 15-pound average to make the weekend, but anyone who can hold serve in the mid-teen range should have a good shot. For a run at the lead, it’ll probably take another 20-pound bag – enough pros whacked ‘em on day one that someone is sure to follow up with another dandy day.
Temperature at takeoff: 61 degrees
Forecast high: 72 degrees
Sky: mostly sunny
Precipitation: 10 percent chance of rain
Wind: east at 17 to 19 mph
Folgers Morning Takeoff: 7:30 a.m. ET at Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina and Resort, 920 East Del Monte Ave., Clewiston, Fla.
Weigh-in: Thursday and Friday at 3 p.m. ET at Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina and 4 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday at Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina
FLW Expo: 12 to 4 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday at Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina
FLW Live: Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. ET to 12:30 p.m. ET