Osinski Leads Tough Day One - Major League Fishing

Osinski Leads Tough Day One

Image for Osinski Leads Tough Day One
Tournament leader Val Osinski experienced a flurry of activity late this morning and capitalized for a 26-pound limit. Photo by Curtis Niedermier. Angler: Val Osinski.
January 22, 2015 • Jody White • Archives

Day one of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Lake Okeechobee saw perfect weather and produced some puzzling results. Local ace Val Osinski took the lead in the tournament, which is presented by Power-Pole, with an even 26 pounds, the best of only six limits that weighed more than 20 pounds. On a day that saw both McMillan brothers finish below 40th place and a ton of small fish brought in, Osinski managed to hammer out a more than respectable weight.

“It didn’t seem like I hammered them, but I caught some good fish,” says Osinski, the owner of Gambler Lures. “I got on one good stretch with fish coming in, and I culled everything I had in the boat in about 45 minutes.”

Osinski fished two spots before arriving at the area that held his big bag, and then spent the majority of the day there. Despite the temptation to look for off-the-wall places to cope with the 250-boat field, he felt that sticking with areas that had a track record of productivity was important.

“I was basically just flipping isolated reeds with a Gambler Lures Why Not,” Osinski says. “I’m not sure I can do it again tomorrow. I know a lot of other guys saw me catch those fish, and Joe Holland [the third-place pro] is in the area too, though he’s not fishing the exact same stuff. If we can find a way to split up those fish up and I have some space to work with I think I could do it again tomorrow.”


Trevor Fitzgerald is among a group of five Floridians who currently hold the top six spots on day one at Lake Okeechobee. He caught 24-1.2nd place – Trevor Fitzgerald – 24 pounds, 1 ounce

Adding on to a local-dominated top six was Belleview, Fla., pro Trevor Fitzgerald, who held the lead for under a minute before Osinski snatched it away. Fitzgerald’s day started slowly, but he managed to put together a solid limit before landing much of his bag later in the afternoon.

“I’m flipping mats and stuff like that,” Fitzgerald says. “When the sun gets up in the middle of the day it positions them where I need them. They’re just too scattered in the morning.”

Despite strong winds forecast for tomorrow, Fitzgerald says he has a number of protected areas to fish and isn’t too concerned about the change in conditions. Though he was understandably reticent about his exact presentations, he seemed confident in his ability to generate bites when others might not.


All the way from Maine, Joe Holland traded snow and ice for this 22-pound, 3-ounce limit of Florida hawgs. He's currently in third place.3rd place – Joe Holland – 22 pounds, 3 ounces

One of the few pros from the early flights to bring in a big bag, Jefferson, Maine, pro Joe Holland jumped out to a big lead early and held it for most of the weigh-in.

“This lake has been hot for months now, and it has been getting pounded,” says Holland. “A lot of the weeds look like they have been in a barbershop because of how many trolling motors have been over them, and I’m just looking for places that don’t have that effect.”

Holland says that after catching a small limit by fishing moving baits in the morning, he put his head down and flipped tight cover with a Gambler Lures Burner Craw, the same bait with a punch skirt and a Gambler Lures Why Not.


He won the inaugural Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee back in 1996, and Thursday Mike Surman put himself into position for a chance at another Big O victory. He's in fourth place with 20-12.4th place – Mike Surman – 20 pounds, 12 ounces

Mike Surman won the very first Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee 20 years ago, and he put himself in great position to be in the running for a Rayovac FLW Series win this week.

“Fishing was a lot tougher than I thought it would be,” the Florida pro says. “The weather was absolutely gorgeous. It can be tough when it slicks off, but it shouldn’t have been this tough.

“I feel confident for tomorrow, but it’s going to take a really good bag of fish to make the cut for day three. I would really like a 25-pound bag, and this lake has a lot of them, but they can be awfully hard to come by.”

Surman was shy about how he caught them, but he did have some slightly unusual timing, catching all but one of his big fish in the morning around 10 o’clock.


He's a legend, and he helped put Lake Okeechobee on the map. Now Roland Martin is within striking distance of the lead at the 2015 Rayovac FLW Series opener.5th place – Roland Martin – 20 pounds, 10 ounces

Legendary angler Roland Martin edged out his son, Scott, for fifth place and appears to be in great position for one of his highest finishes with FLW in a long while.

Martin reported catching a small limit early in the north end of the lake, but not upgrading substantially until about noon.

“I had some schooling areas that I really thought I would have better luck with,” he says. “I caught a limit, but they weren’t the size I thought they would be. Then I started pitching and flipping and went from there.”

Martin also seems to be fortunate in that he has his water to himself – a blessing not often found on Okeechobee.


Rest of the Top 10 Pros

6th place – Scott Martin – 19-14

7th place –  Hensley Powell – 19-13

8th place – Robert Knobb – 18-15

9th place – Ron Nelson – 18-4

10th place – Tim Frederick – 18-2


He had to wait for almost 500 other anglers to cross the stage before him, but Daniel Beebe's wait was worth it. The Niota, Tenn., co-angler took the early lead with a 22-5 limit.Beebe Takes Commanding Co-angler Lead

Daniel Beebe lit up the scales late in the day with an impressive 22 pounds, 5 ounces of bass to take more than a 5-pound lead over his closest competitor in the co-angler competition.

“I missed five of my first seven bites, but I didn’t get discouraged,” Beebe says. “Then we got into a school of them, and I caught all my fish in about an hour and a half. It was one after another. We were right off the main lake, and I caught about 15 fish. I fished here last year in the Rayovac and had about 2 1/2 pounds, so this is some great redemption.”

Beebe says that he ended up sharing the key bait with his pro and opted (probably wisely) to keep it a secret for now.


Rest of the Top 10 Co-Anglers

2nd place – Moses Wilson – 16-12

3rd place – Ken Crumpler – 16-2

4th place – Theron (Cody) Pinchin – 14-8

5th place – Michael Padgett – 13-9

6th place – Jody Moore – 13-7

7th place – Frelon Moore – 13-6

8th place – Douglas Conklin – 13-3

9th place – Donnie Dodd – 13-2

10th place – Johnny Nguyen – 13-1


Big Bass

Pro: Ryan Bowman – 9 pounds, 5 ounces

Co-angler: Theron (Cody) Pinchin – 7 pounds, 4 ounces


Complete Results

For complete results, click here.

Check out all the photos from day one. 

To see Clent Davis and Barry Wilson fishing on day one, click here




All 250 boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.


Takeoff Time:

7 a.m.


Takeoff Location:

Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina and Resort

920 East Del Monte Avenue

Clewiston, FL 33440


Weigh-In Time:

Days 1 and 2 – 3 p.m.

Day 3 – 4 p.m.


Weigh-In Location:

Days 1 and 2 – Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina and Resort

Day 3 – Walmart 2484, 1005 W Sugarland Hwy., Clewiston, FL 33440