Amid a big-time leaderboard shakeup at the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event presented by Power-Pole on Lake Okeechobee, day-one leader Val Osinski of Pompano Beach, Fla., held tight with a 19-pound bag that boosted his two-day total to 45 pounds, 4 ounces.
Strong winds impacted much of the field in one way or another, and only four anglers managed to land more than 20 pounds of bass. Yet, Osinski made the right adjustments and extended his lead to nearly 6 pounds.
Osinski banked on the same area that produced for him on the first day, but today he caught his fish throughout the day instead of in a single flurry.
“The fishing was a whole lot tougher out there today,” says Osinski. “I really scrambled. I was the first boat at my main area, but between boats and wind direction it really had them discombobulated.”
The Gambler Lures owner fished a few other similar areas throughout the day to maintain his first-place position.
“I culled one with a 3-pounder, and that really clued me in on what to do,” Osinski says. “I swapped to a Gambler Lures Burner Craw and went to a heavier weight. That bait has more action than the Gambler Why Not that I was fishing, and I fished it faster and got more of a reaction bite. After that I culled out three fish and caught a 7-pounder.”
With even stronger winds forecast for Saturday, Osinski seems prepared. He’s been fishing the south end of Okeechobee but practiced at the north end in case a strong wind ruins his best area. He believes he has some additional fish located up north that could carry him to a wire-to-wire victory.
2nd place – Brandon Medlock – 39 pounds, 5 ounces
Brandon Medlock of Lake Placid, Fla., made the biggest move of the day after catching the heaviest bag of the tournament for a whopping 26 pounds, 15 ounces. He jumped from 74th place all the way into second and is nearly averaging the 20 pounds per day that many predicted would be needed to win.
After an abbreviated practice, Medlock chose to use day one as another practice day, which seems to have been a wise choice. He only fished his primary area for a little more than an hour on the first day and spent almost all of day two there. Medlock plans to repeat his day-two formula tomorrow.
“I’m flipping a Medlock Double Guard Flipping Jig in pencil reeds,” he says. “I probably culled five times and lost six big ones. I don’t know if my fish are spawning or just coming in because the water is too deep for me to see. I don’t know what I’ll have for tomorrow, but I’m going to go in there and see.”
3rd place – Mark Daniels Jr. – 38 pounds, 11 ounces
California transplant Mark Daniels Jr., currently residing in Tuskegee, Ala., also hammered them on day two, bringing 25 pounds, 15 ounces across the stage.
“I fished the same exact area I fished on day one,” says Daniels. “I got one big bite yesterday, and I got all big ones today. I didn’t change my technique or presentation at all. I think the fish are just moving around a lot. The wind blew hard in there today, and I think that got them set up so I could pick a few off.”
Daniels says he is fishing an expansive spawning flat with hydrilla, eelgrass and peppergrass mixed in with pockets of hard bottom. He is catching them on a Texas-rigged 6-inch black-and-blue YUM Dinger fished slowly on the bottom.
“There are a lot of other guys coming through my area with ChatterBaits and swim jigs, but they aren’t catching big ones like I am,” Daniels reveals. “You have to be fishing slow and on the bottom to get them to bite.”
4th place – Trevor Fitzgerald – 36 pounds, 14 ounces
Trevor Fitzgerald fell from second to fourth today largely because of the wind. The Belleview, Fla., pro spent the better part of Friday morning in his day-one areas with no luck – though the wind wasn’t fierce, it was enough to impact his fishing. After making a move to some protected mats around noon, he quickly salvaged his day.
“I never even practiced where I caught them today,” says Fitzgerald. “I just had to find some place out of the wind. I don’t know what I’m going to do tomorrow. My stuff up north got trashed today, and I might not even be able to get to it tomorrow.”
Fitzgerald flipped two different colors of the Gambler Lures BB Cricket for his fish today.
5th place – Hensley Powell – 35 pounds, 11 ounces
Consistency is Hensley Powell’s recipe for success this week. The Whitwell, Tenn., pro finished day one in seventh place (19 pounds, 13 ounces) and moved up two spots on day two with 15-14.
“I’m on some really big fish, but the wind has killed me,” says Powell. “I lost two big fish yesterday, and I didn’t fish my main area the whole time today because I didn’t think it would muddy up and it did.
“I haven’t checked the forecasted wind direction, but if it changes and the water clears up, I will be able to get back on them,” he adds. “I probably caught 40 fish yesterday and 25 today. I just know I can catch more than 20 pounds if my area clears up.”
The Rest of the Top 10 Pros
6th place – Joe Holland – 35 pounds, 10 ounces
7th place – Tyler Suddarth – 32 pounds, 13 ounces
8th place – Tim Frederick – 32 pounds, 12 ounces
9th place – Scott Martin – 32 pounds, 6 ounces
10th place – Brandon McMillan – 32 pounds, 6 ounces
Beebe Falters, Still Top Co-angler
Daniel Beebe of Niota, Tenn., retained his lead in the co-angler division with four bass that weighed 5 pounds, 4 ounces. Despite faltering somewhat compared to his day-one weight of 22-5, Beebe has a 1-pound, 10-ounce cushion ahead of second-place co-angler Tim Fox.
“It just fished totally different for me today,” says Beebe. “We pretty much stayed in one area today, and we just weren’t on any big fish. For tomorrow, I just need to be as confident as I can be – that’s all I can do. ”
Beebe caught his day-two fish on a Yamamoto Senko.
The Rest of the Top 10 Co-anglers
2nd place – Tim Fox – 25 pounds, 15 ounces
3rd place – Moses Wilson – 24 pounds, 11 ounces
4th place – Richard Predmore – 24 pounds, 11 ounces
5th place – Ken Crumpler – 24 pounds, 2 ounces
6th place – Johnny Nguyen – 24 pounds, 2 ounces
7th place – Douglas Conklin – 24 pounds, 1 ounce
8th place – Theron (Cody) Pinchin – 23 pounds, 1 ounce
9th place – Dennis Sprayberry – 22 pounds, 15 ounces
10th place – Blaine Bucy – 22 pounds, 10 ounces
Pro: Robert Kerber – 9 pounds, 2 ounces
Co-angler: Steven Schoffstall – 9 pounds, 13 ounces
For full results from day one, click here.
On Saturday, the top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will fish the tournament's final round, with the winner in each division determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.
Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina and Resort
920 East Del Monte Avenue
Clewiston, FL 33440
Day 3 – Walmart 2484, 1005 W Sugarland Hwy., Clewiston, FL 33440