Medlock Ahead on Okeechobee - Major League Fishing

Medlock Ahead on Okeechobee

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Brandon Medlock Photo by Rob Matsuura. Angler: Brandon Medlock.
Under 4 pounds separates the top 10 going into the final day
March 13, 2020 • Jody White   • Toyota Series

When you think of Lake Okeechobee anglers, there’s a pretty good chance someone with the last name McMillan is top of mind. From there, it doesn’t take much to get to Brandon Medlock. Rocketing up from 43rd place on day one, Brandon Medlock caught 21 pounds, 7 ounces to get up to a 35-0 total for the lead going into the final day of the Toyota Series Southern Division event on Okeechobee. 

Day one story

Complete results

Medlock already has two FLW Series wins to his name on Okeechobee – January 2011 and 2012 – another day of good fishing could give him his third. 

Despite weather that seems excellent, the fishing hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. It might be because the water temperature has gotten over 80 degrees the last two afternoons, or it might be that the fish are simply scattered around in too many stages of the spawn for anyone to pinpoint more than a big one or two in a day. Whatever the reason, it’s produced an incredibly tight top 10, without the typical huge Okeechobee bag or two to separate things out. 

For Medlock getting off to an early start has been key, just like he did on day one. 

“I caught a limit yesterday in about 20 minutes and I stayed there for an hour and a half. I stayed there a little longer today to get a bigger bite, but it didn’t happen,” says Medlock. “I don’t know if the shad are spawning, because I don’t see the shad doing anything. But the bass were schooling on the shad there yesterday, but today they weren’t schooling and there weren’t any birds there, but we still caught some fish, just no good ones.”

After getting a limit, Medlock culled three times flipping reeds with a ¾-ounce Medlock Double Guard Flipping Jig. 

“I just went running, looking for good ones, and I landed on some,” says Medlock. “The weather has been so bad for the past two weeks that there’s a lot of places they could be pulling in to. Yesterday I ran a lot of the places I thought they should be, and I didn’t catch any big bites. I have more places I need to look at tomorrow.” 

With years of history and a ton of time on Okeechobee under his belt, Medlock certainly has plenty of ideas on where to run his pattern. If he can run into a few more big bites tomorrow, he could be a champion again. 

 

Darrell Davis

2. Darrell Davis – Dover, Fla. – 34-11 (10)

Darrell Davis caught one giant today, and it went a long way, buoying his limit up to 15-9 and moving him up one spot to second place. 

“Today was slow, the fish that I had found that were spawners, they were gone this morning,” says Davis. “So, I fished all new water today. I found some fish later today that were biting, not spawning, so I’m kinda optimistic about that. 

“I lost a big one in there – it’s real thick stuff and it’s hard to get them out. I don’t know that I’m going to start there, because you’re 50/50 on getting them in the boat and I don’t want to mess around and not have a limit. But, I’m going to go back in there and try to get a big bite tomorrow.”

Winding around up shallow in the morning, Davis says he went a little deeper and flipped in the afternoon. If his pattern holds up and he has a high-percentage day, he might have a shot to pull off something special. 

 

Ronnie Buck

3. Ronnie Buck – Miami, Fla. – 34-7 (10)

Of the entire top 10, Ronnie Buck may have the most potential for day three, and being less than a pound back puts him right in the hunt. 

“I had all those fish by about 8:45 this morning,” says Buck, who weighed 19-11 on day two. “I was culling by about 8:30. Where I’m fishing there is about 2 feet of water; it’s all spawners, there are beds everywhere. I’m using swimbaits, and I left the area by about 9:30.” 

Buck says he caught about 20 fish today, and he seems to have a lot of confidence in his area. 

“I had big bites in practice in that area and I lost a 5-pounder on day one. I had those three big bites today and I can’t imagine they won’t be there tomorrow,” says Buck. “It’s a big area where a lot of fish move in and out to feed. But, it’s solely a morning thing. I have to get there as early as possible. I hope to be able to get back there tomorrow and make it happen.” 

 

 

4. Gary Milicevic – LaBelle, Fla. – 33-6 (10)

Moving up from seventh on day one, Gary Milicevic has been strikingly consistent this far. 

“This morning I caught them on a spinnerbait early,” says Milicevic. “They were chasing shad on the edges of the reeds. I didn’t know they were there, I pulled into my hole and saw them chasing, so I caught a limit.

“Then the rest of the day I just worked hard for what I had,” he says. “I had to go flip and flip and flip. Just a black and blue, 1/2 -ounce Gambler Jig all day long.” 

Catching all but one of his fish from new water, Milicevic is right in the hunt for his first FLW Series win. 

“I fish this lake almost every weekend in a tournament,” says Milicevic. “Brandon [Medlock] is a hard one to beat, but I’m gonna give him my best.” 

 

5. Brett Cannon – Parkland, Fla. – 32-14 (10)

Cannon caught a 7-8 Big Bass on day one, and has really had two very good days of fishing so far. 

“It was just like yesterday, I caught a ton of bass, like 30 or 40 bass, I just could never get that big bite,” says Cannon of day two. “The big ones are slowly pulling in, I was hoping it was going to happen today, but maybe it will happen tomorrow.” 

Targeting isolated grass and reeds that’s different than the soundings, Cannon says he’s making long casts to avoid spooking his fish. 

“I thought it was going to be a slugfest, I don’t know why it isn’t,” says Cannon, echoing the common theme. “In practice I saw some big ones pulling up – maybe it’s the tail end of the spawn or something. I wish I knew.” 

 

Top 10 pros

1. Brandon Medlock – Lake Placid, Fla. – 35-0 (10)

2. Darrell Davis – Dover, Fla. – 34-11 (10)

3. Ronnie Buck – Miami, Fla. – 34-7 (10)

4. Gary Milicevic – LaBelle, Fla. – 33-6 (10)

5. Brett Cannon – Parkland, Fla. – 32-14 (10)

6. Bradley MacQueen – West Palm Beach, Fla. – 32-10 (10)

7. John Kremer – Sanford, Fla. – 32-8 (10)

8. Robby Frashier – Carrollton, Ga. – 31-10 (10)

9. Casey Warren – Galivants Ferry, S.C. – 31-8 (10)

10. Peter Thliveros – St. Augustine, Fla. – 31-6 (10)

 

 

Roger Gonzales

Gonzalez maintains co-angler lead by tiebreaker 

With two days down, the race for the co-angler title is as close as can be. Still in the lead after day one, albeit by tiebreaker, Roger Gonzalez has totaled up 29-9. Also with 29-9 is John Riddling. Both co-anglers did well on day one and fell off on day two, and there are six other co-anglers in the top 10 within 3 pounds of them. So, if you tune in for tomorrow’s co-angler weigh-in, you’re probably in for a nail biter.

 

Top 10 co-anglers

1. Roger Gonzalez – Hollywood, Fla. – 29-9 (10)

2. John Riddling – Melrose, Fla. – 29-9 (10)

3. Andy Niles – Ocean Springs, Miss. – 28-14 (10)

4. George Kapiton – Inverness, Fla. – 27-12 (10)

5. Edwin Bartlett – Casco, Maine – 27-10 (10)

6. Aaron Gengler – Lakeland, Fla. – 26-12 (10)

7. JP Sims – Port St. Lucie, Fla. – 26-12 (10)

8. Christian Greico – Tampa, Fla. – 26-11 (10)

9. Bobby Bakewell – Orlando, Fla. – 25-2 (10)

10. Brian Toth – Brandon, Miss. – 24-8 (10)

Complete results