The water is up about two feet higher than it has been the past few years when the Tour and the EverStart series roll into town,” said FLW Tour pro Brandon McMillan of Clewiston, Fla., who has eight top-10 finishes and a 2011 FLW Tour win on Lake Okeechobee. “The water has come up so fast that the grass really hasn’t had time to catch up with it on the outside. Most of the water on the outside is pretty dirty, and that’s where everyone had been catching them the past few years.
“The fish are real spread out and not grouped up at all right now,” McMillan continued. “It’s been a real mild winter and we’ve really only had one cold front that came through around a week ago. I’d recommend finding some clear water outside the reed line that runs all the way around the lake and work it with a Zoom Swimmin Super Fluke or a Gambler Big EZ. In my opinion that’s how I think this tournament will be won. I don’t think that flipping is going to be the winning deal this year.”
McMillan predicted that the top five anglers would bring about 20 pounds a day to the scales, and that 60 to 65 pounds should be enough to win the first EverStart event of the season.
Anglers will take off from C. Scott Driver Park located at 10100 W. Highway 78 in Okeechobee, Fla., at 7:30 a.m. each day. Weigh-in will be held at the takeoff location on Thursday and Friday beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at Walmart located at 2101 S. Parrot Ave. in Okeechobee beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
Pros will fish for a top award of $40,000 plus a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger Z117 with 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.
The EverStart Series consists of five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title, which allows them to fish the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup.
The EverStart Series tournament on Lake Okeechobee is being hosted by the Okeechobee County Tourism Development Council.
Logo courtesy FLW