Florida pro expects to see 100-pound weights The Walmart FLW Tour will kick off the 2013 season with the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee presented by Mercury Feb. 7-10. Hosted by Roland & Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort and the Hendry County Tourism Development Council, the tournament will feature a full field of the world’s best bass pros and co-anglers casting for top awards up to $125,000 cash in the Pro Division and up to $25,000 cash in the Co-angler Division.

“Overall, the fishing has been great on Okeechobee,” said Evinrude pro Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla. “The water level is the highest it’s been in four or five years. It took a little while for the fish to get settled in, so the fishing was a little slower than normal until just recently. But I expect the bite to be fantastic for the tournament. And I expect big bags to be caught.

“The great thing about the lake this time is we have three times the water to fish than we’ve had the past several years because the water level is up,” the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup champion continued. “There are fish way, way back in the marsh now. There are little lakes, flats and ponds back there behind the cattails that you couldn’t get to in a boat in the past. There’s 4 to 5 feet of water back there now, and the fish are settling in good.

“This is going to be the kind of tournament where a guy could say, ‘I never saw another boat all week,’” Martin added.

Martin said angler will have a variety of techniques to choose from for the Okeechobee event. Flipping and swimbaits will be popular, and Martin said he expects to see some anglers casting a 10-inch worm. Martin said he expects to see motion baits such as spinnerbaits as Chatterbaits as well as Senkos play a factor in the event.

“I think it’s going to take 100 pounds again to win this,” Martin said. “I think one thing that may be a bit different this year is maybe the weights won’t be as big, meaning I don’t think there will be six bags over 100 pounds. There will be one or two bags at the 100-mark.

“The guys that find a place and have it to themselves … it could be good for them,” Martin added. “But it takes time to find those places.”

In FLW Tour competition, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. The 2013 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Shreveport, La., Aug. 15-18 on the Red River.

Anglers will take off from Roland & Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort located at 920 E. Del Monte Ave. in Clewiston, Fla., at 7:30 a.m. the first two days of competition. On the last two days takeoff will be at the Clewiston Boat Basin at 7:30 a.m. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will be held at Roland & Mary Ann Martin’s Marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart located at 1005 W. Sugarland Highway in Clewiston beginning at 4 p.m.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Walmart on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.

As part of the FLW Tour’s community outreach initiative, FLW will be working in conjunction with the Literacy in Schools program at Westside Elementary in Clewiston Feb. 6 from 8:30-11 a.m. FLW anglers will be on hand to read stories and interact with the students.

Coverage of the Lake Okeechobee tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs April 7 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET. “FLW” is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 559 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.

For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.

Logo courtesy FLW Outdoors

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