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Okeechobee Journal

Posted by todd on February 11, 2013

Well, the 1st FLW Tour event at Lake Okeechobee is in the books.  I managed to come up short finishing 117th with a little over 9 pounds on each day.  Okeechobee is a big and intimidating lake that was a bit overwhelming the first time around for me.  It's all about catching the big fish at Okeechobee, where one big bite can move you way up the leaderboard - unfortunately I didn't get one of those bites on either day and settled for keeper fish and hopefully a high enough finish to give me a shot at the Cup once the year develops.  Either way, I'm proud of going to Florida for the first time and catching a five-fish tournament limit both days.  In fact, my goal is to catch a limit every day of competition this year - and I feel that if that happens, the chips will fall right into place.

It was really hard to figure out whether the fish were coming or going at Okeechobee, and whether a new wave of spawners was going to move up while we were there.  I camped out alot of my tournament time in spawning areas, but seemingly all that was around were the smaller males.  I placed my bet that the bigger fish would move in to spawn, but it simply didn't happen where I was fishing.  Here's a recap of the setups I used to catch my fish at Lake Okeechobee:

-7'11" heavy Bulldawg Rod, 1-2 oz tungsten weight, River Rat Tackle punch skirt and craw (black/blue)
-7'6" heavy Bulldawg Rod, 1/2 oz. River Rat Tackle Arkey Jig (black/blue) and trailer
-7" med heavy Bulldawg Rod, 3/4 oz. Red Dirt Spinnerbait (sexy shad) and 1/4 oz. River Rat Tackle Swim Jig and Trailer
-7" med heavy Elite Rod, 3/8 oz tungsten weight, River Rat Tackle Drift Stick (Junebug, Watermelon/Red)


My father-in-law and brother are traveling with me this year, with Troy fishing on the Co-Angler side.  He's also going to fish the Everstarts as a Pro in his rookie season, and I'm really looking forward to him having success on the trail.  John is my self-proclaimed Road Manager this year, and is along to enjoy his rookie year in retirement.  In fact, this was his first time ever in the state of Florida.  He was a big help with traveling and keeping things orderly - he's also always good at making me laugh, even after a long day on the water!  It's great being with family while on the road, and the memories created are ones that will last a lifetime. 

I have a feeling that the tides will turn and that Troy and I will both get on a roll.  You never like to start the season out with a bad finish, but it's not impossible to overcome.  As I look back on my rookie year in 2012, I had two bad finishes in a row and still overcame those events to make the Cup.  For now, it's back to Indy to start working on preparing for our next Tour event at Smith Lake in Alabama and the Everstart that follows the next week at Lake of the Ozarks.  We also have the Indianapolis Boat, Sport, and Travel Show coming up this week where it's always good to catch up to and talk with old friends.  So come out and say hi!

The Red Gold boat and truck are both running well, as is my Evinrude E-TEC.  I'm very proud to be representing the company that makes the freshest, best tasting tomato products in the world.  In fact, I'm enjoying a jar of Red Gold salsa as I write this. 

Thanks for checking in!  I'll be posting Blog updates along the journey this entire season.  The support from fans, family, and friends is priceless - and I'm grateful for the opportunity God has given to me.  We'll keep trying to make the most of it.  Until next time...you on the water!