Fishing & Boating News

Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division Opener Set for Lake Okeechobee

Record Field of 250 Boaters Set to Compete for Second Consecutive Season

by: Brian Johnson, FLW

(Jan 5, 2016 - )  The Costa FLW Series is headed to Lake Okeechobee Jan. 14-16 for a tournament presented by Power Pole when 500 pros and co-anglers will take to the water for the first stop of 2016 in the Southeastern Division. The field of 250 boats will tie the record set last season for the largest FLW Series field of all-time.

“I think we’re going to see some different patterns than we’re accustomed to on Lake Okeechobee this time of year,” said Walmart FLW Tour pro Brandon McMillan of Clewiston, Florida, who has 10 previous top-10 finishes on Lake Okeechobee. “The water is unusually high at 15 feet, so sight-fishing is almost out of the equation. I don’t think anglers will be able to see fish in enough areas to put together a winning stringer.

“I also think we’ll see a majority of competitors casting instead of flipping,” McMillan continued. “Areas of open water between the north shore and Bird Island are firing well right now. Other anglers may choose to focus in on smaller stretches of water in places like Harney Pond.

“Soft swimbaits will likely be a big factor in this tournament,” said McMillan. “I also like black and blue-colored swimjigs, vibrating jigs and spinnerbaits. Due to the growing shad population, I think anything white-colored could also pay off for someone looking to mix things up.”

McMillan concluded by saying a three-day catch worth 65 pounds should be enough to win the event.

Anglers will take off from C. Scott Driver Park located at 10100 W. Highway 78 in Okeechobee at 7:30 a.m. EST each day. Weigh-ins will be held each day at the marina beginning at 3 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 Z518C 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 Z175 with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

The Costa FLW Series consists of five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments with competitors vying for valuable points that could earn them the opportunity to fish in the Costa FLW Series Championship. The 2016 Costa FLW Series Championship is being held Nov. 3-5 on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri.


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FLW is the industry’s premier tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2016 over the course of 235 tournaments across five tournament circuits, four of which provide an avenue to the sport’s richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.