(Jan 17, 2017 - Clewiston, FL)
As many as 500 pros and co-anglers are expected to compete in the 2017 season-opening Costa FLW Series at Lake Okeechobee, Jan. 26-28. The tournament, presented by Power-Pole, is the first of three regular-season events scheduled in the Southeastern Division. Pros will be competing for a top award of up to $60,000 in cash and a new Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.
“We’re going to see a lot of classic Lake Okeechobee patterns in this event,” said FLW Tour pro Brandon McMillan of Clewiston, Florida. “Flipping and pitching soft-plastics should be dominant, but I also see swimjigs and swimbaits being a factor as well.
“Harney Pond will likely be where a lot of the action happens,” continued McMillan. “The cover looks better in there than I’ve seen in three or four years. Punching matted grass or running the open water with vibrating jigs and swimjigs could be the deal. There are also a lot of fish on beds, so sight-fishing could also produce some pretty good catches.”
McMillan said dark-colored baits will be favored among competitors.“You can’t go wrong slow-rolling a Junebug-colored worm through hydrilla,” said McMillan. “It’s a go-to pattern in Florida.”
McMillan said that he expects a three-day cumulative total nearing 60 pounds to take top honors at this Southeastern Division opener.
“The weights could be even better if there are no more cold fronts between now and the tournament,” said McMillan. “There’s plenty of good fish to be caught out there.”
Anglers will take off from Roland & Mary Ann Martin's Marina & Resort located at 920 E. Del Monte Ave. in Clewiston at 7 a.m. EST each day. Weigh-ins will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public. The event is hosted by Roland & Mary Ann Martin's Marina & Resort and the Hendry County Tourism Development Council.
In Costa FLW Series regular-season competition, payouts are based on the number of participants competing in the event. At Lake Okeechobee, pros will fish for as much as $60,000 and a Ranger Z518C boat with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard if Ranger Cup qualified. Co-anglers will cast for a Ranger Z175 boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude outboard and $2,500, along with an additional $5,000 if Ranger Cup qualified.
The Costa FLW Series consists of five U.S. 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 2017 Costa FLW Series Championship is being held Nov. 2-4 on Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tennessee.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 274 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.