(Mar 27, 2017 - CLEWISTON, Fla.)
Jessie Mizell of Sarasota, Florida, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Gator Division event on Lake Okeechobee Saturday with a five-bass limit totaling 23-pounds even. For his victory, Mizell pocketed $4,915.
“I began the day fishing near Bird Island, but the wind picked up and muddied the water,” said Mizell, who earned his second career-win on Lake Okeechobee in BFL competition. “I stayed there for a while and caught a couple of small ones. By 1 p.m., I knew I needed to change things up.
“I went to a little cove by the North Shore that was out of the wind and fished really slow in the calm water,” continued Mizell. “I focused on some small lilypads. I went back and forth along a 100-yard stretch and caught my limit by 3:30 p.m.”
Mizell said he used a Red Ear-colored Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Poppin' Frog 60 on a 7-foot, 11-inch medium-heavy 13 Fishing rod to craft his limit.
“I could see a slight wake under the frog that most people wouldn’t notice,” said Mizell. “I paused and let the bait sit for about 10 or 15 seconds. When I moved it, they’d eat it.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Jessie Mizell, Sarasota, Fla., five bass, 23-0, $4,915
2nd: Brianne McMillan, Belle Glade, Fla., five bass, 22-4, $2,658
3rd: Jim Hurlock Jr., West Palm Beach, Fla., five bass, 19-9, $1,640
4th: Cody Davis, Deerfield Beach, Fla., five bass, 18-9, $1,147
5th: Nicholas Hoinig, Delray Beach, Fla., five bass, 18-8, $1,083
6th: Mike Surman, Boca Raton, Fla., five bass, 18-6, $1,201
7th: Dustin Royer, Davie, Fla., five bass, 18-5, $819
8th: Jesus Villegas, Virginia Gardens, Fla., five bass, 16-12, $737
9th: Frank Mackin, New Port Richey, Fla., five bass, 16-9, $1,405
10th: Kyle Monti, Okeechobee, Fla., five bass, 16-4, $573
Mackin caught the heaviest bass of the tournament, a fish weighing 8 pounds, 4 ounces, which earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $750.
Brandon Bartlett of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, weighed in five bass totaling 19 pounds, 9 ounces, Saturday to win the Co-angler Division and the top prize of $2,833.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Brandon Bartlett, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., five bass, 19-9, $2,833
2nd: Matthew Wolfe Jr., Orlando, Fla., five bass, 15-7, $1,429
3rd: Fernando Rosa, Plantation, Fla., five bass, 13-9, $817
4th: Richard Mongiovi, Indian Lake Estates, Fla., five bass, 12-10, $573
5th: Garrett Carter, Middleburg, Fla., five bass, 12-8, $471
5th: John Hendry, Crystal River, Fla., five bass, 12-8, $471
7th: Michael Carter, Bokeelia, Fla., five bass, 12-2, $460
8th: Andrew Pulliam, Spring Hill, Fla., five bass, 11-13, $369
9th: Robert Alton, Fort Pierce, Fla., five bass, 11-11, $328
10th: Hayden Scharf, De Leon Springs, Fla., five bass, 11-10, $287
Bartlett also caught the biggest bass among Co-angler Division anglers, a fish weighing 7 pounds, 9 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $375.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 19-21 BFL Regional Championship on Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.
The 2017 BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments where they are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.
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.