OKEECHOBEE, Fla. – Keith Fels of Ocala, Fla., weighed four bass totaling 7 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event presented by Power-Pole on Lake Okeechobee with a three-day total of 14 bass weighing 54 pounds, 15 ounces. For his victory, Fels earned $40,000 and a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor.
Fels notched his seventh career top-10 FLW finish on Lake Okeechobee in grand style, banging out a 10-pounder on the second day of the tournament to build an insurmountable lead over the rest of the field. “I figured out something on Okeechobee I guess,” said Fels. “It’s something different I do with it. I don’t know, it’s kind of a secret.
“I was just pitching to holes in the hydrilla,” continued Fels. “It was probably a foot or a foot and a half deep, really pretty shallow. The fish moved in there yesterday; they weren’t in there today. The wind changed directions. It moved them, I guess.”
“She (the 10-pounder) hit it and I missed it. I thought it felt like a good one, so I flipped back in and she got it,” said Fels. “Then she got down in the hydrilla and I was pulling up like 50 pounds of hydrilla, and I got it right to the boat and my line broke right by the reel. The line fell down and coiled up by the hydrilla, so I reached down and wrapped it around my hand and pulled it in. My co-angler was freaking out; he said, ‘Oh my God, that’s a 12-pounder!’
“Slowing down was the key,” finished Fels. “I wasn’t getting bit during practice. I was probably fishing too fast. I slowed way down and let the bait sit and the fish just came and picked it up.
Fels said he caught most of his big fish on a jig with a Gambler MegaDaddy or a Why Not on it, and also did some punching with those same baits and a 2-ounce weight.
The top 10 pros on Lake Okeechobee were:
1st: Keith Fels, Ocala, Fla., 14 bass, 54-15, $40,000 + a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor
2nd: Jared McMillan, Belle Glade, Fla., 15 bass, 52-11, $15,500
3rd: Randy Haynes, Counce, Tenn., 13 bass, 49-2, $12,000
4th: Val Osinski, Pompano Beach, Fla., 15 bass, 46-7, $10,000
5th: Keith Pace, Monticello, Ark., 15 bass, 45-3, $9,000
6th: Brandon McMillan, Clewiston, Fla., 15 bass, 44-8, $8,000
7th: Joseph Kremer., Osteen, Fla., 15 bass, 44-4, $7,000
8th: Miles Burghoff, Guntersville, Ala., 15 bass, 43-1, $6,000
9th: Thomas Helton, Charleston, Tenn., 15 bass, 42-3, $5,000
10th: Kent Ware, Wadmalaw Island, S.C., 14 bass, 40-6, $4,000
Complete results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Fels caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division Friday – a 10-pound, 9-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Rayovac FLW Series Big Bass award of $300.
Rex Jaeger of Hamilton, Ohio, won the co-angler division and a Ranger Z117C with an Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 31 pounds, 7 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers on Lake Okeechobee were:
1st: Rex Jaeger, Hamilton, Ohio, 15 bass, 31-7, Ranger Z117C with an Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor
2nd: Ronnie Green, Sebring, Fla., 15 bass, 30-12, $5,000
3rd: Aaron Richardson, Destin, Fla., 14 bass, 29-5, $4,000
4th: Tim Fox, Meridian, Miss., 12 bass, 29-4, $3,500
5th: Don Lewis, Jacksonville, Fla., 14 bass, 27-13, $3,000
6th: Alphonso Taylor, Kennesaw, Ga., 12 bass, 26-9, $2,500
7th: Dean Harcourt, Sebastian, Fla., 13 bass, 25-1, $2,000
8th: Mitch Reynolds, Petal, Miss., 11 bass, 24-10, $1,750
9th: Ty Solis, Albany, Ga., 12 bass, 24-8, $1,500
10th: Dwight Griffith, Somerset, Ky., 12 bass, 23-3, $1,250
Mike Evans caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division Thursday – a 10-pound, 8-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Rayovac FLW Series Big Bass award of $200.
The Rayovac FLW Series consists of five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title, which allows them to fish the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup.
This was the first Rayovac FLW Series event of the 2014 season. The next Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division tournament will be Mar. 14-15, at Santee Cooper in Manning, S.C., and is hosted by the Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow FLW on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWOutdoors.