CLEWISTON, Fla. – For the third consecutive day, pro angler Brett Hite of Phoenix, Ariz., held the lead at the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee presented by Mercury Saturday. Hite’s five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 12 ounces gives him a three-day total of 74-3 and a 12-pound, 3-ounce lead heading into the fourth and final day of competition in the event that features 178 of the world’s best bass-fishing anglers casting for the top prize of up to $125,000.
2013 Forrest Wood Cup Champion Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., is in second place and hoping to make a late final-day push to catch the Arizona pro. Tharp brought five bass to the scale weighing 16-2 to bring his three-day total to 62 pounds even.
“I really don’t know what changed today,” said Hite, who is in his eighth season as an FLW Tour professional. “The conditions were similar to the first day, and I thought that that they were going to bite a little better. It was slower, though, and I actually switched to my secondary pattern for the first time today. I was keeping that in my back pocket specifically for that reason, so I decided to make the switch around 11 (a.m.)”
Hite said that he has been fishing in the area known as the Monkey Box, and that most of the top-10 anglers are fishing near him.
“I’m still doing something different, though,” Hite said. “And I’m going to be doing the same thing tomorrow. I’ll probably fish my secondary pattern later in the day.”
Hite estimated that he caught around 12 keepers today. He said that he was going to focus on his job and not worry about the other competitors.
“Randall (Tharp) is a good buddy of mine, but he’s going to go do his deal tomorrow and I’m just going to focus on my job – to catch five big bass,” Hite said. “This is not saying that I’m not a little bit worried about him, but I’m going to go do my own deal.
“It really takes a lot to win one of these tournaments,” Hite went on to say. “The work that every one of these guys fishing in this event put in makes it really tough. I’ve been close quite a few times since my last win in 2008, and after a four- or five-year dry spell it would make winning this one that much better.”
The top 10 pros advancing to the final day of competition on Lake Okeechobee are:
1st: Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., 15 bass, 74-3
2nd: Randall Tharp, Port St. Joe, Ala., 15 bass, 62-0
3rd: James Watson, Waynesville, Mo., 15 bass, 60-2
4th: Leon Williams, Fairdale, Ky., 15 bass, 59-2
5th: Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts pro Greg Bohannan, Rogers, Ark., 15 bass, 59-1
6th: Matt Herren, Trussville, Ala., 15 bass, 58-5
7th: Straight Talk Wireless pro Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala., 15 bass, 55-15
8th: Repel pro Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif., 15 bass, 54-11
9th: Chevy pro Larry Nixon, Bee Branch, Ark., 15 bass, 54-6
10th: Stetson Blaylock, Benton, Ark., 15 bass, 54-4
Finishing in 11th through 20th are:
11th: Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 15 bass, 52-14, $12,000
12th: Kerry Milner, Bono, Ark., 15 bass, 52-7, $12,000
13th: Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 15 bass, 52-6, $12,000
14th: Peter Thliveros, St. Augustine, Fla., 15 bass, 51-8, $12,500
15th: Folgers pro Scott Suggs, Bryant, Ark., 15 bass, 51-7, $12,000
16th: Fred Roumbanis, Bixby, Okla., 15 bass, 50-8, $12,000
17th: Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., 15 bass, 50-3, $12,000
18th: Matt Greenblatt, Port St. Lucie, Fla., 15 bass, 48-15, $12,000
19th: Keith Amerson, Bethel Springs, Tenn., 15 bass, 47-5, $12,500
20th: Ryan Chandler, Valparaiso, Ind., 11 bass, 45-1, $12,000
Final results for the remaining field can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Overall there were 99 bass weighing 309 pounds, 7 ounces caught by pros Saturday. The catch included 19 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top 35 anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify. The 2014 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17 on Lake Murray and is hosted by Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board.
Billy Dehart of Burlingame, Calif., won the co-angler division and $20,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 48 pounds, 11 ounces, followed by Ken Coats of Tulsa, Okla., in second place with 15 bass weighing 48-10 worth $7,500.
The top 10 co-anglers finished:
1st: Billy Dehart, Burlingame, Calif., 15 bass, 48-11, $20,000
2nd: Ken Coats, Tulsa, Okla., 15 bass, 48-10, $7,500
3rd: Chuck Kavros, Grass Valley, Calif., 15 bass, 46-3, $5,000
4th: Cecil Wolfe, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, 15 bass, 42-15, $4,000
5th: Nick Loeffelman Jr., Valles Mines, Mo., 15 bass, 42-7, $3,000
6th: Joshua Weaver, Macon, Ga., 15 bass, 41-11, $2,500
7th: Kyle Monti, Okeechobee, Fla., 15 bass, 39-14, $2,000
8th: Chad Randles, Elkhorn, Neb., 15 bass, 39-6, $1,800
9th: Bryan Partak, Marseilles, Ill., 15 bass, 39-0, $1,700
10th: Greg Knick, Ansonia, Ohio, 15 bass, 38-4, $1,600
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Overall there were 95 bass weighing 228 pounds, 7 ounces caught by co-anglers Saturday. The catch included 16 five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week plus valuable points that could help them qualify for the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The top 35 co-anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2014 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify.
The top 10 pros will take off from the Clewiston Boat Basin located at 709 Hoover Dike Road at 7:30 a.m. Sunday. Sunday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart located at 1005 W. Sugarland Highway in Clewiston beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will also be treated to the FLW Expo at Walmart on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-in. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. Also on Sunday, country music artist Josh Thompson will perform a free live concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at 3 p.m.
Coverage of the Lake Okeechobee tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs May 17 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET. The Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.