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Fla. — Boater Rick Burton of Wellington earned $5,839 Sunday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Everglades Division Super Tournament event on Lake Okeechobee. The tournament earned Burton 300 points in the Boater Division.

Burton’s winning catch of 10 bass weighed 34 pounds, 7 ounces. Burton flipped grass mats in the Belle Glade area with a black and blue silver-flake craw to catch his bass. The win was Burton’s second on Lake Okeechobee for the year, making him the points leader in the Everglades Division for the 2005 season.

Rounding out the top-five pros are Jimmy McMillan of Belle Glade (10 bass, 33 pounds, 14 ounces, $2,850); Mark Lamb of West Palm Beach (10 bass, 33 pounds, 7 ounces, $1,390); Jim Medlin of West Palm Beach (10 bass, 31 pounds, 3 ounces, $1,251); and Daryl Deka of Wellington (10 bass, 30 pounds, 6 ounces, $1,112).

Lamb earned $1,100 as winner of the big-bass award in the Boater Division, thanks to an 8-pound, 9-ounce bass. He earned an additional $500 as winner of the Ranger Cup award.

James Trudel of Lighthouse Point earned $2,920 as the co-angler winner, thanks to 10 bass weighing 28 pounds, 10 ounces that he caught on Rat-L-Traps and Yamamoto Senkos.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Michael Cass of Lake Worth (10 bass, 25 pounds, 7 ounces, $1,425); Greg Sorrell of Estero (10 bass, 23 pounds, 13 ounces, $695); Brian Peterson of Jupiter (10 bass, 22 pounds, 1 ounce, $626); and Wyatt Boyd of Winter Haven (10 bass, 22 pounds, 1
ounce, $556).

David Stout of Okeechobee earned $550 as the co-angler big-bass award winner with a 7-pound, 1-ounce bass.

Following the regular season, the Everglades Division boater with the most points will earn $1,000 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points champion. The co-angler amassing the most points will earn $500 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points champion in the Co-angler Division.

The top 40 Everglades Division boaters and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Lake Martin Regional near Alexander City, Ala., Oct. 18-22 where they will compete against Gator, Mississippi and Savannah River division anglers for one of six slots in the 2006 All-American. With a total purse of $1 million and a potential $140,000 cash prize going to the winning boater and $70,000 going to the winning co-angler, the All-American is one of the most prestigious and lucrative events in bass fishing.

Papa Joe’s Charters goes Florida Peacock Bass Fishing

Media & News Information


PJ Fishing Charters

August 6th , 2005

Papa Joe Florida Peacock bassSince July and August are slow business months, Papa Joe usually takes some time off to relax and escape the summer the sun and heat. However, sometimes he goes fishing for fun. This year, while visiting some of his grandchildren in Ft. Lauderdale, he and his son, Mike, fished Peacock Bass in Miami. The action was hot and heavy on top-water early, and a little live bait was a help by 11 AM. In addition to the Peacocks, they managed a small Tarpon, a Snook, and a few Largemouth Bass. They had an excellent guide (Steve Albaum 888 629-2277), nice new Skeeter boat, G-Loomis rods and was very knowledgeable and put them on the fish 1st thing. Here are a couple of photos. All of the fish were released to fight another day.

Papa Joe ChartersPapa Joe with Florida Peacock Bass

Sightfishing for Bass Chance for Trophy

ESPN header

Sightfishing for bass chance for trophy

By Tom Behrens

Special to ESPNOutdoors.com — April 25, 2005

If you asked largemouth-bass anglers across the United States to pick their favorite season for fishing, I would bet the No. 1 choice is spring.


Capt Todd Kersey - Bassonline.com

Todd Kersey hooked an 8-pound largemouth bass while he was sightfishing on his home waters of Florida’s Lake Okeechobee.

The change to warmer temperatures brings a lot of anglers back out on the water. Spring is characterized by rebirth in nature. Leaves pop forth on the trees; blossoms open up on flowering plants.
Bass also like the warming temperatures as they look for places to produce baby bass. Spring presents the greatest chance for most bass anglers to catch that trophy wall mount he or she dreams about.
One of the best methods of catching trophy fish in the spring is sightfishing for bass on spawning beds. This fishing method is so potent that in some states, primarily Northern states, the bass fishing season is closed during the spawning time. The key ingredients to sightfishing are knowing at what water temperature the bass begin their spawning ritual, what a spawning bed looks like and where to search for them, and what baits and fishing techniques are most productive.

Three bass fishing guides from Texas, Florida and South Carolina share their knowledge on the subject:
Study the seasonal differences
Rising water temperature, somewhere between the high 50s and mid-60s, dictates the spawning urge in bass.
“The first bed fish I saw this year was on Valentine’s Day,” said Butch Terpe, whose home waters are found at Lake Conroe in Texas. “It was a real nice warm day. I had one client with me and we caught 21 bass. We had a 7-pound fish in the morning that he caught, and that evening I had a 7.42- and an 8.75-pound fish.”
“The fish were in the shallows, getting ready to spawn,” Terpe said. “They may not have been dropping their eggs right then, but they were going to start coming in and build nests.”
Jerry Neeley, a guide on Lake Wylie that straddles North and South Carolina, looks for water temperatures between 60 and 65 degrees and a full-moon cycle.
“Usually by that first full moon in April, they are their beds,” Neeley said.
On Lake Okeechobee in Florida, the spawning urge may begin as early as November. The compulsion here is not brought on by rising water temps, but more likely falling water temps as the shallow waters of Okeechobee cool from the previous hot summer months.
“November is more of a prespawn month,” said Todd Kersey, who calls Lake Okeechobee home. “December is our first real strong month for spawning.

“I have seen the water temps in the high 40s in the winter and 90s in the summer. As the water temps drop, fish move in from the open lake into the grassy shallows. A hard cold snap followed by a new moon or full moon and a hard warming trend after that immediately draws them in.”
Kersey’s largest bass caught fishing the spawning beds is 12.5 pounds.

What does a spawning bed look like?
In Florida, lakes are characterized as having sandy bottoms and lots of aquatic grass — mostly eel and joint grass, which is sometimes referred to as Kissimmee grass. Joint grass can best be described as a bladed or straw type, and that’s what spawning bass love.
“When you see that type of grass, you know that area could hold spawning beds,” Kersey said. “What you will find is that the stuff (grass) will start floating at that time of year. It almost looks like somebody ran through it with an outboard engine.”
But grass cut by the prop of an outboard engine looks like it is has been cleanly cut in different sizes. Floating grass created by a male bass fanning an area with its tail is in one piece.
“When a fish releases the grass because of the fanning, he actually washes the dirt away from the roots,” Kersey said. “When it floats up, it floats up in a full piece and you will see small little roots on the end.
“Then you will know you are in a spawning area, or the spawning is starting.”
Spawning beds in Texas waters are usually found in 1 to 2 feet of water; but if the water is exceptionally clear, the beds may be as deep as 6 or
7 feet.
“You need a good pair of polarized sunglasses to cut the water glare so that you can see the beds and the fish,” Terpe said. “I look for beds that have brighter-colored sand around them; it looks like the fish have just finished digging it out.
“Sometimes the holes they are sitting in are so deep you can’t see them, but they will be there, especially if they are in over a foot of water.”

On Lake Wylie, bedding activity starts on the northern end of the lake first and then works its way down the lake.
“We have a lot of creeks that feed into the river itself, wide creeks with little pockets that go off in them. You might see a little cove that is no bigger than a house. You can get your boat up in the pocket and that’s just about it,” Neeley said.
“There will be at least one fish, maybe two buck bass, on beds in that little place. Pea gravel or sand works real good for beds.”
How to catch ’em

Often anglers will know bass are spawning but haven’t yet seen them. In that case, Neeley suggests using a fluke or a floating worm early in the morning or late in the afternoon, especially before the sun get up high on the water. He then will switch to a Zoom 6-inch lizard in a watermelon seed or similar color pattern that is rigged Texas style or employed for split-shotting.

“Just drop the bait right along the edge of the bed and they will usually pick it up,” he said. “Sometimes I will dip the tail in chartreuse dye.”
In muddy-water conditions, Neeley will cast a willow leaf, four-blade spinnerbait or a two-blade Colorado spinnerbait because of the vibration factor.

“I fan cast across the area, first using the two blade, 3/8-ounce Colorado spinnerbait, one large blade and one smaller on a long arm” he said. Then Neeley might change out to the four-bladed bait; his favorite color is green and white.

Terpe explains that one needs get very close to the bedding fish for success and an extremely quiet approach is required.
“Too much noise and commotion and you can forget catching the fish,” he said.
Terpe pitches or flips a craw worm about 3 feet past the nest and works it in toward the spawning bed very slowly.

If Terpe were to pick one lure that he likes best for sightfishing, it would be a black/blue craw worm.

“I like the small, compact bait for sightfishing,” he said. “Some people use tubes; others use lizards. They all work … just regular worms will work. A white tube works pretty well because you can see the fish suck the bait in.”
“Sometimes you can see the fish real good, see them suck it in. When they are real shallow you can see everything. That’s really fun,” he added. Sometimes they spit it out as fast as they suck it in.
“One day I saw a big fish on a bed and I could not get her to hit. I wasn’t trying to get the buck bass to hit but he hit it three times, and I caught him three times.”

Even though black/blue is his favorite color, he changes bait colors frequently if the fish are being spooked by the color.

“Sometimes certain colors spook the fish, so I will change to maybe a watermelon, pumpkin seed, tequila … try to figure out what was spooking them.”

Todd Kersey doesn’t have a favorite bait for spawning bass, but believes his fishing success can be attributed to his ability to be open to change.
“I was out in the Everglades and hit the spawn just perfect. We had one day I probably caught 100 fish, with 10 fish over 7 pounds, that we picked off of beds,” Kersey said.

“Probably eight different lures caught those 10 different fish utilizing the same presentation and basic colors. I think bass are just like we are: Some days you want pizza; other days you want Mexican.”

He is constantly changing up in hopes of getting a reaction from the fish. Neeley on occasion tries to get the fish to react to a modified Rapalla.

“Sometimes I will take a Rapalla, or something like that, and bend the lip on it kind of straight down. It makes it stay on top of the water,” he said.
“I usually go with the small black one. I always use bigger hooks on the back to make it sink down. Pop it a little bit as it is retrieved.”

Getting close but not too close to the beds, knowing where to look for bedding activity and using the best baits is all part of the mystique of sightfishing for bass.

One last comment on the ethics of fishing for bass on spawning beds:

If anglers kept the fish they caught off the spawning beds, it would present an ethical problem. But catch and release is not generally thought to have an adverse affect the ability of the fish to complete the spawning cycle.
If you do catch that once-in-a-lifetime behemoth, take only pictures of the fish and record its measurements; most taxidermists can produce a likeness of the fish in a plastic mount using those vitals.

Burton best boaters at BFL event on Lake Okeechobee

News Release


Burton best boater at BFL event on Okeechobee

Winner weighs in one of BFL’s heaviest stringers of 2005

FLW Outdoors Winner - BFL Division
Boater Rick Burton of Wellington, Fla., earned $4,050 as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Everglades Division event on Lake Okeechobee.


OKEECHOBEE, Fla. — Boater
Rick Burton
of Wellington earned $4,050 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Everglades Division event on Lake Okeechobee. The tournament was the third of five regular-season Everglades Division events and featured 130 boaters vying for the win, which earned Burton 200 points in the Boater Division.Burton’s winning catch of five bass weighed 29 pounds, 10 ounces. He caught his bass in the Bell Glade area while flipping a black and blue Berkley power craw. Burton won an additional $650 as the big bass award winner with a 9-pound, 10-ounce bass.Finishing second was Chris Rand of Ft. Lauderdale with five bass weighing 28 pounds, 4 ounces that earned him $2,025. Rand earned an additional $750 as winner of the Ranger Cup award and the Powered by Yamaha award. John Peters of Boynton Beach claimed $1,325 as the third-place finisher thanks to five bass weighing 27 pounds, 7 ounces. In fourth was Juan Ruiz of West Palm Beach with five bass weighing 23 pounds, 3 ounces worth $1,031, and finishing fifth and earning $847 was
Jeff Simms of Punta Gorda with five bass weighing 22 pounds, 15 ounces.Greg Caldwell of Okeechobee bested 130 Co-angler Division competitors to earn $2,025 as the co-angler winner, thanks to five bass weighing 20 pounds, 6 ounces that he caught on a Gambler junebug worm.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Virginia Ford of Okeechobee (five bass, 16 pounds, 12 ounces, $1,012); Henry Clay Samples of Dawsonville, Ga. (five bass, 15 pounds, 14 ounces, $663); Bryan Carter of Royal Palm Beach (five bass, 14 pounds, 5 ounces, $515); and Craig Lovely of Fort Myers (four bass, 13 pounds, $423).

Lovely and Caldwell each earned an additional $162 as the co-angler big-bass award winners. Both co-anglers caught a 7-pound, 13-ounce bass.

The Everglades Division’s next event will be held April 16 on Lake Okeechobee near Okeechobee. The Everglades Division will wrap up its regular season Oct. 1-2 with a two-day Super Tournament on Lake Okeechobee near Clewiston.

Following the regular season, the Everglades Division boater with the most points will earn $1,000 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points champion. The co-angler amassing the most points will earn $500 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points champion in the Co-angler Division.

Michael Wished and Caught a 8.2oz Trophy Bass

News Release

Make-A-Wish Fishing


Michael Wished 8.2oz Trophy Bass

Michael fished not one day, but two with BassOnline on Lake Okeechobee. He brought his brothers, fathers and mothers they were all a blast. While our goal was to really focus on getting Michael that trophy bass, he was more concerned with his father and brother catching fish. WOW, what a time for anyone not be selfish. We equally would all were very happy to see him catch each fish. While Michael is the youngest child in North America to have colon cancer and deals every momont with it, he never seem to lose the filling of being a child. When most others would have been focused just on the bobbers going down, he was happy for other reasons. Not distracted by the fishing, he was enjoying catching shiner out of the livewell as much as setting the hook.

Make-A-Wish Fishing Team Over the two days they caught 60 plus bass, as the fish gods would have it. While revisiting the fun times over the last two days of fishing with his dad, the last bobber with the very last shiner starts to go under. I called for Michael to get the rod, the line was peeling off as fast as I have ever seen it. Michael grabbed the rod and with no hesitation started reeling, as the line tighten he set the hook with prefect forum, as if it would be his last time. The rod bent almost in two, we had to do everything to keep him from falling out of the boat. We all yelled reel, reel as his trophy dance several times on the surface. As the bass approached the boat with one single motion we dipped it up and “his wish came true”!

Michael on the last bait, last day, last fish lands his very own 8 lb trophy bass as if it was planned that way along.

By Bryan LaVigne

Executive Director of Make A WishMicheal of Make A Wish

Posted February 17, 2005

Thanks so much for the bait & taxidermy mount for Michael. He had a great time and his prize bass arrived at his house safely. Your donation allows us to reduce our expenses. Every dollar we save will help us grant future wishes to children living with life threatening medical conditions.

I continue to be moved each time I hear about how the wish experience effects those children, children like Michael.

His Mom shared how much his wish meant to him in a recent letter to the foundation. “Thank You”. I could say this a hundred times and it would not be enough to show my appreciation. The joy and happiness you brought to our son is something that I our family will always be grateful for. Our trip gave our whole family a chance to forget about all of the negative things we have to deal
with on a daily basis. It also gave Michael the chance to be able to act like a normal child with out all of the worries that are attached to his illness. Because of you I will always be grateful to everyone who made it possible.”

For a child with a life-threatening medical condition there is nothing like the power of a wish. And for their families, that in and of itself is a precious gift.

Once again, our guides out produce all of the others. While there are several services in Florida, there still are no sign of any of them in the media, in the tournaments or top ten. Don’t be folded by a “so called professional” Fish with proven successful local guides that get the job done daily. Learn the latest techniques from successful tournament fishermen!

Click here to request more information Call Today – 888 629-BASS (2277) or (888) 321-0202

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