Sunday, March 20th the Lake Placid Team Trail held its 8th tournament for the 2015-2016 year on Lake Okeechobee at Harney Pond. The weather forecast for the day was rain and 10-15 mph winds. As it turned out, the weatherman was wrong. Cloudy skies yielded no rain and winds were light to non-existent. And the fish were biting!

With back-to-back second place finishes and big bass in the last two tournaments, my partner, Nick Desanta, and I were hoping to win this one.

Neither of us had had the opportunity to pre-fish, so our plan was pretty simple. We had done well a few months earlier fishing the shoreline in the Fisheating Bay area and we figured we’d start there in the hope that the bass were still in the area.

The water was alive with baitfish and what we believed to be crappies or bluegill along the shoreline and within a few casts, we boated a number of small bass. Making a second pass, we continued to get strikes but soon realized gar and mudfish were as abundant as the bass and baitfish.

A few of the bass struck a plastic worm but most seemed to prefer the Bass Assassin Silver Phantom fished rapidly from the bank back to the boat. This was top water action at its best, with huge strikes resulting in a number of quality fish.

We began culling as the fish we caught became larger and larger. Two pounders were replaced with 3 pounders and by 11am we had close to 18 pounds with our smallest bass, around 2 1⁄2 pounds.
The high wind that was forecast never came. The rain that was forecast never happened, and the bass stayed in the same area all day.


Around 11am, a big fish hit my Bass Assassin and guessing her weight to be between 6 and 7 pounds, we knew we had a decent weight of 22 to 24 pounds and a chance to win the tournament.
At the weigh-in, it was obvious that our competition had also found plenty of fish and as we watched nice bags of fish being weighed in, we knew our weight might not be enough to win.
Charlie Howser and Tom McGinnis weighed in 5 fish for a total weight of 23.46 and took first place. They received $570.00 for the 1st place finish.

The team of Lee/Cody took second place with 5 fish weighing 23.3 pounds winning $375.00. The team of Sargent/Browning took third place with 5 fish weighing 22.73 pounds and what we had hoped might be enough weight to win, got us fourth place with 5 fish weighing in at 22.26 pounds.

Charlie Howser and Tom McGinnis had the Big Bass of the day weighing 8.24 pounds and earning them $135.00.

Even with a fourth place finish, it was a great day on the water. We caught fish all day which just illustrates what a great fishery Lake Okeechobee truly is.

With only two tournaments left in the 2015-2016 season for the Lake Placid Team Trail, our next tournament is on Lake Placid. Nick and I are hoping to get a chance to pre-fish for this one.

2015-2016 – TOP FIVE standings:

1st Place:
McDuffie/Woods – 266 points
Norton/DeSanta – 266 points

2nd Place:
Karoll/Huber – 262 points

3rd Place:
Arnold/Perrson – 261 points