OKEECHOBEE, Fla. – For Howard Poitevint of Bainbridge, Ga., his entire tournament came down to his last cast of the final day.
In the last minute rush to work out of an area and head to weigh-in, his pro partner had missed casting to two tiny reed stems that were sticking out just above the water. Just as the call for “last cast” was made, Poitevint heaved a cast at the two discreet stems, his line moved off sideways, he set the hook, and the rest is history.
The result of that last cast was a 7-pound, 13-ounce bass that gave Poitevint a push to victory in the Co-angler Division of the EverStart Series event on Lake Okeechobee.
“This feels great,” Poitevint said. “I’ve been tournament fishing a long time. I’ve won buddy tournaments, been to the All-American and barely missed winning a Regional (BFL) years ago to David Fritts. So to get this win here on the EverStart level is special to me.”
Poitevint claimed the big bass in the Co-angler Division on day two with an 8-12. And then his 7-13 bass today propelled him to victory.
They key to his big bites?
“A Zoom Ultra-Vibe speed worm in junebug,” Poitevint said. “That’s what I caught all my big fish on this week. Yesterday I used a 1/8-ounce weight. Today it was a little windier and I had to go to 3/16-ounce weight, all on 20-pound test Stren line.”
“I caught some fish swimming the worm,” he added. “But the two big ones I caught came from pitching it to reeds and letting fall.”
Wood’s primary lure during the week was a watermelon red lizard, rigged with a 3/16-ounce weight on 50-pound braided line.
“That’s what I caught the big limit on the first day,” Wood said. “But today I switched to a black and blue Senko wacky-rigged on a shiner-style hook.”
Raymond Guerra of Port Saint Lucie, Fla., finished third in the Co-angler Division with a three-day total of 35 pounds even worth $4,000.
Saliba, Wiles round out the top five
George Saliba of Lakefield, Ontario, finished fourth with a three-day total of 33 pounds, 9 ounces worth $3,500.
Kevin Thomas of Miramar, Fla., finished fifth with a three-day total of 32-8 worth $3,000.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers in the EverStart Series event on Lake Okeechobee:
6th: Jim Austin of Lithonia, Ga., three-day total of 31-15, $2,500.
7th: Cole Bailey of Thamesford, Ontario, three-day total of 30-14, $2,000
8th: Dean Harcourt of Sebastian, Fla., three day total of 28-6, $1,500
9th: Michael Wiles of Perry, Fla., three day total of 26-9, $1,000
10th: Donnie Dodd of Guntersville, Ala., three-day total of 26-0, $800