FLW College Fishing - Southeastern
Lake Okeechobee (Jan. 21, 2012)
OKEECHOBEE, Fla. – The Indian River State College (IRSC) team of Mike Cornell and Kyle Monti, both of Okeechobee, Fla., won the National Guard FLW College Fishing Southeast Division event on Lake Okeechobee Saturday with five bass weighing 15 pounds, 7 ounces. The victory earned the team $5,000. The win also helped them advance to the Southeast Division Regional Championship.
“We did a lot of running and gunning and didn’t put the flipping stick down,” said Kyle Monti, a marketing major. “It was slow and tough, we lost one 4- 4 ½-pounder, but that is to be expected. A lot of teams lost fish today, that’s just the way Okeechobee fishes. It can be really hard to land fish once they bite.
“The weather got cold a couple of weeks ago and it has really slowed down the bite,” Monti continued. ”Mike and I are both from Okeechobee City and I think that really gave us the confidence we needed to win. Knowledge of the lake really played a big part in today’s win.
“We fished all the way from the north shore to King’s Bar, we covered a lot of water targeting pencil grass and bulrush. We were flipping jigs with Gambler baits, mostly the BB Cricket and Ugly Otter in about 2 to 4 feet of water.”
Under sunny skies with highs in the mid 70’s the team from IRSC won by nearly three pounds over their closest competitor.
“It was another great day on Lake Okeechobee,” said Mike Cornell, a junior from IRSC. “We couldn’t have asked for better weather. The lake was slick and calm all day, which is unusual for Okeechobee being the size that it is.
“Truthfully I was a little surprised by the low weights,” Cornell went on to say. ”It got brutally cold here a couple of weeks ago but with the weather warming up I thought the bite would be better than it was. Okeechobee is a lake that Kyle and I fish every day, we are comfortable with our style and probably couldn’t do this same thing anywhere else. It can take a while to figure the lake out and I think being from here really made a difference for us today.”
Rounding out the top five teams and also advancing to the Southeast Regional Championship:
3rd: University of Central Florida – Miles Burghoff, Orlando, Fla., and Casey O’Donnell, Bradenton, Fla. (five bass, 12-0, $1,000)
4th: Seminole State College – Neal Combs, Osteen, Fla., and Kevin Lucas, Orlando, Fla. (five bass, 11-15, $1,000)
5th: North Carolina State University – Clint Benbow, Statesville, N.C., and Ethan Cox, West End, N.C. (five bass, 11-8, $1,000)
Click here to see full results.
The top five teams from each tournament qualify for the regional championship where the first-place team will win a Ranger 177TR bass boat with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard wrapped in school colors for their fishing club. The top five teams from each regional tournament advance to the national championship.
College Fishing is free to enter and FLW provides boats and drivers for each competing team along with travel allowances. All participants must be registered, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year college or university and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.
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