EverStart Tournament Series Begins on Lake Okeechobee


The EverStart Series is headed to Lake Okeechobee Jan. 6-8 for the first of four stops in the Southeast Division. As many as 300 pro and co-anglers will be competing for top awards up to $35,000 plus a Ranger boat with an Evinrude or Mercury outboard for the pro and a Ranger boat with an Evinrude or Mercury outboard plus $5,000 for the co-angler.

"The fishing is going to be unbelievable," said pro Koby Kreiger of Okeechobee, Fla., who has finished in the top-10 the last two years on Lake Okeechobee. "The cold front that was here last week will be gone so water temperatures should start warming up and fish should be very active, some should be spawning.

"The entire lake is fishing really well; clear water around the shoals and south has been the most consistent. The Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper and the Ouzo Baits Riptail Minnow should work beautifully in this tournament. I think this is going to be the best tournament FLW has ever had on Lake Okeechobee."

Anglers will take off from C. Scott Driver Park located at 10100 W. Highway 78 in Okeechobee, Fla., at 7:30 each morning. Weigh-ins will be held at C. Scott Driver Park beginning at 3:30 p.m. Thur. and Fri. and the Walmart store located at 2101 S. Parrott Ave. in Okeechobee on Sat. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

"The lake is full of big fish," said pro Mike Surman of Boca Raton, Fla. "We have just been having a phenomenal season this year. The entire lake is fishing well and really the tournament can be won anywhere. You won't see the anglers bunching up in one or two areas the way they have in the past.

"The lake is a little low right now. We are at 12.5 feet, so the fish are going to be outside the grass line. The fishing should be fantastic and it will probably take 57 to 58 pounds to win it."

Pros will fish for a top award of $35,000 plus a 198VX Ranger boat with 200-horsepower outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger 177TR with 90-horsepower outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

The EverStart Series consists of five divisions - Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points that could earn them a trip to the EverStart Series Championship on Kentucky Lake in Buchanan, Tenn., Oct. 27-30. The top 40 pros and co-anglers from each respective division will qualify for this championship.

The Lake Okeechobee EverStart Series tournament is being hosted by the Okeechobee County Tourism Development Council.

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