Skip to main content

Lake Okeechobee Elite Could Yield Giant Bass

The last time BASS visited the big-bass factory was in 2012, when Ish Monroe weighed one of the heaviest four-day limits in Bassmaster Elite Series history

Lake Okeechobee Elite Could Yield Giant Bass
Lake Okeechobee Elite Could Yield Giant Bass

OKEECHOBEE, Fla.— The second event of the 2017 season will be a stark difference from theseason opener, which took place last week on Tennessee’s Cherokee Lake.Cherokee was won with hefty smallmouth pulled from deep, 50-degree water underharsh winter conditions.

Okeechobee will likely be the polar opposite with warmweather, shallow water and big Florida-strain largemouth.

Monroe’s 108-pound, 5-ounce four-day winning catch in March2012 ranks as the 19th all-time heaviest total weight since the Elite Series’inception in 2006. He is excited to return to the “Big O” — which covers morethan 450,000 acres — and vie for the $100,000 first-place prize.

“It’s the only tournament I can remember where I culled one5-pound bass after another,” Monroe said, reminiscing about the first day ofthat 2012 tournament. “I can still recall having 34-5 in my livewell by noon onthe first day. Where else in the world can an angler do something like that?”


Okeechobee is a relatively shallow lake, averaging 8 feet,10 inches in depth, and that plays to Monroe’s strengths.


“I love fishing shallow water, and when I can catch bassthat way, life is gravy,” he said. “It’s also appealing to me because for theentire year, you can keep a heavy flipping stick in your hands and catch fisheverywhere with the potential to win every single time.”

He said the lake is full of different types of vegetation,including hydrilla, milfoil, hyacinth, pencil reeds, alligator grass, pennywortand lily pads, and patterns can be so diverse that it’s almost impossible topredict a winner among the 110-angler field. He suggested that a 100-poundwinning string of bass is possible, but putting together 25-pound limits everyday isn’t easy, even on Okeechobee, which appears to be in excellent shape.

“Since 2007, the lake has been getting healthier as asystem, and fishing output is a reflection of that,” said Barron Moody,regional fisheries administrator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife ConservationCommission. “Coming out of a couple hurricanes between 2007 and 2009, weendured significant habitat damage from storm surges in the lake, and therelatively low water conditions that occurred as a result actually helped thelake recover long term.”

Moody said that lower water conditions allowed for moresunlight penetration, which in turn promoted vegetation growth as the lakerecovered. State workers and volunteers also collaborated to improve habitatduring the low-water period.


And it’s paying off today.

“Based on our sampling data, I would not be surprised at allto see multiple fish over 8 and 9 pounds weighed in; even a fish in the10-pound range is a real possibility,” he said.Takeoffs will occur dailyThursday through Sunday at 6:45 a.m. ET at C. Scott Driver Park in Okeechobee,Fla. Weigh-ins will take place in the same location at 3:15 p.m. eachafternoon.

The Bassmaster Elite Series Outdoors Expo will also betaking place at C. Scott Driver Park on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3:15p.m. The Expo will feature the latest products in the industry, as well as freegiveaways. Mercury, Nitro, Triton, Skeeter and Yamaha will be giving demo ridesat the venue. All activities are free and open to the public.


Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Bubba Blade: Multi-Flex Interchangeable Blade Set

Bubba Blade: Multi-Flex Interchangeable Blade Set

Four blades in versatile knife system to fit your needs; ICAST Fishing Gear Guide.

Abu Garcia Zenon Spinning Reels

Abu Garcia Zenon Spinning Reels

New to the North American market comes the 'world's lightest spinning reel.'

Rapala OG Slim 6

Rapala OG Slim 6

The 2019 Bassmaster Classic champ Ott Defoe sits down with In-Fisherman Associate Publisher Todd Ceisner, to talk about Rapala's new OG Slim 6 crankbait. The OG Slim 6 will feature a flat-sided, balsa body, and will dive around 6 feet. Featuring a circuit board lip, the OG Slim 6 deflects off of cover better than traditional plastic lips. Offered in 14 colors and available in tackle stores Fall 2020. MSRP $10.99.

Make Your Own Tackle Box with Plano Edge Flex

Make Your Own Tackle Box with Plano Edge Flex

Plano's Charlie Davis and In-Fisherman's Rob Neumann talk about the new Plano Edge Flex as part of the 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Field Skills: Want to be a better shooter? The first step is perfecting your release.6 Steps to the Perfect Trigger Pull on Your Compound Bow Hunting How-To

6 Steps to the Perfect Trigger Pull on Your Compound Bow

Jace Bauserman - August 27, 2020

Field Skills: Want to be a better shooter? The first step is perfecting your release.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation provides places to start.Are You a New Hunter Looking for Help? Hunting How-To

Are You a New Hunter Looking for Help?

Adam Heggenstaller - August 19, 2020

The National Shooting Sports Foundation provides places to start.

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some great bass pond fishing.Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You Bass

Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You

Dan Anderson

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some...

Sight Savvy: Different styles of bow sights each have their strengths—and weaknesses.How to Pick the Right Bow Sight for You Bows

How to Pick the Right Bow Sight for You

Tony Hansen - August 25, 2020

Sight Savvy: Different styles of bow sights each have their strengths—and weaknesses.

See More Trending Articles

More News

The previous record also was caught in the same Panhandle river.New State Record Flathead Catfish Caught in Florida Records

New State Record Flathead Catfish Caught in Florida

Game & Fish Staff - August 31, 2020

The previous record also was caught in the same Panhandle river.

Listed as endangered just half a century ago, the American alligator now thrives across the South and represents one of our great conservation success stories.Once Endangered, the American Alligator Survived Potential Disaster Thanks to Conservation Efforts News

Once Endangered, the American Alligator Survived Potential Disaster Thanks to Conservation Efforts

Carolee Anita Boyles - September 21, 2020

Listed as endangered just half a century ago, the American alligator now thrives across the...

President Donald J. Trump put himself into the nation's history books for one of the most significant pieces of conservation legislation to ever be signed into law.President Trump Signs Great American Outdoors Act into Law News

President Trump Signs Great American Outdoors Act into Law

Lynn Burkhead - August 05, 2020

President Donald J. Trump put himself into the nation's history books for one of the most...

The move is described as the largest expansion of hunt-fish opportunities in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service history.Trump Admin Opens 2.3 Million New Acres to Hunting & Fishing Conservation & Politics

Trump Admin Opens 2.3 Million New Acres to Hunting & Fishing

Lynn Burkhead - August 19, 2020

The move is described as the largest expansion of hunt-fish opportunities in U.S. Fish and...

See More News

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now