The opening day of competition for the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event on Lake Okeechobee is in the books, and after a tough day of fishing Peter Cherkas of Des Moines, Iowa is in the lead out of 250 boats with 20 pounds even. Zach Crider of Tunnel Hill, Georgia is in second place with 19 pounds 4 ounces, and Justin Morgan of Okeechobee, Florida is in 3rd with 18 pounds 4 ounces. On an unseasonably cold, cloudy day only 1/3 of the pros had more than 10 pounds, and approximately 1/3 were unable to catch a 5-fish limit. For complete tournament results click here.
Readers of this website are aware of how generous Dearal Rodgers of Camden, SC has been about sharing information and his knowledge with all of us, and we are pleased to report that Dearal is in 20th place after Day 1. His bag was anchored by this 6 pound, 11 ounce brute.
After a tough practice in which 2-pounders came fairly easily but big bites were few and far between, Dearal is very thankful to be in the position he is in. In practice Dearal caught a couple of good fish on a particular moving bait and realized he was onto something, and he committed to fishing that bait again today. He caught all of the fish he weighed on it before 11:00, and then that bite shut off. He flipped grass until weigh-in time but was never able to upgrade.
Tomorrow Dearal has a late time slot and he will fish from 7:30 – 4:45. He says he needs to get something going after his morning bite ends. The forecast is for rain, clouds, and 26 mile per hour winds (!), but Dearal is looking forward to fishing hard. I asked about whether he’d had any pain in his wrist (from a work-related injury suffered several years ago), as I understood it had bothered him a bit over multiple tough practice days. Dearal laughed that when the big one bit he “thought he had a brand new wrist.” We all know how a successful fishing trip can make whatever ails us feel a little less significant!
Good luck to Dearal and the other anglers on day 2 tomorrow – here’s to hoping their biggest fish are yet to come.