Yesterday I got the chance to fish with an upcoming star on the FLW Tour, my friend Justin Lucas. Justin and I both competed as Co-Anglers on the West Coast in FLW events (he won the two events that we both entered) and now we have both found our way to the South. He was down in Florida doing some things for his sponsor The National Guard, so we decided to go fish the Big O on Sunday.
The fishing on Okeechobee has been awesome lately and I was eager to get out there and try to catch some fish. The conditions weren't favorable; dropping water levels, cold air temps, predicted high winds and even some rain. We headed out and started fishing and found the bite to be pretty slow. As the day warmed the fishing seemed to get better and better but we never found any big fish.
As we fished, it was amazing to see how quickly he picked up on little things. The types of grass, depth, cover, etc. Once he found what he was looking for, the fish were there. Being the first time on Okeechobee, he picked up things very quickly. We spent most of the day throwing Speedworms, Skinny Dippers and Swim Jigs. All of them produced, but overall it was a pretty slow day. I was able to fish with one his Powell Max rods and have to say, that thing was awesome.
Lake Okeechobee is huge and it all looks the same. Living here, I kind of got used to it, but seeing Justin's reaction to the lake reminded me of just how confusing and unique Lake O is compared to lakes across the country. After fishing yesterday, Justin realized there is alot of water to search to find the big ones.
Justin was a very successful Co-Angler and now has started off really strong as a pro. I asked him how he handled the transistion from the back of the boat to the front. He said it was actually harder to start fishing as a Co-Angler since he was used to fishing from the front deck all the time. Of course the competition was much better on the Pro side, but he finished 14th on the Western FLW Series points list and cashed two checks on the Tour while also fishing the Forrest Wood Cup. He is the perfect example of the progression anglers make from Co-Angler to Pro and is covered in last week's FLWOutdoors.com article; Don't Call them Amateurs. Check it out, it has some great info.
It was a good day on the water and I had fun hearing more about life on the tour. I even learned a thing or two on my home lake. Watch for Justin on the American Fishing Series and FLW Tour this year.
This is an interview my wife Tanya did with Justin a few years back.