Jessie Mizell of Sarasota, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 25 pounds, 11 ounces, Saturday to win the FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Gator Division tournament on April 25, 2016 at Lake Okeechobee presented by Minn Kota. For his victory, Mizell took home $5,336.
Mizell said he targeted bass that were feeding on bluegill in a lagoon along a 100-yard stretch near Harney Pond.
“When I heard the bluegill popping, I would head into the pads,” said Mizell, who earned the win in his first-ever event with FLW. “The water was clean on the outside of the hydrilla line, but that morning there was a southwest wind that blew in some dirty water so I decided to focus on the back side of the pads.
“I used a green-pumpkin Z-Man ChatterBait rigged with a Gambler Little EZ to catch my limit for the day,” Mizell continued. “I rolled it as slow as I could and just kept pecking at them. It was a grind, but I knew the fish were in there.”
Mizell said he made a midday adjustment which helped him catch nearly 12 keepers.
“In the morning, I lost a lot of fish,” said Mizell. “I was pulling the bait aside when they swiped at it and it scared them off. But after a while, I figured them out. I noticed they would eat it after I stopped cranking to let it drop, so that’s what I did throughout the rest of the day and it worked.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Jessie Mizell, Sarasota, Fla., five bass, 25-11, $5,336
2nd: Kail Stevens, Boynton Beach, Fla., five bass, 24-5, $2,668
3rd: Raymond Trudeau, Saint Cloud, Fla., five bass, 23-7, $1,780
4th: Jared Dial, Winter Haven, Fla., five bass, 23-6, $1,245
5th: Steve Yeatts, Palm Springs, Fla., five bass, 22-10, $1,487
6th: Richard Held, Lake Worth, Fla., five bass, 19-14, $978
7th: Mike Keyso Jr., North Port, Fla., five bass, 19-11, $889
8th: Victor Knight, Lehigh Acres, Fla., five bass, 19-9, $800
9th: Gary Milicevic, Labelle, Fla., five bass, 19-6, $712
10th: Roger Crafton, Boca Grande, Fla., five bass, 19-4, $623
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Yoan Alvarez of Miami, Florida, caught an 8-pound, 5-ounce bass – the biggest of the tournament in the pro division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $420.
Alex Mut of Miami, Florida, weighed in five bass totaling 22 pounds, 11 ounces, Saturday to win the co-angler division and earn $2,668.
Mut wins co-angler title and the top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Alex Mut, Miami, Fla., five bass, 22-11, $2,668
2nd: Walter Sargent, Boynton Beach, Fla., five bass, 19-2, $1,334
3rd: Christopher Kelley, Port Saint Lucie, Fla., five bass, 17-1, $888
4th: Michael Chadwick, La Belle, Fla., five bass, 14-9, $623
5th: Terry Chapman, Brooksville, Fla., five bass, 13-15, $534
6th: Robert Turcotte, Naples, Fla., five bass, 13-7, $489
7th: Matthew Wolfe Jr., Casstown, Ohio, five bass, 13-6, $445
8th: David Bozeman, Ocala, Fla., five bass, 13-5, $400
9th: General Johnson, Fort Myers, Fla., four bass, 13-3, $356
10th: Greg Smith, Naples, Fla., five bass, 13-1, $311
William Brown of Davie, Florida, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division, a fish weighing 7 pounds, 4 ounces and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $420.
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 13-15 Regional Championship on Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Georgia. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.
The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 120 tournaments throughout the season, five in each division. The top 50 boaters and co-anglers from each division qualify for a regional tournament and are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2016 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 235 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information visit FLWFishing.com and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Periscope: @FLWFishing.