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Bass Busters Catch & Release Tournament Lake Okeechobee

Lake Okeechobee

by John Nipper

March 9th, 2024 dawned bright and warm on the shores of Lake Okeechobee, a popular fishing destination in Florida.

The air was filled with anticipation as anglers from the Bass Busters Silver division gathered for the Catch and Release Bass Tournament. Excitement rippled through the crowd as boats were launched, and competitors waited their turn to take off toward their favorite fishing spots on the lake. Myself (John Nipper of the Mullet Rapper) and Jeff Kaulbars of Fort Myers Teamed up for a challenging day of fishing.

Bass Busters Catch & Release Tournament Lake Okeechobee by John Nipper on Visit Everglades City

Our team found ourselves in the 26th position to start. The countdown echoed over the bullhorn—23, 24, 25, and finally, 26. With the signal, we roared off, the wind whipping through our hair, and the boat cutting through the water. We raced past other anglers, some pushing their vessels to speeds of 75 mph and beyond, all eager to claim the best spots and start the tournament.

Arriving first at our chosen location, the grass flats on the south side of the lake, we set up our gear. It wasn’t long before other boats converged on the area, confirming its status as a favored spot. The day promised warm weather, a short morning rain, and clouds throughout—a forecast that would prove to be unexpectedly inaccurate.

Despite the misleading weather predictions, we persevered. The winds were strong, occasionally relenting, but we fished the flats throughout the day, trying various lures and techniques. Top-Water Frogs, ChatterBait, Shad Tails, Zoom Speed Worms—our arsenal was diverse. However, the Zoom Speed Worms emerged as the clear winner, consistently bringing in catches.

As the clock neared 2:45, we reluctantly had to abandon our fruitful spot and race back to the launch site to meet the 3:10 deadline. With minutes to spare, we made it back, adrenaline pumping. It was time to weigh in our best five catches of the day. Prizes were at stake for the total weight and the two biggest individual fish.

Bass Busters Catch & Release Tournament Lake Okeechobee by John Nipper on Visit Everglades City

First place boasted an impressive total weight of 29 lbs, with the biggest fish weighing 8.30 lbs. The second-largest catch was 7.52 lbs. Our team ended up securing 7th place, with a total fish weight of 20.28 lbs. Our biggest fish, weighing in at 6.95 lbs, earned us 3rd place in that category. It was a successful day on the water, showcasing the best of Florida living—sunshine, camaraderie, and the thrill of the catch.

Bass Busters Catch & Release Tournament Lake Okeechobee by John Nipper on Visit Everglades City
2024-04-09T11:07:17-04:00April 12, 2024|Fishing|

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