When Leesburg angler Tim Frederick caught a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 14 ounces, he didn’t realize he actually had a much bigger haul.
That total was enough to put Tim over the top Sunday, Jan. 28, for the championship and $100,000 at the FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Evinrude, his first tour victory.
Tim’s four-day total of 20 bass weighing 85-4 gave him the dramatic win by a narrow 1-pound, 2-ounce margin over second-place pro Bryan Schmitt of Deale, Maryland, an FLW news release states. The event featured 188 of the best bass anglers in the world.
Tim’s previous best finish in Fishing League Worldwide Tour competition was 14th on the Harris Chain of Lakes in 2017.
“I’m still a little shocked,” Tim says in the release. “I didn’t think that I had as much weight that I did today. Some of the best fisherman on the planet were fishing in this event and to come out on top after four days, this is a dream come true.”
The event kicked off the 2018 FLW Tour season. Tim and fishing fans can relive all the action when the FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee premieres from noon-1pm March 28 on the NBC Sports Network. The next tour event is scheduled for Feb. 22-25 on the Harris Chain of Lakes, hosted by Leesburg and Lake County.
Tim caught his bass throughout the week by targeting isolated reed clumps in Harney Pond.
“I was so stressed (Sunday),” Tim says in the release. “I had a small limit and I had missed a good one earlier and I did not know whether to leave or to stay. I had to sit down for a minute and regain my composure and I decided to stick it out in that area. I had nothing else to go to, and that place had been special to me. With just 10 minutes left in the day, I caught a big one. It was a $100,000 fish.”
The “big one” was an estimated 8-pounder that most certainly was the winning fish. Tim says that all of his fish over the weekend came on a pair of stickbaits—a Strike King Ocho (black with blue flake or black with blue tail) and a Strike King Shim-E-Stick (black with blue flake or black with blue tail)—and a Strike King Pure Poison Swim Jig (green-pumpkin) with a Rage Bug trailer.
“I think the keys for me this week were my Power-Poles, my Florida knowledge, and patience,” Tim says in the release. “It would have been near impossible for me to fish some of the areas that I did this week if I wouldn’t have been able to pole down. And when I would first pull up to a spot, I would target the key areas. Sometimes it took multiple casts and fishing extremely slow, but every fish that I caught were in those key areas.”
When Tim turned pro and began competing on the FLW Tour, the first event of his career was in February 2016 at Lake Okeechobee. He managed to catch just one bass in two days of competition and finished 169th—last place. Now he can erase that memory with a first-place finish.
The top 10 pros on Lake Okeechobee:
- Tim Frederick, Leesburg, 20 bass, 85-4, $100,000.
- Bryan Schmitt, Deale, Md., 20 bass, 84-2, $30,000.
- Mark Rose, West Memphis, Ark., 20 bass, 78-5, $25,500.
- Jared McMillan, Belle Glade, 20 bass, 73-13, $20,100.
- Brandon McMillan, Clewiston, 20 bass, 69-12, $19,000.
- Christopher Brasher, Longview, Texas, 20 bass, 67-4, $18,000.
- Chad Morgenthaler, Reeds Spring, Mo., 20 bass, 67-1, $17,000.
- Scott Canterbury, Odenville, Ala., 20 bass, 65-15, $16,000.
- Cory Johnston, Cavan, Ontario, Canada, 20 bass, 60-5, $15,500.
- Chris Johnston, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, 20 bass, 59-5, $14,000.
In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement, and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field of 376 anglers competed in the two-day opening round. Co-angler competition concluded following Friday’s weigh-in, while the top 30 pros based on their two-day accumulated weight advanced to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros continued competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.
Jeffrey Mathews, of Maitland, won the co-angler division and $20,000 with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 42 pounds, 1 ounce, followed by Tyler Woolcott, of Port Orange, who finished in second place with 10 bass weighing 37 pounds, 15 ounces, worth $7,600, according to the release.
Throughout the season, anglers compete for points in hopes of qualifying for the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of professional bass fishing. The event is scheduled for Aug. 10-12 on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
For complete details and updated information, visit flwfishing.com.