Larry Cruce captures Lake Okeechobee tournament by himself

2016-03-19 Larry Cruce with 7.84 Big Bass at Okeechobee
2016-03-20 Elder/Smith Accepting Small Creel Award at Okeechobee
2016-03-20 Fred Reid with 3.74 at Okeechobee
2016-03-20 Tom Southwick with 4.89 at Okeechobee
2016-03-20 Hampton/Kopf 17.70 Okeechobee
2016-03-20 Haga/Metzler with 20.23 at Okeechobee
2016-03-20 Hinman/Spradling With 20.90 at Okeechobee
2016-03-20 Hinman/Winter with 21.79 at Okeechobee
2016-03-19 Jeff Merritt with 6.71 Lunker at Okeechobee
2016-03-19 Biles/Barber with 20.96 at Okeechobee
2016-03-20 Biles/Barber with 23.30 at Okeechobee
2016-03-20 Larry Cruce Winning at Okeechobee
2016-03-19 Larry Cruce with 25.58 at Okeechobee

Team type tournaments are usually dominated by good team fisherman, both contributing to success in tournament competition but Larry Cruce of Titusville proved that one man can be better than two at the two day event held on March 19th-20th in Lake Okeechobee out of Harney Pond Canal ramp. The first day was plagued with rain showers then sheets of rain accompanied by wind and finally capped off with a torrential down pour and lightning at the end. The pavilion near the ramp came in very handy during the weigh-in.
Larry was not fazed by the inclement weather nor the flotilla of boats around him as he outclassed all other teams on day one by bringing in a five fish limit weighing 25.58 pounds. The monster bag was capped by the days largest bass weighing 7.84 pounds which also turned out to be the biggest of the weekend. His Sunday limit of 19.87 pounds completed a great two days of catching fish with a total of 45.45 pounds and a first place finish. Just think how much he could have boated if his partner Tim Iler had been there instead of recooperating at home from his recent surgery.

Jackie Barber and B.J.Biles used a good day one bag of 20.96 pounds to stay close to the leader and a great day two bag of 23.30 pounds totaling 44.26 pounds for a hard fought second place finish. Their two best bass of each day were 6.16 and 6.11 pounds respectively making them very hard to beat on Lake Okeechobee.

The name of the game was consistency for third place finishers Don Hinman and Ken Winter . Their near identical weight for each day 21.79 Saturday and 21.47 pounds on Sunday for a total of 43.26 pounds shows just how consistant their catch was on both days. This type of day is hard to duplicate given the changing lake conditions and the tremendous fishing pressure this lake gets on weekends. Their 7.10 pound big bass on Saturday narrowly missed being the best of the day by ounces.

Some of the other notable bags included a 21.12 pound bag with a 6.71 pound big bass by Jeff Merritt and Brian Chapman. President Dwayne Haga and his partner Dave Metzler salvaged a good finish by boating 20.33 pounds on Sunday after a tough wind blown Saturday. The one day wonder team of Bob Barnette and Tom Southwick came down on Sunday to catch 19.32 pounds. The team of Gary Hinman and alternate Jack Spradling came in fourth place with 35.36 pound two day total and with a 7.45 pound big bass came away with big bass honors, points and cash on Sunday.

This was one of the clubs best days on Lake Okeechobee as the results will show. The only problems occurred at the ramp as Alan and Wayne have now taken over the title of peckerheads as they were called by a irate Iowa perch jerker who did not like the way they cut in line and launched their boat. Bob Barnettes truck and trailer was mistaken by another boater who tried to load their boat on his trailer after Bob backed down the ramp. Mike trailer finally rusted enough to almost break in half as they were loading up the boat on Friday but with a little MacGuyver engineering they were able to save the weekend and made it back to Malabar.

How was it done and with what?
1st place Larry Cruce used a 8" zoom old monster in candy bug color and a junebug swimbait- skinny dipper and some top water

2nd place Jackie Barber/B.J. Biles used culprit worms 7" to 8" long in junebug with a small weight

3rd place Don Hinman/Ken Winter used chicken bones and mini flukes also some worms

Big Bass Saturday Larry Cruce 7.84 pounds
Big Bass Sunday Gary Hinman 7.45 pounds

Small Creel for two day total Alan Elder/Wayne Smith received a very nice gift bag from Bitters Bait and Tackle.

Lake conditions:
water temp 69.5 degrees
wind out of the south west
water was dirty outside the islands but clear inside
air temp range 55 to 77 degrees