Drawing Dave Lefebre, Erie PA, both were ready for day to transpire. The weather had been overcast and windy, making the Big O somewhat dicey to fish. Being a super weedy natural lake with little contours, the wind can muddy large sections of the lake. If this happens, you’re sunk. Plus, this majority of the largest bass were sulking under ultra-thick matted weeds. With this, Spiro rested his hopes on his prowess with a flipping rod.
“We headed south but the majority of boats went north.” Confirmed Spiro “we were planning on flipping the grass. The bigger fish were in the cane, lilies and hyacinth beds. We spend the whole day pitching and flipping a big weight into the grass.” Lake Okeechobee, by all local report,s had the potential of being amazing. Numerous bass over 10 pounds were being caught. There was a true likelihood that a five fish limit over 40 pounds would be caught. With that in mind, Spiro was set.
|Spiro's big one. |
(Photo: Brett Carlson FLW)
Florida fishing is very similar to fishing the weedy lakes of his home province of Ontario but the fish are much more powerful. “Man when those fish hit, they smashed it. Three pounders felt like 10 pounders.” Admits Spiro. Spiro anchored his first day catch with an 8-01 bass. (He tied with Mike Daley for biggest bass. Daley also had an 8-01 bass). “When that big one hit I smashed it. I tried to get the head up and just kept cranking.” Recalls Spiro
“I could have had a 30 pound bag that day!” announces Spiro. “When the big fish hit they want to jump which actually makes them easier to land but I had a bass over 10lbs that I couldn’t move.” He admits to losing four bass over five pounds on the first day. If they dive towards the bottom or swim sideways, you cannot reef them out. Okeechobee is known for big bass and Spiro caught a 9 and 7 pounder in practice with 2011 FLW Cup Champion Scott Martin of Clewiston, Florida. Scott and his father, legendary pro angler and TV host, Roland Martin has helped sharpen Spiro’s skill level on this lake.His five bass weighed 20-02 pounds with his biggest being 8-01 pounds. This allowed him to capture the lead on day 1. Dave Lefebre fished a jig all day and amassed 16-08lbs. for day one.
The correct gear is important for this combat style of fishing. Spiro felt that his set up was very well suited for Okeechobee.
Rod: Dobyns Champion Extreme 795
Line: Sufix 65 pound braid
Lure: Trigger X 4” Flapping Bug in Black Blue with a Secret Lures punch skirt
Hook: Gamakatsu 6/0 worm hook with keeper (new for 2012)
Weight: Reins 1oz. bullet weight
|The Big O at Clewiston |
(Photo: Spiro Agouros)
Teamed up with Bryan Thrift, NC, the pair headed back down to the south end. The south end of Lake Okeechobee is a huge area with thousands of reed beds and weedy flats. Amazingly, Spiro admits to always fishing in a crowd. It was not uncommon to be in a pack of boat even though they’re kilometer after kilometer of cover to fish.
“The second day was very much the same as day 1.” Declares Spiro. “The funny thing was Bryan hates flipping. He is a power fishing who wants to cast and crank. Bryan knew he had to flip the mats to catch them but he wasn’t happy about it.” Something amazing happened during day 2 that Spiro will remember for a while. Bryan, who was fishing a jig all day, nailed an 8 pounder and then within a few minutes hit another one that weighted 8-07, the second largest bass caught during the tournament. Having two giant bass back to back was super cool. Spiro explained that “for the second day, I kept with the exact same tackle as day one and just fished. The big problem was the wind. It would compact the grass mats making them so difficult to fish.” Even with over a full ounce, the bait wouldn’t fall. “I tired swimbaits and topwater but the big bass wouldn’t bite. You would get short bass on them but nothing big. All the big bass were under the cover and you had to fish the mats if you wanted to catch them.” Acknowledges Agouros.
By the end of day 2 with a limit of 12-13 pounds and a 10 bass two day total of 32-15 he retained the lead. Bryan Thrift’s five largest weighed 24-01 and rocketed him into the top 10.
For PART 2 come back on Thursday February 16.
Find out what happened on Day 3 when he was paired with Randall Tharp the eventual winner and Spiro’s perspective on being a co-angler.