By Luigi De Rose
|Nik Kayler, wearing the blue jacket, and Bill Kisiah pictured here |
before the start of Day 1. (Photo: FLW)
On Thursday January 4th, the anglers of the Costa FLW Series were ready to kick off the 2018 season on Lake Okeechobee. Anglers were met with frigid temperatures and howling winds. As the scales closed on the first day, the weights were historically low but there was also a missing boat. Pro angler Bill Kisiah of Slidell, LA and Co-angler Nik Kayler of Apopka, Florida failed to check in and were considered missing some where on Lake Okeechobee.
FLW staff and friends of the anglers notified the authorities to start an official search. By 11:15pm, FLW posted an up-date stating that boater Bill Kisiah was found alive. His boat had washed up along the shoreline near He was initially transported to local hospital but later moved to Belle Glade, Florida. Bill was initially treated for exposure and hypothermia but by Friday morning local reports stated he was listed in serious condition.
FLW quickly cancelled the remaining tournament days to focus on the search and for respect of the missing anglers and their families.
The search for Nik Kayler continued all weekend. Operations were being conducted under the guidance of the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Department, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard.
After exhausted searches by air and boat, Nik Kayler was yet to be found.