by January 24, 2015

The first tournament in the 2015 season of the Rayovac FLW Series was held on Lake Okeechobee today. It was the largest field of all- time with 250 boats. This is the first tournament and kicks off the Rayovac FLW Series.

Val Osinski of Pompano Beach, Florida, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 25 pounds, 4 ounces Saturday to win the Rayovac FLW Series with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 70 pounds, 8 ounces. For his victory, Osinski earned $40,000.

FLW Rayovac Okeechobee-520

“This feels fantastic,” said Osinski, who earned the first Rayovac FLW Series victory of his career. “So much time and effort went into this tournament. I made a few adjustments every day and the key for me was my patience flipping. I was not worried about catching a lot of fish; I was looking for big fish.”

The strategy paid off for Osinski, as he managed to bring five-bass stringers weighing more than 25 pounds to the stage in two of the three days of competition. He fished transition areas near spawning flats in the south end of Okeechobee targeting isolated patches of heavy cover flipping a Gambler Why Not and a Gambler Burner Craw. Osinski estimated that he caught around 47 bass throughout the three-day tournament.

“I fished two colors throughout the week – Junebug Shadow Blue and Gold Rush. I used the Blue in the dirtier water,” Osinski said. “The first two days the bass would hit the bait as I was pulling it out of the mat. They were very aggressive strikes.

“Today was a challenge,” Osinski said. “The wind was blowing from the south but switched to blowing out of the north. I had to switch to a White Lightning-colored Gambler EZ Swimmer to fill out my limit. I went back to flipping in the afternoon and was able to boat my biggest bass – weighing 9 pounds, 10 ounces – around noon.”

When not fishing tournaments, Osinski has a full-time job as owner and CEO of Gambler Lures, famous for their popular baits that dominate on Florida fisheries. Osinski is excited about the remainder of the Rayovac Southeastern division events and believes he has a good shot to qualify for the Rayovac FLW Series Championship.

“I like Guntersville a lot,” Osinski went on to say. “I cashed a decent check there last year and it sets up well for me. Lake Seminole can be hit or miss for me, but it’s a grass lake which I am very comfortable on. I feel good about the rest of this season.”

The top 10 pros on Lake Okeechobee were:

1st:  Val Osinski, Pompano Beach, Fla., 15 bass, 70-8, $40,000

2nd: Brandon Medlock, Lake Placid, Fla., 15 bass, 58-4, $15,500

3rd:  Joe Holland, Jefferson, Maine, 15 bass, 50-8, $12,000

4th:  Mark Daniels Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., 15 bass, 48-11, $10,000

5th:  Trevor Fitzgerald, Belleview, Fla., 15 bass, 45-8, $9,000

6th: Brandon McMillan, Clewiston, Fla., 15 bass, 45-5, $8,000

7th: Tyler Suddarth, Valdosta, Ga., 15 bass, 44-5, $7,000

8th: Hensley Powell, Whitwell, Tenn., 15 bass, 43-9, $6,000

9th: Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., 15 bass, 43-7, $5,000

10th: Tim Frederick, Leesburg, Fla., 14 bass, 37-2, $4,000

Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.

Ryan Bowman of Seneca, South Carolina, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division Thursday – a largemouth weighing 9 pounds, 5 ounces that earned him the day’s Big Bass award of $300.

Local angler Moses Wilson of Clewiston, Fla., won the co-angler division and a Ranger Z117C with an Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor, with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 38 pounds, 2 ounces.

The top 10 co-anglers on Lake Okeechobee were:

1st: Moses Wilson, Clewiston, Fla., 15 bass, 38-2, Ranger Z117C with a 90-horsepower outboard

2nd: Tim Fox, Meridan, Miss., 14 bass, 34-10, $5,000

3rd: Daniel Beebe, Niota, Tenn., 12 bass, 33-15, $4,000

4th: Ken Crumpler, Marianna, Fla., 15 bass, 32-14, $3,500

5th: Johnny Nguyen, Tucson, Ariz., 13 bass, 32-1, $3,000

6th: Blaine Bucy, Weirton, W.Va., 15 bass, 30-13, $2,500

7th: Douglas Conklin, Saint Cloud, Fla., 14 bass, 29-12, $2,000

8th: Cody Pinchin, Middleburg, Fla., 14 bass, 29-11, $1,750

9th: Dennis Sprayberry, Lehigh Acres, Fla., 12 bass, 26-11, $1,500

10th:      Richard Predmore, Bainbridge, Ga., 10 bass, 24-11, $1,250

Steven Schoffstall of Chelsea, Alabama, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division Friday – a 9-pound, 13-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s Big Bass award of $200.

The Rayovac FLW Series consists of five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of three tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the opportunity to fish in the no-entry-fee Rayovac FLW Series Championship. The 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Championship is being held Oct. 29-31 on the Ohio River in Paducah, Kentucky.

The Rayovac FLW Series on Lake Okeechobee was hosted by Roland & Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort and the Hendry County Tourism Development Council. It was the first of three Southeastern Division tournaments of 2015. The next Rayovac FLW Series tournament will be a Western Division event, held Feb. 5-7, on Lake Havasu in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. For a complete schedule, visit FLWFishing.com.


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