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Fitzgerald Wins Florida South Season Opener on Lake Okeechobee

ATHENS, Ala. –   Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, FL won the American Bass Anglers Open Series Florida South tournament, held January 13th on the Lake Okeechobee.  Running out of Roland Martin Marina & Resort in Clewiston, FL Trevor caught five bass weighing 21.50 pounds including a 7.19-pound kicker. For the Boater Division victory, Fitzgerald took home a check for $5000 for his win and an additional $630 for the Big Bass.

“I ran pretty far north and found some fish in some reeds. I was flipping and pitching reeds with a Fitzgerald Fishing 3/4oz Texas jig on a Fitzgerald Fishing Versa 7’6” heavy rod. I caught that seven pounder around 1:00pm. We started catching fish right away with swim jigs and chatter-baits, but the better fish came later in the day on the jig.”  Fitzgerald said.  

In second for the boaters, Gary Milicevic of Labelle, FL landed a five-bass tournament limit going 21.16 pounds. He collected $1050 for the effort.

“I caught fish all day long. Most of my fish came on a speed worm. I had one fish about 8 pounds come off and another about 5 pounds come off, but that’s just the way it goes.”  Milicevic said. 

Robert Branaugh of Malabar, FL took third for the boaters with five bass going 17.07 pounds with a 5.17-pound kicker. He earned $800 for his catch.

“I ran real far north and fished a senko all day. I started to pick-up a flipping-stick, but I kept getting too many bites to put down that senko.” Branaugh said.

Finishing fourth, Dave Sheffield of Davie, FL landed a five-bass limit for 16.65 pounds.  Robert Twiss of Sunrise, FL rounded out the top five boaters with five bass at 16.22 pounds topped by a 4.47-pound kicker.

In the Co-Angler Division, Steven Forssell of Lake Worth, FL won with three bass going 17.06 pounds including an 8.42-pound kicker. He pocketed a check for $1500 for his win and an additional $260 for the Big Bass.

“I was fishing up on the north end of the lake and threw a chatter-bait all day. I lost a 5-pounder that would have helped me. This is my first win and it feels great.”  Forssell said. 

Taking second for the co-anglers, Ernie Johnson of Okeechobee, FL brought in a three-bass division limit weighing 12.79 pounds with a 6.05-pound kicker. He collected $500 for the effort. 

“I caught my fish on a chatter-bait on the south end of the lake. I didn’t lose any fish that would have helped me.”  Johnson said. 

Eric Andrews of Davenport, FL placed third among the co-anglers with three bass going 11.81 pounds. He earned $400 for his catch.

“I was fishing Harney Pond with a chatter-bait all day. The three fish that I weighed were the first three fish I caught. Everything else I caught was small.”  Andrews said. 

In fourth place among the co-anglers, Phillip Ford of Clewiston, FL brought in three bass for 11.67 pounds. Donald Dunnam of Okeechobee, FL finished in fifth place with three bass at 11.01 pounds.

Slated for February 17th, the next tournament will be held on Lake Okeechobee out of Scott Driver Park in Okeechobee, FL. At the end of the season, the best anglers from across the nation advance the 2019 Ray Scott Championship, Location to be announced.

For more information on this tournament, call Billy Benedetti, tournament manager, at 256-230-5632 or ABA at 256-232-0406. On line, see www.ramopenseries.com .

About American Bass Anglers: American Bass Anglers is committed to providing low cost, close to home tournaments for the weekend angler and at the same time offer each competitor an upward path for individual angler progression. For more information about American Bass Anglers, the Ram Truck Open Series, the American Fishing Tour or the American Couples Series, visit www.americanbassanglers.com.

American Bass Anglers, Inc. is supported by Triton Boats, Mercury Outboards, GEICO, Berkley, Abu Garcia, T-H Marine, Livingston Lures, Best Western Hotels, Maui Jim, Power Pole, Garmin, and SiriusXM Marine Weather. American Bass Anglers, Inc. can be contacted at (256) 232-0406 or by visiting americanbassanglers.com



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American Fishing Tour Upcoming Events

2018 Upcoming Schedule

Division     Date Lake Register Link
Louisiana - Shreveport 2/24/2018 Hosston
Georgia - Eufaula 2/24/2018 Lake Eufaula
Texas - Houston 2/24/2018 Canyon Lake
Texas - Wichita Falls 2/24/2018 Nocona
Alabama Central 2/24/2018 Jordan
Arkansas North 2/24/2018 Maumelle
Alabama East Central 2/24/2018 Weiss Lake
South Carolina - Greenwood 2/25/2018 Murray
Texas - Houston 2/25/2018 Canyon Lake
Tennessee Central 2/25/2018 Percy Priest
DFW - Texas 2/25/2018 Grapevine
Texas - Sam Rayburn North 2/25/2018 Sam Rayburn

Plus Team Tour 2018 Schedule


Dates Lake/Info Register
3/04/2018 Neely Henry
5/20/2018 Wheeler
7/01/2018 Weiss


2/18/2018 Kentucky
4/22/2018 Kentucky
5/13/2018 Old Hickory
9/23/2018 Kentucky





American Couples Series Winter/Spring Events

Tennessee Northeast 3/3/2018 Ft Lound/Tellico Popler Springs
South Carolina 3/3/2018 Lake Murray Lighthouse Marina
Florida Northwest 3/10/2018 Seminole Seminole Lodge
Alabama North 3/10/2018 Guntersville Goosepond
Georgia 3/17/2018 Clarks Hill Mistletoe State Park
Tennessee Northeast 3/17/2018 Chicakamauga Dayton Ramp
Alabama Central 3/17/2018 Lake Mitchell Higgins Ferry
Georgia 3/18/2018 Clarks Hill Mistletoe State Park
North Carolina 3/18/2018 Lake Wylie Southepointe Landing
South Carolina 4/7/2018 Lake Keowee South Cove
Alabama North 4/7/2018 Guntersville Goosepond
Kentucky 4/8/2018 Kentucky Lake Big Bear
Tennessee Northeast 4/14/2018 Watts Bar Blue Springs
Florida Northwest 4/14/2018 Apalachicola River White City
North Carolina 4/15/2018 Lake James Black Bear Landing
Georgia 4/21/2018 Lanier Balus Creek Park
Alabama Central 4/21/2018 Alabama River Swift Creek
Tennessee Northeast 4/28/2018 Melton Hill Melton Hill Dam
South Carolina 4/28/2018 Lake Hartwell Greenpond
Kentucky 4/29/2018 Lake Barkley Kuttawa

Open Series 2018 Upcoming Events

Register Division_Name: Dates: Lake/Info
Virginia 2/24/2018 Kerr
Florida Central 2/24/2018 Kissimmee Chain
South East Texas 2/24/2018 Sam Rayburn
Tennesee Central 2/24/2018 Center Hill
Mississippi 3/03/2018 Columbus Pool
Georgia 3/10/2018 Seminole
Oklahoma 3/10/2018 Arkansas River
Kentucky 3/10/2018 Kentucky Lake
Florida Central 3/17/2018 Harris Chain
South Texas 3/17/2018 Lake Conroe
Alabama North 3/17/2018 Wheeler
North Carolina 3/24/2018 Hickory
Florida South 3/24/2018 Okeechobee
East Texas 3/24/2018 Lake Palestine
Tennesee Central 3/24/2018 Percy Priest
Maryland 3/31/2018 Potomac