Okeechobee success!

What a great tournament! I’m very pleased to say I just finished in 3rd at the Bassmaster Elite, held Feb, 23-26, on Florida’s Lake Okeechobee.

Championship Sunday on the “Big O”, 2/26/17.

How did I do it? With the unwavering support of my family, friends and fans, the benefit of some successful, pre-cut-off, practice runs with my son, Sy — and the help of some great gear.

The gear? Let’s start with the rods… Fitzgerald Rods, all the way. My personal favorite – the aptly named, all-new, “Okeechobee” heavy flippin’ rod – plus the Titan HD and the 7 ft. heavy Vursa series. I had ’em all rigged and ready: and it took all of them to make it happen. I had to change it up every day — throughout the day!

I paired those Fitzgerald Rods with Lew’s Reels. The Pro Magnesium 7.5:1 – it only weighs 5.5 oz – and the Super Duty Speed Spool 7.1:1, for flipping.

The key “line” for the week? Seaguar! I hooked them all on my 50 lb, Flippin’ Braid, 25 lb. Tatsu fluorocarbon and Owner hooks. Owner’s 3/o Jungle Flipping hook was key. It’s a lightweight wire hook that is strong enough to handle heavy braided lines and “Big O” bites.

My baits included the Greenfish TATTotally Awesome Topwater — the key to my day one 7- and 5-pounders, and Bass Assassin products. My primary Bass Assassin baits were their Bang Lures Fat Job in Gold Rush color for flippin’ and the Pure Craw in Delta Neon for sight fishing. They all got it done.

My Phoenix, Mercury, and 10 in. action Bob’s Jackplate all played a major part in my success — allowing me to get into, and take off from, the shallow waters.

The new Garmin mapping capabilities lead me to my key bites. The one-foot contours are awesome!

Bass Mafia tackle organization also played an big role throughout the tournament. I have never been more organized. I have a Bass Mafia Terminal Coffin for finesse, and a separate setup for all my flippin’ terminal tackle. It helped me save time, BIG TIME!

Toyota Trucks Bonus Bucks — always have to say “Thank you!” to Toyota for the great towing. Plus, I got paid :-). Also, hats off to Leer for keeping the gear in the bed of my Tundra safe and dry.

My Power-Poles held me steady for the sight fishing — and helped me bag a steady 20 pound average for the entire Big O Elite!

Then there’s my “lucky” gear… Lucky Greenfish hat. Lucky black socks. Lucky stinky jersey — I never changed it — wore it all 4 days! Lucky Nike shoes. My “Buddy Evans gold coin”… thank you, Buddy Evans, for making such a difference in my family’s life.

Also… Thank you to my wonderful daughter, Gracie Prince 🙂 Love you girl! Thanks to my wonderful buddy for life, my son, Syler Prince (extra thanks for being my Okeechobee practice competition!). And, of course, tons of “thanks” to my incredible wife, Kelley!

I know many, many, fishy prayers were said… and answered. So I’d like to extend an extra special “thank you” to ALL of you prayer warriors :-). Couldn’t have done it without you!

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