The Toho Marine Elite One Man Series Championship was held November 18 and 19 on Lake Okeechobee. The anglers in the top 30 in points or those that fished seven of the nine qualifiers automatically qualified to fish the tournament. On day one, take off was at safelight and the boat orders were based on point standings. Day one ended with a 4 PM weigh-in and Mark Lundgren in the lead with 17.95 pounds. Following not too far behind was Gary Niemi with 16.73 pounds. Holding Third was Ryan Hoover with 14.11 pounds which included the second big fish of the day. The big fish on Saturday was caught by Joe Clements, a 7.57 pounder.. not quite a trophy catch there Joe.
Day two the launch order was reversed and all anglers were due in by 3PM. The weights were down for the majority of the field from the day before. Mark Lundgren held on to the lead at the end of day two with 12.16 pounds. A miracle perhaps considering having an issue with his prop just after noon with not a spare on board after loaning it out the day before to help a fellow angler. He thought his chances of winning had sunk along with the pieces of his prop! He continued to cast while seeking an accessible place to wait if by chance he needed a tow back in. Even caught a decent fish to add his bag. Mark started making calls to anglers on the lake he thought were close by for help. Ryan Hoover, who was sitting third at the beginning of the day, agreed to bring Mark a spare prop he had and basically took himself out of the competition as he had no fish caught yet that day anyhow. Ryan made the run from the Kissimmee River to the Shoal to save Mark only for them both to discover that prop wouldn’t work. Showing true sportsmanship, Ryan told Mark to take his boat so he could return before weigh-in. Mark made it in time, with what he didn’t think would be enough to win again on day two. But to his surprise, it was enough to pull off a two day win and the Championship and a nice check for $5000. Just in time for Christmas. Mark not only won the Championship, but he also earned back to back Angler of the Year in this series.
Gary Niemi managed to hold on to second place despite only weighing in 11.52 pounds. This earned him $2600 plus 2 new Enigma HPT Rods. There was a tie for Third Place between John Dial and Jim Watkins. They split the $1250 payout.
Making the biggest climb in weights was John Wayne moving from 20th place to 5th with the biggest sac of the day a five fish limit of 16.90 pounds that included the second big fish of the day a 7.62 pounder.
The participants celebrated each others victories through out the season at a banquet that weekend at the Brahma Bull Restaurant. Awarding Mark Lundgren Angler of the Year, David Mahon for the Biggest Stringer of the Year, 29.86 pounds and Rodney Glunt for catching the Biggest Fish of the Year, a 8.75 pound Trophy Catch!!
Space Coast report from Brian Pounds of Southern Fishing Charters:
The mid sections of the Mosquito Lagoon has had an awesome Trout bite! We’re working sandy shorelines with spotted grass patches with Gulp Shrimp. Most of the Trout are anywhere from 16″-23″. The Redfish has been decent as well, we’re catching a few in the same areas as the Trout. Also the Black Drum have been roaming the flats from day to day. If you happen to find them use dead Shrimp on a jig head.
Have a great First weekend in December and tight lines!