At the Roland Martin Marina Center Series tournament on Okeechobee, on May 6, 2023, some unbelievable bass fishing took place and the weigh-in was proof that Okeechobee is still the place of dreams for bass fishermen. Imagine a scenario where catching an even 30-pound limit of bass not only didn’t win, but didn’t even get you in the top 20. That’s right. You read that right. A 30.22 pound bag was 20th place in this tournament.
But it gets even crazier. Imaging fishing a 177-boat team tournament, and a 28-pound limit of largemouth bass does not get you a check. Yep. That happened too. This is the best paying tournament trail in Florida and it pays 30 places. The 31st place team had an awesome day and caught 28.42 pounds of bass and didn’t make a check. That is mind-blowing.
Scott Martin and his daughter Hillary fished and weighed 29.58 pounds of bass for 23rd place. He said they caught every fish on top.
Maybe the best part of the story was that the winning team was a father, Preston Heisler and his 11-year-old son, Tevyn. They weighed an incredible limit of Florida-strain largemouth bass that weighed 36.82 pounds. Tevyn said he was the net man for most of the morning but then added an 8-pounder to their creel later in the day. His bait of choice was a black and blue Chatterbait.
This is a historic day of tournament bass fishing for Okeechobee. We don’t know that anyone has ever seen that many 30-pound bags in one tournament on Okeechobee or any Florida lake for that matter. Several anglers reached out and pointed out that there was a Bass Champs tournament on Lake Falcon back in 2010 where there were 26 30-pound bags back in the boom period of Falcon Lake. The previous year the same thing happened in an FLW Everstart Series in 2009 on Falcon Lake. In this Okeechobee event, 20 pounds was 66th place. Just an unreal perfect storm of a historic bass fishing destination that has rebounded like few would ever have believed.