CLEWISTON – When South Florida heats up and the water temperature creeps into the mid to upper 80s, anglers start talking about the Dog Days of Summer. But on Saturday, (June 11) Lake Okeechobee decided the start of summer needed more of a celebration than a hibernation. With a record-breaking event, it was Hawg Day Afternoon.
Qualifier number two of the Roland Martin Marine Center Series on June 11, 2022, presented by HUK fired up early with the eager team of James Klein and Craig Mathews bringing a limit to the stage two hours before the official weigh-in was to begin. With a concern for fish care, they gambled on leaving the rest of the 165 teams on the water and put their bag on the scales: 37 pounds, 4 ounces. That’s just five fish! That’s a new RMMC Series record.
“We were culling 5 pounders,” Mathews said. “We probably caught 50 fish today. Biggest bag we’ve ever caught.”
“We were fishing Fire House Baits stick bait in dark with a blue tip,” Klein said. “Quarter ounce weight just working the bottom.”
The record limit not only led to the winning check of $6,300, but also netted the team top Mercury Contingency, Top HUK Winner and second big bass for one big payday.
In second place with a total weight of 28.87 pounds was the father and son team of Alex Terescenko Sr. & Jr.
“I was targeting bluegill beds and ran into some spawning fish as well,” Terescenko Jr said. “We caught fish from first light to lines up. And it’s definitely a blessing to fish with my father.”
Rounding out the top three was the team of Nicholas Hoinig and Matt Wieteha with a total weight of 28.5 pounds anchored by a 7.99 pounder on Gambler Goat Swimjig with an EZ Swimmer. They also caught a few on a frog to cap off the catch and net the team $1,600 for the third place finish.
Not only did the day produce the record-breaking winning weight but the top 24 teams brought in 20 pound plus bags with well over half the field weighing in 5 fish limits. Just take a look at the gallery. It’s a non-stop parade of monster bags. Dog Days of Summer? Hardly. This big-bass party is just getting started.
As the highest paying team tournament trail in Florida, the payouts continued deep into the 165 team field for the second qualifier of the 2022 season.
The U.S. Sugar Big Bass of 9.12 pounds earned Brad Gibson $500. Co-Winner James Klein brought in the 2nd Big Bass of 8.98 pounds and earned him $100 Gambler Bucks. As the highest finishing anglers to cross the stage in HUK Gear the champions also received an additional $250 and another $250 as the highest finishing Mercury powered team. Sharon Harris received $100 from Mary Ann Martin as the highest fishing Female Angler. The highest finishing Mercury Youth Angler earned Dalton McKinstry $100. Gilbert Chevrolet presented the team of Rick Wilhelm and Dell Hatfield $250 as the highest finishing Gilbert Chevrolet owner. And with 5 bass weighing just 5.78 pounds, the team of John Tavano and Ernie Johnson turned the smallest limit into $300 from AV Inspection– again
That’s how you welcome Summer on Lake Okeechobee. A record-breaking second act that is leading up to the biggest season yet and a championship finale in December like never before. Make sure you don’t miss out and register your team early for the next qualifier on Oct. 8, 2022.