CLEWISTON – Don and Matt Demott are no strangers to the sweet taste of victory on Lake Okeechobee. On Saturday, Nov. 4, the father and son team once again experienced all the legendary Florida lake has to offer and finished off with one request — “Check, please!”
The final qualifier of the Roland Martin Marine Center Series presented by HUK on Nov.4, was a little challenging in windy conditions, but that’s when experience and talent take over. With a little discovery during practice, the father and son duo took the hint and turned it into gold.
“Practice was pretty tough,” said the younger Demott. “We found one good fish and decided that’s where we would start. It clicked early and continued throughout the day.”
“Hats off to an amazing group of anglers, community and organization,” added the father. “You almost just kind of pinch yourself when you win one. It doesn’t happen very often.”
Well, it happened again. And this time it resulted in a $6,000 payday for the winning team. As the top finisher, they also earned another $100 in Bruiser Bucks.
Last year’s Champions, Jerod Boltz and Jon Bowman were just ounces back in second with their weight of 23.81 pounds anchored by a hefty 7.14 pounder.
“We kind of struggled today and only had 2 fish in the boat at one o’clock.” said Bowman. “So we decided to make a run that paid off for us.”
That worked for them in last year’s Classic. And once again they switched to plan B after not finding anything and went from zero to almost a hero and collected $2,500 for the second place finish.
Rounding out the top three was the team of Greg Jones and Kyle Wieczorek that turned 21.07 pounds into $1,300 with the third place finish.
Even on a tough day, Lake Okeechobee produces respectable numbers with the top 5 teams weighing 20-pound plus bags. And as the highest paying team tournament trail in Florida, the payouts continued deep into the 108 boat field.
The U.S. Sugar Big Bass of 7.30 pounds added $500 to the 3rd place check for Kyle Wieczorek while Buddy Perry weighed-in the 2nd Big Bass of 7.22 pounds, good for $100 Gambler Bucks. Wieczorek also collected $250 as the highest finisher crossing the stage in HUK gear. Ron Veale collected $250 as the highest finishing Gilbert Chevrolet owner. And winning big for going small, the team of Leonard Whitcare and Mike Young turned the smallest limit of 7.27 pounds into $300 from AV Inspection.
That’s how the final qualifier of the 2023 season played out on Lake Okeechobee. Next stop is the Championship, Dec. 9 and 10. Qualifying teams will be notified shortly to secure the team in the lineup. Then it’s Big Bass and Big Checks for the holidays.