CLEWISTON – Saturday marked the start of the Roland Martin Marine Center Series 2021 Season presented by Huk. Apparently, our anglers were itching to get back to competing — and then some. At safelight just outside the lock in Clewiston, a record 193 boats set out to capture the first big check of the season. And that honor went to the father and son team of Ron and Ronnie Buck.
With a huge 30 pound sack of Lake Okeechobee bass, including an 8.01 lb. big bass kicker, they came came out of the gate charging.
“We started catching fish right from the start and caught at least 70 and were culling 4 pounders by 10 o’clock, ” said Ronnie Buck. “It was a day to remember.”
All of their fish came on Gambler Swim Jigs in black and blue and paired with a medium sized EZ trailer.
“The fish were moving in from the lake, they were all white and looked like pre-spawners. It was just an amazing day,” the younger Buck admitted.
“When Ronnie caught a 6 pounder with about 45 minutes left, I thought, we’re good,” said Ron Buck. “And to do this with my son, doesn’t get any better.”
So let’s break out the calculator. That’s a first place check for $8,000, U.S. Sugar Big Bass award for $500., Huk Gear award for $250, Mercury award for another $250, and the Bruiser Baits Big Bag for $150. That’s a one-day total of $9,150.
In second place, with 29.29 pounds and 7.03 lb. kicker, was the team of Jessie Mizell and Jerold Boltz, collecting $4,000.
Third place, with 23.83 pounds and a 7.09 lb. kicker, was the team of Rene Gonzalez and Conner Swindle, cashing out at $2,100.
With a record 193 boats, and a true 100% payback format, the payouts continued big and deep down to the top 32 finishers. Additional contingency winners (that the Buck’s didn’t snatch up) were Rene González, picking up $500 as the Ranger Cup highest finisher. Dustin Royer collecting $100 for the Gambler Bucks Second Big Bass at 7.78 lbs. Conner Swindle collected $100 as the top Mercury Youth Angler. Amber Bass collected $100 from Mary Ann Martin as the top Lady Angler. And winning big for going small, the team of Alonzo Cunnington and Dominic Spain turned the smallest limit of the event into $300 presented by AV Inspection.
It was a great turnout for the first qualifier of the 2021 season. But with a desire to always go bigger and better, we’re just getting started. Be sure to join us all season long as we continue to GO BIG on Legendary Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida.
NOTE: Next Qualifier is June 12, 2021. Teams must fish 3 of the 4 qualifiers to qualify for the Series Championship in December. Check the 2021 Schedule for more.