CLEWISTON, Florida -- Catching bass wasn't a problem for GEICO angler Robert Pearson during the FLW Tour season opener at Lake Okeechobee, catching the monsters was the big stumbling block.
Pearson said he was snagging an average of more than 100 bass a day during his two days at the tournament, but he never got a really big one to even bite.
"I caught 120 on the first day and 93 or 94 on the second," Pearson said. "I could never get a big fish. I never got one around nine pounds and that's what you needed to make the cut. One fish a day over nine pounds was all I needed."
Pearson didn't make the cut and finished 115th after catching 28 pounds, 10 ounces of bass. Pearson was one big fish -- 7 pounds, 6 ounces -- from finishing in the money.
"I caught all the 3 and 4 pounders I wanted," he said. "All I needed was one big one. I picked the perfect place, there were waves of big fish coming and going. I'd catch my limit in the first 20 minutes, then spend the rest of the day culling fish after fish for an ounce here or there while waiting for a big fish to strike.
"The high was that I caught more fish than anyone in the tournament, the low was I never got a big one on the line."
Despite not making the cut, Pearson was not disappointed. He said the practice tournament he entered last month and the planning he did ahead of time produced plenty of fish, just not the whales what can make or break a tournament.
"This was by far the best strategy I've ever put together," Pearson said. "My top plans worked to perfection. Going down there early was the best thing I could ever do. If I wouldn't have fished the practice tournament, I would have never found the place I fished this past weekend."
Pearson said he can't wait to make it to the next stop. The Virginian said he's going to fish a small tournament before March's FLW Tour Major stop on Beaver Lake in Rogers, Ark.
"I just had the tournament of my life so I'm ready to go," Pearson said. "The season started with a blast. The best fishermen in the world were there. It was a phenomenal tournament – the best I've ever had at Lake Okeechobee. Now I can't wait to carry this forward."
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