Gear Top lures at Lake Okeechobee 2023 Posted on February 21, 2023 Photography by Andy Crawford Captions by Craig Lamb Thinking the tournament would be won in the community holes of the main lake, one angler capitalized on a hunch to do otherwise at the SiteOne Bassmaster Elite at Lake Okeechobee. With exception of a few local boats, he would have the Kissimmee River all to himself. Photo: Craig Lamb Tyler Rivet capitalized on a multi-lure pattern to catch staging bass, targeting isolated hard bottom spots off the bank, otherwise known as classic prespawn areas. Photo: Craig Lamb Rivet weighed limits of 24 pounds, 5 ounces, 29-2, 14-11 and 18-13 for a winning weight of 86-15. “This is what I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid,” Rivet said. “I remember every day at the (Lake Cataouatche) Tank Ponds during the 2011 Bassmaster Classic in New Orleans, hearing boats coming through the fog and seeing all the big names and thinking ‘One day, I want to do that.’” He did it and to the tune of a Blue Trophy and $100,000. Click here to buy these lures at Bass Pro Shops. Drew Cook (10th; 66-11) A skirted jig and bladed jig did the trick for Cook. A key bait was a 3/8-ounce Dirty Jigs No Jack Swim Jig with Big Bite Baits Ram Trail trailer. Alternatively, Cook used a 3/8-ounce Z-Man ChatterBait Jack Hammer with a Big Bite Baits Scentstation Quarantine Craw for a trailer. Marc Frazier (9th; 66-13) Frazier alternated between a frog and stickbait to cover the water column in his key areas. He used a wacky-rigged soft plastic stickbait with a 1/32-ounce nail weight inserted into one end. For topwater action he chose a SPRO Bronzeye Poppin’ Frog 70. Jake Whitaker (8th; 71-6) Whitaker rotated between a soft plastic frog and swim worm. A top choice was a SPRO Bronzeye Poppin’ Frog 65. Whitaker also used a Big Bite Baits Tour Swim Worm, rigged on a Mustad 5/0 1x Strong Wide Gap Hook, with a Mustad 3/16-ounce TitanX Worm Weight. Brandon Card (7th; 73-4) A weightless wacky rig was the key bait used by Card. He made it with a Gamakatsu No. B10S Stinger Hook, with a Yamamoto Senko. Card alternated between Watermelon Red and Bama Bug patterns. Card used both rigs on Yo-Zuri 15-pound braid attached to 14- and 16-pound Yo-Zuri T7 Fluorocarbon leader. Carl Jocumsen (6th; 75-7) A punch rig, swim jig and topwater prop bait combined to cover the water column for Jocumsen. He made the punch rig with an X Zone Lures Adrenaline Craw, rigged on an Owner 5/0 4X Jungle Flippin’ Hook, with a 1.2-ounce tungsten weight. Jocumsen also used a Molix 1/2-ounce GT Swim Jig, with an X-Zone Swammer for a trailer. For topwater action, he used a Rapala X Rap Prop (XRPR11). Steve Kennedy (5th; 77-2) “I caught all my keepers on a soft plastic frog,” said Kennedy. Truth. On Semifinal Saturday, Kennedy landed a whopping five-bass limit weighing 23-1 on a frog. The SPRO Bronzeye Poppin’ Frog 65 was literally his money bait for the week. Click here to buy these lures at Bass Pro Shops. Logan Latuso (4th; 81-4) A soft-plastic frog, punch rig and bladed jig were the top lure types for Latuso. For topwater action he used a SPRO Bronzeye Poppin’ Frog 65. Latuso made a punch rig with a Missile Baits D Bomb, adding a Delta Lures Punch Skirt for strike appeal. He rigged it on a Hayabusa 5/0 FPP HD Straight Shank Worm Hook, with a 1.5-ounce weight. He also used a Delta Lures 3/8-ounce Thunder Jig, with a Missile Baits D Bomb for a trailer. Brandon Cobb (3rd; 81-9) Cobb kept it simple with a soft plastic fluke and bladed jig, capitalizing on a wave of prespawn bass moving into his area. He used a Zoom Fluke Stick, rigged on a 3/0 flipping hook, with a 3/8-ounce ARK tungsten weight. Alternatively, he used a Z-Man ChatterBait Jack Hammer with a Zoom Super Fluke for a trailer. Clark Wendlandt (2nd; 83-0) Wendlandt rotated between a bladed jig and worm for his key baits. A top choice was a Strike King 3/8-ounce Thunder Cricket, rigged with a Strike King Blade Minnow for a trailer. He fished the rig on a Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Platinum Signature 6.8:1 casting reel, spooled with 20-pound Sunline Shooter Fluorocarbon, and a 7-foot, 3-inch heavy action Bass Pro Shops action Crankin’ Stick. Wendlandt also used a Strike King Rage Cut R Worm, rigged on an Owner 5/0 All Purpose Worm Hook, with a 3/16-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Weight. He fished it on a Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Platinum Signature 6.8:1 casting reel, spooled with 20-pound Sunline Shooter Fluorocarbon, and a 7-foot, 3-inch medium-heavy action Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.0 Casting Rod. Tyler Rivet (1st; 86-15) Rivet dialed into his fish using a combination of baits designed to work in tandem with their changing behavior. He would cast a Berkley Stunna jerkbait to individual fish after spotting them on forward-facing sonar, adjusting the cadence and action of his retrieve to trigger reaction bites. When the reaction bite subsided, he switched to a Carolina rig made with an Xcite Baits Hawgalicious, rigged on a 3/0 Owner Wide Gap Hook, with a 3/4-ounce weight. A buoyant body makes the bait ideal to keep it suspended for Carolina rigs. For a punch rig, he used an Xcite Baits Sucka Punch, rigged on an Owner 4/0 Owner 4X Jungle Flippin’ Hook, with a 3/4-ounce weight. Rivet designed the bait for pressured fish, to allow the hook to be concealed within the plastic body, and without appendages to prevent hang-ups in vegetation.