OKEECHOBEE, Fla. (Jan. 27, 2010) – John Cox of Debary, Fla., landed five bass weighing 25 pounds, 1 ounce Wednesday to lead day one of the FLW Series Eastern Division tournament on Lake Okeechobee. He holds a 3-pound, 10-ounce lead in the tournament.
“I started on one fish in the morning and it ate my first pitch,” said Cox, who is fishing in his first FLW Series event. “I caught two other 3-pounders and a few other nice ones about 11 o’clock. After that, I just went around and tried to find new areas.”
Cox said he was sight fishing for larger bass and attributes his success on the first day of competition to being in the right place at the right time.
“I’m going to do the same thing on Thursday, but I’m going to start in a different area and try to put 15 or 20 pounds together,” Cox said.
Cox said his 3-pound, 10-ounce lead isn’t enough to make him comfortable after just one day of fishing on Lake Okeechobee.
“That’s nothing out here,” Cox said. “You need a 10-pound lead out here to have any kind of cushion.”
Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., trails Cox in the No. 2 spot with five bass weighing 21-7.
Rounding out the remainder of the top-10 pros after day one at Lake Okeechobee are:

      3rd: Chad Grigsby, Maple Grove, Minn., five bass, 21-6
      4th: National Guard pro Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., five bass, 21-4
      5th: Tom Mann Jr., Buford, Ga., five bass, 20-1
      6th: Robert Behrle, Hoover, Ala., five bass, 19-11
      7th: Koby Kreiger, Okeechobee, Fla., five bass, 18-11
      8th: Tony Chachere, Opelousas, La., five bass, 16-12
      9th: Randall Tharp, Gardendale, Ala., five bass, 16-8
      10th: Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala., five bass, 16-7

Overall there were 664 bass weighing 1,486 pounds, 12 ounces caught by 154 pros Wednesday. The catch included 110 five-bass limits.
In FLW Series competition, pros are competing for a top award of $50,000 plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for a shot at the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing.
Scott Kerslake of Henderson, N.C., leads the Co-angler Division with four bass weighing 12-0 followed by Philip Jarabeck of Lynchburg, Va., in second place with five bass weighing 11-8.
The remainder of the top-10 co-anglers are:

      3rd: Dale Walker, Miami, Fla., five bass, 11-7
      4th: George Kapiton, Inverness, Fla., five bass, 11-6
      5th: Greg Schultz, Wayzata, Minn., five bass, 11-3
      6th: Robert Eid, Key West, Fla., five bass, 11-1
      7th: Frank Mackin, New Port Richey, Fla., five bass, 11-0
      8th: Jeff Cummins, Marion, Ohio, five bass, 10-14
      9th: Eugene Lewis, Saint Petersburg, Fla., five bass, 10-6
      10th: James Sharp, Leesburg, Ga., five bass, 10-5

Overall there were 371 bass weighing 607 pounds, 5 ounces caught by 117 co-anglers Wednesday. The catch included 32 five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are competing this week for a Ranger 177TR with 90 horsepower engine as well as valuable points that could help them qualify for the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup.
Anglers will take off from C. Scott Driver Park located at 10100 W. Hwy. 78 in Okeechobee at 7 each morning. Thursday’s and Friday’s weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at Gilbert Chevrolet Company located at 3550 Hwy. 441 S. in Okeechobee beginning at 4 p.m.