7" Screen I 800H x 480V
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Lakemaster® and Minn Kota® ‘System’ Key To Hite’s $125,000 Walmart/FLW Win
Lake Okeechobee, FL
-- Phoenix, Arizona-based bass pro Brett Hite recently took tops on the
‘Big O’, weighing a four-day total of 88-14, 6-pounds, 6-ounces heavier than
his nearest competitor, fellow Humminbird/Minn Kota pro Greg Bohannan.
$125,000 win marks Hite’s first on Okeechobee, although he’s no stranger to Florida
bass. In 2008 he took first just up the chain on Kissimmee with an FLW record-winning
margin of 20-pounds 4-ounces.
Like many west coast anglers, Hite’s at home in deep, offshore situations with
finesse tactics, but he’s quickly earned respect as a double threat for his
shallow-water power fishing game.
really like fishing aquatic vegetation, although I knew nothing about it when I
started fishing here in 2000. Now it’s one of my strengths. But the biggest
thing is having confidence, doing your homework and fishing hard. I avoid the
dock talk. I want real-life feedback from time on the water,” says Hite.
of ‘homework’ and ‘real-life feedback’, like fellow west coast phenom and
tournament ally Brent Ehrler, Hite is tech savvy and uses it to his advantage.
three Humminbird 1199s, two at the console, one at the bow, all
networked via Ethernet and 5-port hub. “They’re basically upgraded 1198s.
They’ve got a faster processor and an internal GPS antenna, which is super
precise. But same menus, same operation as the 1198."
explains that two 1199s at the console make for easier viewing during
pre-fishing, one dedicated to Side Imaging, the other to LakeMaster mapping.
He says he spent three days running grass lines, marking 35 quality waypoints
for tournament time.
ran parallel to the grass line and was able to waypoint indentations and points
that held fish on my LakeMaster mapping, which is the best Okeechobee map I
have ever seen. It’s amazing how fast you can zoom in and out. Plus, the lake
was up so I used Lakemaster’s Water Level Offset feature for dead-on readings.”
says networking his Humminbirds and sharing waypoints makes for faster fishing.
“I’d pull up the trolling motor, go back
to the rear graph, view my waypoints and run right to them. If I’m not casting
I can’t win. Every piece of gear I use contributes to fishing as efficiently as
possible. Time management is critical to winning.”
having his waypoints up, Hite says running 2D sonar was also “a must” for the
way he fished the event. “I was fishing way offshore and it was all about
running that grass line. I had my waypoints but wanted to keep everything in
view with real-time 2D.”
three days of practice, Hite says he knew the lake’s Monkey Box section would
be key. “Lots of vegetation and probably the lake’s biggest population of bass.
It’s where I cashed checks the past three years. But my problem has been a real
big stringer one day, and the next day I can’t keep it together. I knew this
year I had to have a backup plan.”
first pattern was fishing offshore grass with a Texas-rigged Gary Yamamoto
Swimming Senko, a Z-Man ChatterBait Elite, a swim jig and an Evergreen Combat
Crank 60 on the grass edge. His backup was punching mats around bulrushes with
a large Yamamoto Flappin’ Hog.
the right decision of where to start on Day One was a huge factor. I started on
a little corner where I had a couple good bites during practice and right off
the bat caught a keeper and then a 7-pounder. Filled out my limit by 9 am,
started running a couple other waypoints and it seemed I caught a big one on
every single waypoint. By 12:30 I had 35 pounds and literally just went
pre-fishing to look for some new water. It was just a really, really great day.”
says things didn’t get critical until Day 3, when a lull in the grass bite
forced him into plan B. “At 11 am I made the run over to my punching area and
told myself I had an hour to pick up a bite. After 45 minutes and I was pulling
my punch bait out of a mat and a five pounder clobbered it. Then, in less than
an hour, I caught four really nice fish.”
reiterates: “It was all about time management and that backup plan.”
hit my Minn Kota Talon shallow-water anchors probably 20 times or more
each day. It’s a huge time saver. There’s no drifting off a spot and wasting
time getting back to it. With the Talons I get back up and make the exact same
cast or punch after I unhook a fish. It becomes super important on a like like
‘O’ because a lot of times bass are either schooled up on a little corner or
there may be bedding fish I don’t always see.”
also credits his decision to swap out trolling motors this year as a smart
move. “I really didn’t think the Minn Kota Fortrex 112 would be that
much better than the 101, but there is a noticeable difference on power, torque
and the steering is twice as good. Literally, you can put it on 100%, aim it
forward, hit constant on, walk to the back of the boat, and it’ll run straight
as an arrow.”
adds: “Plus, the 112 helped me get a couple of badly-wadded fish out when I was
punching, which is huge. It absolutely chews through weeds.”
Hite’s recent win brings his career winnings close to $1 million.
next FLW tournament stop is on Lake Hartwell, SC. Following that, he’ll be on a
six week run beginning with the Elite Series kickoff on Lake Seminole.
For more information, please visit Humminbird at www.humminbird.com. Requests for product specifications, customer support and general inquiries should be made through our Customer Service Department.
For media/editorial inquiries, please contact: James Edlund Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics, Inc. consists of the Humminbird, LakeMaster, Minn Kota and Cannon brands. Humminbird® is a leading innovator and manufacturer of fishfinders, fishfinder/GPS combo units, ice flashers and digital depth gauges. LakeMaster® is the premier brand of high-definition electronic fishing charts. Minn Kota® is the world’s leading manufacturer of electric trolling motors, as well as offers a complete line of shallow water anchors, battery chargers and marine accessories. Cannon® is the leader in controlled-depth fishing and includes a full line of downrigger products and accessories.