Clausen climbs into Top 20 at Lake Okeechobee

OKEECHOBEE, Florida – Maybe it shouldn't come as a shock that Bridgford Fishing Team member Luke Clausen has a unique relationship with Florida. Clausen, after all, won the 2006 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Toho, and has competed on various lakes throughout the Sunshine State for years.

"Florida is a different animal," Clausen admits. "A lot of the rules about fishing – and how to catch fish – kinda go out the window here. It's a great place to fish and there are some really big fish here, but it's really never easy."

Clausen's performance at the recent Elite Series event on Lake Okeechobee is a perfect example of that: from cold to hot.

After a frustrating Day 1 in which he weighed in only 9 pounds, 8 ounces, Clausen hurdled up the leaderboard from 89th place to 18th over the next two days, weighing in 19-2 and 22-12.

It was a prime example of how quickly things can change on a fishery known of its population of 7- to 10-pound largemouth.

"I caught a couple of big ones on Day 2 and Day 3 that really helped me," Clausen says. "It's not easy to stick to a plan when it doesn't look like it's working, but I kept at it and kept at it, and finally found the right fish."

NOTES: Clausen competes this week in the Bass Pro Shops Central Open on Table Rock Lake, Missouri.