Monday, May 27, 2024

Branagh Wins Professional League on Lake Okeechobee

ATHENS, Ala. – Robert Branagh won the 2024 American Bass Anglers Professional League, Presented by Caymas Boats, Florida South Division 7 tournament, held April 13th, 2024 on Lake Okeechobee. Running out of Scott Driver Park in Okeechobee, FL, the Malabar, FL angler caught five basses weighing 25.80 pounds, including a 6.15-pound kicker. For the Pro Division victory, Branagh took home a check for $3500 for his win.

Branagh explained, “Well, I found clean water to be honest my practice pretty much sucked. I didn’t catch a fish over 2 ½ pounds but I caught a bunch of fish so I knew I could basically get a limit that’s what I was shooting for. Maybe 12 – 15 pounds, and I just kept chunking and winding. The second fish I caught was a 5 ½ pounder, I said OK well this is what I’m gonna do all day. I was down by Monkey Box, where Monkey Box meets Moonshine, and I threw one bait all day. I had six rods on the deck, and I only ended up throwing one rod all day. I caught them all on the Bruiser Bait Bullet, every single fish with a spear point hook, and I’m telling you, if I didn’t have the spear point, I would have lost one of them because when that hook locks in, it locks the fish in the jaw pretty good. You know I kept making the same milk run and about an hour later I caught another twin sister 5 ½ pounder and got to another little pocket where I found a bunch of fish. I caught a 4 pounder and then looped back around and hit that first pocket that I got the first one and caught that 6 pounder. I’ll tell you, the ABA is definitely one of my favorite trails of fish. It’s no pressure, and it’s a fun trail to fish. “ Branagh said.

Second, Ronnie Buck of Miami, FL landed a 5-bass limit weighing 22.56 pounds. He earned $1800 for his catch.

“Yeah, unfortunately I lost one that probably would’ve won the tournament for me but you know that’s the way fishing goes. Everything I caught was on moving baits as well. Lots of chunking and winding. I think the winds have a lot to play in that but this has been the windiest year I can remember. I know a lot of things have changed; a lot of patterns change. I remember in April, in the past, I was always pitching and flipping. I’m not catching anything like that now, so the lake is forever evolving. You know there’s a lot of good fishermen on this lake. I really enjoy the ABA solos, not having a co- angler and not having that in the back of your mind allows you to fish freely and just focus on yourself. I fished further South today; I won’t give an exact area, but it was further South.” Buck said.

Matt Wieteha of Miami, FL took the third spot. He landed a 5-bass limit going 21.65 pounds. He earned $1200 for the effort.

“I stayed. I initially planned to go South eventually, but I honestly wasted too much time in the morning, so I committed to staying north, and around 1:00 pm, I had one fish that may have gone 1 pound. I saw some birds working so I went out in the middle start firing the trap around. I caught a 5 pounder and then didn’t get anything after that. I followed the wind into the grass and started firing a Jackhammer with a Gambler Little EZ on the back. Fish just start showing up, I probably caught 10 fish after I started fishing down the bank and it was it was a crazy afternoon. The wind switching directions middle of the day really helped me. I caught every single fish on a 7 foot 3 Scenko Stix glass cranking rod but I use it for throwing the chatterbait. It works perfect for that.” Wieteha said

The big bass award went to William “Bill” Troyer of Sarasota, FL for a big bass that weighed 7.30 pounds. Troyer earned $450 for the big bass award.

“I caught that big bass on a wacky-worm around 9:00am. I was fishing it real slow.” Troyer said.

Top 25

At the end of the season, the best anglers from across the nation advance the 2024 Ray Scott Championship to be held at Lake Eufaula in April, 2025.

About American Bass Anglers

American Bass Anglers, committed to providing low-cost, close-to-home tournaments, offers an exciting platform for individual angler progression. With the support of industry-leading companies, ABA continues to advance the sport of bass fishing.

For more information about the ABA Professional League and other series, visit or call (256) 232-0406.

American Bass Anglers is proud to be sponsored by Caymas Boats, Mercury Marine, T-H Marine, Power Pole, RT Outdoors, Optima Batteries, Hotel, and

About American Bass Anglers: American Bass Anglers is dedicated to organizing affordable, local tournaments for weekend anglers while offering opportunities for individual angler advancement. To learn more about American Bass Anglers, including the Team Series, American Fishing Tour, American Couples Series, annual Military Team Bass Tournament, ABA Team Series, Top 150 Solo Tour, and Pro League, all presented by Caymas Boats, please visit or call (256) 232-0406.

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