KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Rich Howes, 39, of Oviedo, Fla., is the winner of the 2013 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Florida, but it wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen fast. It took Howes four days to defeat fellow Floridian Daniel Lanier Jr. The two ended tournament regulation (three days) in a tie with 47 pounds, 2 ounces apiece.
B.A.S.S. rules require anglers who are tied for first place on the pro side of a Bassmaster Open to have a fish-off, so Howes and Lanier met again today to decide the title. On the line was the title of champion, $10,000 in cash, a Skeeter bass boat, Yamaha outboard motor and valuable points toward an invitation to fish the Bassmaster Elite Series next year. Perhaps more importantly, there’s a berth in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic for any Open winner who fishes all three events in that division.
Howes and Lanier adopted very different strategies in the fish-off. Howes elected to lock through from the launch site on Lake Tohopekaliga and run to his most productive area on Lake Kissimmee. It would put him on more productive water, but the long run would consume a lot of time — time that was precious in the five-hour fish-off.
Lanier had been fishing Kissimmee, too, but decided to stay on Toho for the fish-off. He felt the extra fishing time would outweigh being on better water.
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