CLEWISTON, Fla., Feb. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Okeechobee fishing conditions toughened on Saturday and a strong northeast wind drastically affected tournament weights on day three of the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee presented by Mercury. Although he could not match his previous catch of 23 pounds from each of the past two days, pro Drew Benton of Panama City, Fla., still weighed enough to grab the lead heading into the final round of the four-day event that has competitors casting for a top cash award of up to $125,000.
Benton brought a five-bass limit to the scales totaling 15 pounds, 3 ounces, giving him a three-day total of 15 bass for 62 pounds, 3 ounces. He now holds a slim 1-pound lead over day 2 leader Rick Cotten of Guntersville, Ala., who weighed in three bass for 7 pounds, giving him a three-day total of 13 bass for 61 pounds, 3 ounces."I thought that I had caught enough to keep it close today," said Benton who is fishing his rookie season as a pro on the FLW Tour. "I was very surprised that it was enough to take the lead. "I made a long run south to start the day, and my first area was trashed," Benton continued. "It was very windy and rough -- the FLW camera boat even turned around. I knew within five minutes of pulling up that it wasn't working. I was able to catch a couple of small keepers, but I decided that I needed to make the 25 mile run up north." Benton was able to boat a 5-pounder that he had located Friday while checking new areas. He stayed in that same area today and said he caught an estimated 25 keepers.