Two tournaments. Two repeat winners.
Lane won the 2010 BASS Open opener on Lake Okeechobee, while Medlock won the 2011 FLW EverStart opener, also on the Big O.
Considering lakes in Florida seem to fish like nowhere else, we started thinking about the best anglers in the state of Florida. Not necessarily guys who live there, but guys who excel in those early season events in the Sunshine State. So we decided to look into it.
How has an Alabama man become a stud in Florida who beats 98.1 percent of the field on average? For starters, he’s a Guntersville stick, so he’s well versed in fishing grass. He also has a sweet spot for Florida, often spending a month down there in the offseason. Hence, how Tharp finishes seventh, fifth and second in his last three events down there. And the two-year criteria doesn’t include a fourth-place that just dropped off.
Don’t worry, Florida anglers. You make a strong showing at the top, as well. After Tharp, 11 of the next 12 anglers are Florida residents, including the next six anglers directly behind Tharp.
So who is the best among them? Considering his success, one might think Medlock. Sorry. He’s fifth best (sixth overall). And Lane? He’s the 13th best in the last two years (21st overall). He did just lose that win in 2010, but if you include it, he only moves up to 18th overall, as guys like Scott Martin, Shinichi Fukae, Casey Ashley, Justin Hamner and Tony Chachere all jump ahead of him with the added tournament.
Instead, the best Florida resident in his state the last two years at the Major and Minor levels is Jeff Fitts, who has beaten 94.8 percent of the field in his three events.
As for the best since the turn of the century, that would be Florida’s own Terry Scroggins. Since 2000 (using a 15-tournament minimum), Scroggins has beaten 87.7 percent of the field in the state of Florida, a substantial number over the No. 2 angler, Mark Shepard’s 82.1 percent. Rounding out the top 5 in the last 11 years are Florida stars Martin (808.780), Bobby Lane (805.380) and JT Kenney (780.002).