Clewiston resident Brandon McMillan took home the win at the 2015 Bass Pro Shops Bassmasters Southern Open No. 3 on Lake Seminole in Bainbridge, Ga. over the weekend.
Bringing in a total of 49.5 pounds, McMillan placed no. 1 out of 226 anglers in the tournament held Oct. 22 through 24 and earned more than $52,000 in cash and merchandise.
This was the third of three Bassmasters Southern Open tournaments in which McMillan competed. The first was held in Kissimmee, Fla. back in January where McMillan placed fifth, the second was held in Prattville, Ala. in April where McMillan placed fourth.
Having fished all three Bassmasters Southern Opens, McMillan earned a spot in the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in Tulsa, Okla. The tournament will be held March 4 through 6.
He also qualifies for the Elite Series, having won earned the most points during the three Bassmaster Southern Opens. McMillan brought in a total of 142.6 pounds during all three tournaments.
This is McMillan’s first year competing in the Bassmasters tournaments and he said it felt great to win.
“I definitely got a little lucky. I have been to the lake [Lake Seminole] in the past, but you’ve definitely got to have a little luck on your side,” said McMillan the Monday after the tournament.
McMillan grew up in Belle Glade and now resides in Clewiston. He has been fishing Lake Okeechobee his entire life and though he said Lake ‘O’ is deeper, he conceded it is similar to Georgia’s Lake Seminole.
“For the most part it’s kind of the same. The fish bite the same that they do here,” he said.
McMillan will travel to Oklahoma in March and said he will be buying some warmer clothing in preparation for the tournament.
“It’ll be cold,” he joked.
Bass fishing legend Roland Martin also competed in the Southern Open tournaments, finishing 115 out of 226 anglers. Martin, who now resides in Naples, Fla., brought in a total of 30.3 pounds during all three tournaments.