Competition canceled at Costa FLW Series on Lake Okeechobee as search for angler continues

OKEECHOBEE — In order to concentrate all efforts on the ongoing search for co-angler Nik Kayler, Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) officials have decided to cancel the remaining competition day at the Costa FLW Series tournament on Lake Okeechobee.

FLW confirmed Thursday night that a boat with two anglers that was competing in the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Okeechobee did not check in at the designated weigh-in location Thursday at C. Scott Driver Park in Okeechobee, Florida.

Weigh-in was at 3 p.m. When the boat did not show up, officials tried unsuccessfully to contact the angler and the co-angler. When they were unable to reach them, they began a search.

The boat belonged to pro Bill Kisiah of Slidell, Louisiana. Also in the boat was co-angler Nik Kayler of Apopka, Florida.

Kisiah was found alive Thursday night around 11 p.m.  According to reports, he had floated to shore with the boat which was found near Pahokee.  He was transported to a hospital and is being treated for hypothermia.

According to the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office report, Kisiah told officials the boat had capsized on Thursday morning between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Kisiah managed to climb on top of the capsized boat and float to shore near the Pahokee marina.

Kayler has not yet been located and the search remains ongoing.

Kisiah is a nine-year veteran boater of FLW Series competition, while Kayler had fished in 61 previous FLW events as a co-angler.

As of this posting Friday afternoon, air search and recovery operations are still being conducted under the guidance of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and local authorities. FLW is assisting the search operations.

Final tournament standings will be determined by Day One of competition.

FLW will continue to release information as it becomes available. Updated information will also be posted on the FLW website

Kisiah is a nine-year veteran boater of FLW Series competition, while Kayler has fished in 61 previous FLW events as a co-angler.

Top 10 pros for Day 1 were:

1. Terry Tucker – Gadsden, Ala. – 21-3 (5 fish);

2. Justin Hamner – Northport, Ala. – 19-3 (5);

3. Darrell Davis – Dover, Fla. – 17-1 (4);

4. Bryan Schmitt – Deale, Md. – 16-15 (4);

5. Nick Thliveros – St. Augustine, Fla. – 16-5 (5);

5. Joey Sabbagha – Prosperity, S.C. – 16-5 (5);

7. Brian Elder – Locust Grove, Ga. – 15-12 (5);

8. Koby Kreiger – Bokeelia, Fla. – 15-4 (5);

9. Bryan Thrift – Shelby, N.C. – 15-1 (5);

10. Clayton Batts – Macon, Ga. – 14-11 (5).

Top 10 co-anglers for Day 1 were:

1. James Lehman – Oviedo, Fla. – 17-8 (5);

2. Russ Scalf – Summerville, S.C. – 15-14 (5);

3. Walter Ogle – Maryville, Tenn. – 15-3 (5);

4. Jim Topmiller – Orlando, Fla. – 9-9 (3);

5. Grant McPeters – Marion, N.C. – 8-13 (5);

6. Heath Gilmore – Meridian, Miss. – 8-11 (3);

7. Kyle Parks – Albany, Ga. – 8-8 (5);

8. Randy Paquette – Sarasota, Fla. – 8-4 (3);

8. Michael Padgett – Leesburg, Fla. – 8-4 (3);

10. Coulby Lewis – Macon, Ga. – 8-2 (4);

10. Mark Howard – Mesquite, Texas – 8-2 (5);

10. Josh Driver – Hiram, Ga. – 8-2 (5),


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