The search continues for one missing tournament angler.
A search is currently underway for a missing tournament co-angler on Lake Okeechobee in Florida. Lousiana’s Nik Kayler had paired up with pro William (Bill) Kisiah for Day 1 of the Costa FLW Series event on Dec. 4.
When the pair didn’t check in at the end of the day Thursday, authorities initiated a search.
Here is the original statement from FLW:
Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) regrets to confirm that a boat with two anglers that was competing today [Thursday] in the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Okeechobee did not check in at the designated weigh-in location at C. Scott Driver Park in Okeechobee, Fla., and has not yet been located.
The boat belonged to pro William (Bill) Kisiah of Slidell, La., and co-angler Nik Kayler of Apopka, Fla. The boat that the anglers were competing in is a dark-colored Ranger Z521 with a red Evinrude G2 outboard. It is believed that the boaters had planned to travel to the South Bay area from the north end of the lake.
Kisiah is a nine-year veteran boater of FLW Series competition, while Kayler has fished in 61 previous FLW events as a co-angler.
At this time, search and rescue operations are being conducted under the guidance of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Department, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard. FLW is assisting the search efforts.
FLW will release further information as soon as it becomes available. Updated information will also be posted on the FLW website.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, along with the Okeechobee Sheriff’s Office, the Coast Guard and tournament officials began a search Thursday night, concentrating on the South Bay area of the lake where the pair was supposedly heading.
*FLW UPDATE 11:15 p.m., Jan. 4, 2018*
The boater Bill Kisiah has been located alive. The search is continuing for co-angler Nik Kayler. Additional news will be posted as it’s available.
Here is footage of the found bass boat:
I want to introduce my non fishing friends and family to the fishing world I revolve in. Yesterday during the FLW Costa Event on Lake Okeechobee, 2 anglers did not return for the weigh in. Fortunately the driver of the boat was recovered alive late last night, but his Co-Angler is still missing. Winds were rough and the temperatures in Florida have been frigid. No one knows the details of what happened, but the entire fishing world is praying and sending positive thoughts down south. This is a worst case scenario not only as an angler myself, but also the parent and fishing coach of youth, high school and college kids too. Seeing that their light pole is still up and attached, looks like this happened right after they launched at safe light yesterday morning.
Posted by Russ Chargualaf on Friday, January 5, 2018
According to reports, authorities found Kisiah clinging to his boat, approximately 40 miles from the launch.
*FLW UPDATE 1:10 a.m., Jan. 5, 2018*
To assist with the ongoing search efforts for co-angler Nik Kayler, Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) has canceled Friday’s day two of competition.
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.
Kisiah was found alive Thursday night around 11 p.m. local time. Kayler has not yet been located and the search remains ongoing.
As of Jan. 5 at noon, Kayler is still missing.
We will update this story as details become available.