The Oklahoma Bass Federation started their 2017 tournament series on Lake Texoma to qualify anglers and co-anglers to the District 6 Bass Federation (TBF) Nationals Semi-Finals (NSF) at Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, Ark., September 16-17. The top boaters and co-anglers from both Arkansas and Oklahoma will advance to the 2018 TBF Nationals to try to capture a trip to the 2018 TBF National Championship, presented by FLW. The top boater from the 49 States at the TBF Nationals will earn a $100,000 “Living the Dream” prize package, which includes the use of a wrapped Ranger boat powered by Evinrude, a tow vehicle, fully paid entry into the 2018 FLW Tour, a cash award and automatic berths into both the 2018 BFL All-American and the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup. First place on the co-angler side also receives a “Living the Dream” prize package, including paid entry fees into the 2018 FLW series, a cash award and an automatic berth into the 2018 BFL All-American.
The OBF will qualify 10% of the anglers and co-anglers that participate in our qualifying events. Texoma was the first of these events. We will follow this event with two more Team events in April, at Eufaula, and May, at Hudson. Anglers in these three events must fish at least 4 of the tournaments to qualify. Following in June will be our Top 6 and a Team tournament for those either fishing in the Top 6 or others that did not make their individual club teams. We will then take 10% of the total number of OBF members participating in these events and they will be able to advance to the NSF. In addition to these qualifiers, each OBF club, in good standing, will be allowed to select a boater and co-angler to the NSF provided they have participation in one of our qualifying events.
The tournament at Texoma was a normal Oklahoma weekend with wind during practice, a front passing through Friday night, clear to partly cloudy on Saturday and blues skies on Sunday. Also, as usual, many of the anglers adjusted to the pre-spawn pattern and 24 limits were brought in on Saturday and 23 on Sunday.
The first day of our State Qualifying Tournament (SQT) started with mild winds, for Texoma, overcast skies, with temperatures, both air and water, around 60 degrees and warming to the low eighties by weighin time. Mike Morris and Chris Tarron, Ada Bassmasters, brought the largest limit of 5 bass, weighing 19.03# with a 4.24# lunker to anchor their stringer. Another Ada team, Tyler Waggoner and Bryce Harris had limit that weighed 17.10# and was anchored by the Big Bass for the day at 5.35# to take the second place money. Third was garnered by Brandon West and Chris Angier, Bedlam Bass Club, with 5 fish tipping the scales at 15.59# with a 4.94# big bass. The father/son team of Larry and Jason Conaway’s, Chickasha, limit weighed 14.30# for fourth place nosed out Wyatt Ryan and Kelton Hendrix, Ada, by 0.10# at 14.29# for fifth place. Sixth went to Dean Matts and Scott Callaway, Central, with a limit weighing 14.07#, followed by Ron Boyd and Brian Browning, Bedam, with 13.73# at seventh. Rounding out the top 10 was Shane Blocker and Matt Columbus, Bedlam, at eighth with 13.56#, Marc and Julie Downs, Bedlam, with 13.43# ninth, and tenth was Jackie Husmann and Sandy Hooker, PC Hookers, with 13.27#.
The second tournament of our SQT started with a clear blue sky, no wind. Although the conditions seemed to indicate difficult fishing conditions, once again, our anglers proved they could adjust. After a first day finish of ninth place, Marc and Julie Downs moved to first on Sunday by bringing in 5 fish weighing 18.64# with a 4.85# anchor. According to Julie, she caught the fish on Saturday and decided to net Marc’s on Sunday. Second place went to Gene Vogt and Donnie Combrink, PC Hookers, with a limit weighing 17.01# and a 4.89# anchor. Third was garnered by Jeff Linder and Brett Krieger, Ponca City Bassmasters, with 16.27# with a big bass of 4.89#. Larry and Jason Conaway, Chickasha, took fourth place, repeating their first day finish, with a limit weighing 15.95#. Fifth went to Mike Morgan and Blake Rauch, Ada, with 15.77# including the Big Bass, for the day and the weekend, weighing 6.39#. Sixth was taken by Stewart Ryan and Wendle Reaper, Ada, at 15.44# nosing out Wyatt Ryan and Kelton Hendrix, Ada, by 0.26# at 15.18# for seventh. Jody Linder and Jake Beam, Ponca City, captured eighth with 14.95# followed by Jeremy Vantuyl, and Michael Gaddis, PC Hooker, with 14.75#. Tenth went to John Garcia and Brett Taylor, Bedlam, with a limit weighing 14.69#.
The first weekend of our SQT saw 24 limits on the first day with 134 fish weighed in. The average weight was 2.47# per fish with a big bass weighing 5.35#. The second day yielded 23 limits for a total of 130 fish. The average for day 2 was 2.70# per fish including the big bass for the weekend at 6.39#. The big bass for both days were the only bass weighed over the 5# class.
The race for the 2017 State Champion Team title will result from the sixth SQT events, using the total of the four highest results. During our first two events, we had zero blanks so everybody is in the race. The point system used is 100 point for first, 99 for second and one less per place. Our present leading team with 194 points is Larry and Jason Conaway being the only two to cash a check both days. They had a total of 30.25# for an average weight of 3.03# per fish. The husband/wife pair of Marc and Julie Downs is a close second at 192 points. They registered the biggest weekend total weight at 32.07# for a 3.21# per fish, they are also the first husband/wife team to win an OBF event. Wyatt Ryan and Kelton Hendrix was third at 190 followed by Jeff Linder and Brett Krieger, 187, at fourth. At fifth was Stewart Ryan and Wendel Reaper with 185 followed by Dean Matts and Scott Callaway, 182, Brandon West and Chris Angier, 181, Jody Linder and Jake Beam, 179, Tyler Waggoner and Bryce Harris, 179, and rounding out the top 10 was a three way tie between Mike Morgan and Blake Rauch, Shane Blocker and Matt Columbus, and Johnny Babb and Cain Brinlee at 178.
The Ranger Cup winners were Mike Morris Saturday and Gene Vogt on Sunday. This program is open to all Ranger boat owners who can register and join. Each winner at our tournaments will receive $75. The total pay back to our team at each of the 6 events will be $1125 paying the top 5 teams and a blind draw for the 6th place.