The 2018 District 6 TBF National Semi-Finals tournament involving Arkansas and Oklahoma Federations is now in the history books. The two states sent their best-of-the-best to compete to each state to qualify a boater and co-angler to advance to the 2019 TBF National World Championship. The NSF rules allows the top co-angler to move to a boater status at National’s if their winning weight totaled more than their leading state boater’s weight. The tournament was held on Grand Lake out of Honey Creek State Park in Grove, Oklahoma. The contestants were allowed to fish all waters of the 65,000 plus body of water. That gave them over 100 shoreline miles to fish, determining to correct area of the lake to fish was the biggest problem. From the Honey Creek ramp anglers could go 20 miles south to the Dam or north, up the Grand River 30 miles. The bonus for this weekend was the light winds, an unusual happening in Oklahoma. The pairings were provided by the staff at TBF headquarters in Ponca City, Oklahoma, all the anglers had to do was catch fish, and they did.
The first day of the tournament proved to be extremely tough for most of the anglers. The anglers blasted off at 5:30 am giving them hours to boat a five fish limit. Johnny Babb, Oklahoma, took the day one lead with five fish weighing 14.32# with Dean Matts, Oklahoma, setting in second with 12.26# limit. Third place went to Hoty Akins, Arkansas, with a limit hitting the scales at 12.17# followed by another Arkansas state member, Jason Knight, with 10.89# at fourth. Fifth and sixth places went to our two bump/weighmasters, Jody Linder, Oklahoma, with a limit weighing 10.66# and Doug Thompson, Arkansas, with 9.97#, respectively. Seventh went to Bobby Walker, Oklahoma, with 9.66# followed by Arkansas angler Blake Wilson tipping the scales at 8.87#. Rounding out the top ten was two Oklahoma boaters with Marc Downs at 8.57# for ninth followed by John Garcia’s creel total of 8.41#. The top ten in the co-angler race was dominated by Oklahoma anglers, however, the top stop spot went to Arkansas angler Corey Ruff with the second heaviest stringer overall on day one with a 13.82# stringer. Second place went to Derek Rowsey with 11.99# followed by Chris Duroy at third with a limit at 10.49#. Fourth and fifth places were separated by only about 0.20# with Brandon Beck, 9.78#, nosing out Sandy Hooker, 9.37#. Julie Downs brought the only eight pound co-angler limit on day with a limit hitting the scales at 8.50# for the sixth spot. The next three places were all in the seven pound range with seventh going to Cameron Adams with 7.77# followed by Kyle Tudor with 7.23# at eighth pushing Jake Beam to ninth place with 7.08#. Tenth was captured by Curtiss Plunkett with four fish weighing 6.67#.
The second/final day of the District 6 TBF NSF started with a slight breeze but the heat and humidity were still a noticeable condition on everyone’s mind. However, the conditions would prove to help some and hinder others. The day two results showed only four boaters and four co-anglers maintaining a top ten finish status for both days of the event. Doug Thompson made the biggest jump moving from sixth on day one to lead the boaters with the only 15# stringer of the tournament weighing in 15.30# to take the first place position on day two. Ron Boyd, Oklahoma, made a big jump by weighing in the second heaviest stringer for the weekend with 14.95# to claim second place. Third went to day one eighth place finisher, Blake Wilson with a limit tipping the scales at 14.53#. Mark Jones, an Oklahoma alternate, stepped in at the last minute without pre-fishing to take fourth place for the day bagging a limit weighing 12.64#. Fifth place was garnered by Hoyt Akins matching his second day third place finish with his 12.57# limit. Sixth place pushed Jackie Husmann, Oklahoma, up in the standing with a catch of five fish weighing 12.19#. John Garcia, tenth place on day one, moved up to seventh with 11.07# on day two. Eighth and ninth were taken by two Oklahoma anglers with Stewart Ryan nosing out Michael Morris 10.43# to Mikes 10.28# weigh. Terry Slavens captured the tenth place finish, with the last of the ten pound stringers, weighing in 10.03#. The co-anglers, like the boaters, had some major shifts in placement from day one. Jonathan Dotson, Arkansas, took top honors for day two with a limit of bass that tipped the scales at 12.83#. Jonathan did have the support of his mother, Melissa, and dad, Ray, at the event and they were the major crew at to start and check-in of the event each day, our thanks to them. Cody Hunt, Oklahoma, more than doubled his first day weight with 10.42# to take second. Sandy Hooker jumped to third after finishing fifth on day one with a limit weighing 10.27# that included the big bass for the weekend that tipped the scale at 5.27#. James Castleberry, Arkansas, the only other co-angler to bag a ten plus stringer on day two with a limit weighing 10.11# to take fourth place. Fifth, sixth, and seventh were anglers that boated 9 pound catches. George Davidson, Arkansas, topped the group with 10.42# for fifth with Matt Tucker, Arkansas, pushed to sixth at 9.34# followed by Chris Duroy’s 9.10# for seventh. Jarred Martinez, Arkansas, broke into the top ten with 8.72# to take eighth place pushing first day leader, Corey Ruff, to ninth with a weight of 8.44#. The closed race for the top ten was between Cameron Adams, seventh on day one, and Brett Krieger, Oklahoma. Cameron edged Brett by 0.01# weighing his creel at 6.62# to Brett’s 6.61#.
The National Semi-Finals returns 100% of their entry fees back to the participates. The weekend event pays 75% for both the boaters and non-boaters with 10% expenses to cover tournament expenses and 15% to the TBF Nationals. The boaters Champion, Doug Thompson, received $2070 and a trip to the 2019 TBF National Champion as the top Arkansas Boater. Hoyt Akins, Arkansas took the $1040 second place purse while Blake Wilson, Arkansas, garnered the number three slot for a $700 check. Jackie Husmann, the top Oklahoma angler and the 2019 TBF Nationals qualifier took the $370 fourth place prize but added an additional $500 as the highest finishing boater that was a Ranger Cup member to bring his total reward to $870. Ron Boyd, Oklahoma, garnered the fifth place $270 prize while John Garcia, Oklahoma took the final slot as sixth getting $200. The Co-angler champion was Corey Ruff, Arkansas, becoming their states qualifier to the 2019 TBF Nationals and collecting the first place pay-back of $1035. Sandy Hooker, Oklahoma, the second place winner to get his ticket to the 2019 TBF Nationals and a check for $520. Chris Duroy, Oklahoma walked off with the third place prize of $350 followed by Jonathan Dotson, Arkansas, taking the $185 fourth place check. The two final co-anglers getting a check were from Oklahoma, the fifth place check of $135 went to Cody Hunt while Derek Rowsey took home $100 for the sixth place position.
The State Pride award went to the Oklahoma Bass Federation anglers. Oklahoma’s total weight for their top 4 boaters and 4 co-anglers as determined from their qualifying series was 116.83# compared to 104.25# for the 8 Arkansas qualified team members. Members of the Oklahoma team were Stewart Ryan, Jody Linder, Mike Zachary and Dean Matts as the boaters while Derek Rowsey, Brandon Beck, Sandy Hooker and Jake Beam the co-anglers. The Arkansas boaters were Blake Wilson, Mike Palmer, Hoyt Akins and Terry Slavens while their co-anglers were James Castleberry, Corey Ruff, Rod Martinez and Joshua Tatum.
The event was sponsored by the City of Eufaula and the Grand Motel.