The first day of the Oklahoma Bass Federation’s Qualifier on Lake Texoma had temperatures in the low 80’s by mid-afternoon, which had some of the 30 anglers sweating and smelling worse than the fish. However, on Sunday, a cold front arrived to cool things down.
First Time Competitors
Some new recruits were fishing their first tournament. Brett Krieger may not have caught any fish on his first day, but said he “liked it a lot. It was fun and I learned a lot about the inner workings of it.”
He got to watch partner Stuart Ryan catch a 15 lb. striper on Saturday, about which Ryan apparently mused, “We could paint it green and put it in the boat!”
Another rookie, Curtiss Plunkett from OKC, was paired with Darrel Dye. Curtiss, who described himself as a “pond hopper for many years”, recently joined the Bedlam club. When asked if he planned to return to the other qualifiers, he enthused, “Most definitely! I loved it!”
Mike Zachary of the Ada club and Tim Carlton of Bedlam may have been new faces to many of the anglers. They both returned to OBF after a few years absence and fished well.
Day One – Saturday
Though Saturday’s weather was cooperative, several of the bass boats were not. Curtis Bryan and Jeff Linder both had motor trouble all day on both ends of their boats, while Darrel Dye lost his trolling motor mid-morning.
Dan Wallace of the Chickasha club, on the other hand, had a fully functional boat and a limit by 10 a.m. He said he caught them on the Oklahoma side on a craw worm.
He culled once and then tried to give his partner a shot at a limit. Wallace weighed in a sack of bass at 13.59 lbs, which was good enough for third place Saturday.
Wallace’s partner, Brett Taylor, happily added, “I caught four fish behind Dan as the fish repositioned. I put four in the boat and got 5th place, which is the best I’ve ever done by far.”
Stuart Ryan of the Ada club, had a tough morning. He didn’t hook a single fish all morning, so he moved to a new location. By noon, he’d caught one, and by 12:30, had his limit.
Though many anglers reported the fishing died after the morning bite, Ryan still culled three times after 12:30. His sack of fish weighed in at 17.61 to take second place Saturday.
The big winner of the day was the Bedlam Bass Club’s Curtis Bryan. He had his limit before 9:30 a.m. and culled twice after that before his motor problems started. His total weight for the day was 19.62 lbs., which put him in the lead by a little over two pounds.
The true sportsmanship characteristic of most bass fishermen could be witnessed Saturday evening after weigh-in, as numerous competitors worked together to help repair the three mal-functioning boats to full function before Sunday’s take-off.
While angler Ian McNeice of McNeice Marine in Stillwater, Oklahoma may not have been in the top three at weigh-in Saturday, he sure was a popular guy Saturday evening, as was Gene Vogt, a former boat dealer.
Day Two – Sunday
Thanks to the hard work of several anglers Saturday night, all boats were fully functional for the second day of fishing on Texhoma. Before the boats put in that morning, it was 65 degrees, but temperatures dropped by the time they were on the water.
Though Mike Morgan didn’t place in the top three on day two, his techniques were a topic of discussion. When OBF President Don Linder announced the day’s standings, he listed Mike’s 8th place, then added in jest, “with that Alabama crap”.
Darrel Dye, who was Mike’s partner on Sunday, said he “got schooled in Alabama rigging”. Mike caught his limit twice with his Alabama rigs, running circles around Darrel’s two fish.
Sunday’s third place was taken by Justin Clark of the Bedlam Bass club. He caught his limit and weighed in a bag of fish at 14.83.
Ponca City Bassmaster President Gene Vogt placed second on day two with a limit weighing 17.11.
Brett Krieger was urged by his partner to peer in Gene’s Vogt’s bag Sunday to see “what a real sack of fish looks like”.
Edging out Vogt by only .22 lbs., Brandon Beck of Ada Bassmasters took the top spot on Sunday. His five bass totaled 17.33 lbs. at weigh-in.
The Ranger Cup winners were Curtis Bryan for Saturday and Brandon Beck for Sunday.
The Big Bass pot was collected by Shawn Lewis with a 4.55 pounder. Lake Eufaula will host the second qualifier on April 20th and 21st.
Marisa Dye is a third generation journalist. Follow her on Twitter @MarisaDye as she’ll tweet her latest OBF stories when published online.