The Oklahoma Bass Federation held its final tournaments on Saturday and Sunday May 5 and 6 on Lake Eufaula. The practice day seemed to be in tune with our previous events with heavy rains from sunup to about 2:30pm on Thursday. Of course, that was predicted, as was the rest of the weekend. Lake Eufaula, known as the “Gentle Giant”, proved to be the anything but a Giant. The Friday practice, as well as Saturday and Sunday had winds in the 2 to 9 mph, an unusual set of conditions for a weekend on Lake Eufaula. However, no one seemed to be disappointed in the weather conditions, however, the lake was mostly tainted with visibility in the 6 inch to 18 inch range, depending on the area of the lake the anglers chose to fish. Regardless of the conditions, more than half of the teams brought limits to the scales.
The first day of the tournament started with little or no wind and temperatures in the mid-fifties. Water temperatures were in the upper sixties to around seventy with slightly clearing water. Jody Linder and Jake Beam, Ponca City, neither having a chance to practice, decided to go for bedding fish although they could not be seen. Their choice was to fish flooded buck brush in spanning areas that produced a limit weighing 16.60 lbs. to capture first place. Jack Garrett, Ada, and Brad Hopkins, NEO, was a close second with 5 fish weighing 15.77 lbs. Johnny Babb and Cain Brinlee, Ada, moved up from their 5th place finishes in our pervious two tournaments to take third place with 14.36 lbs. Placing fourth was Bobby Walker and Cameron Adams, Ponca City, with a limit tipping the scales at 14.24 lbs. Stewart Ryan and Alex Lane, Ada, took the fifth place with 13.43 lbs. followed at sixth by Mike Zachary and Derek Dowsey, Ada, pushing their 13.29 lbs. to the scales. Ron Boyd and Steve Carlon, Bedlam, rounded out the 13 lbs. range with 13.01 lbs. to take seventh. Four teams weighed in eleven pounds limits with Mike Morgan and Brandon Beck, Ada, leading the group with 11.83 lbs. to take eighth nosing out Brandon West and Chris Angier, Bedlam, who trailed behind only .05 lbs. at 11.78 lbs. to take ninth. Rounding out the top ten was John Garcia and Brett Taylor, Bedlam, with 11.55 lbs. Dean Matts and Scott Callaway, Central, followed at eleventh with 11.46 lbs. Six other teams brought limits to the scales. Marc and Julie Downs led the group with 10.56 lbs. at twelfth place followed by Jackie Husmann and Sandy Hooker, PC Hookers, got the lucky thirteenth place with 10.27 lbs. Don Linder, Ponca City, took fourteenth with 9.69 lbs. followed by Jeremy Vantuyl and Cody Hunt, PC Hookers, notching fifteenth with 9.21 lbs. Shawn Lewis, Ponca City, had 8.78 lbs. for sixteenth while Jeffrey Linder and Brett Krieger, Ponca City, took seventeenth with the final limit weighing 7.99 lbs.
The final day of our NSF qualifying tournaments started with light winds and temperatures in the low sixties. Sunday produced fewer limits and about 25 fewer pounds, however, it did produce the largest stringer and big bass for the weekend. Fishing by himself, Don Linder brought five fish to the scales that included a six pounder, five pounder, four pounder, three pounder and a baby spot. The result was a 20.21 pounds stringer and first place finish. The stringer included a 6.36 pounds lunker and big bass for the weekend. Second place was garnered by Ron Boyd and Steve Carlon having a limit weighing 14.50 lbs. Jack Garrett and Brad Hopkins dropped from second on Saturday to third on day 2 with 13.69 lbs. Fourth place was recorded by Mike Zachary and Derek Rowsey with 12.53 lbs. The only other 12 pounds limit that was registered by Jeremy Vantuyl and Cody Hunt with a limit weighing 12.09 lbs. There were five 11 pounds limits with Dean Matts and Scott Callaway leading the group with 11.96 lbs. to take sixth. Following in seventh was Alex Lane, fishing alone, with 11.85 lbs. Eighth went to Bobby Walker and Cameron Adams with 11.25 lbs. Ninth went to day one winner, Jody and Jake Beam, that tipped the scales at 11.12 lbs. followed at tenth by John Garcia and Brett Taylor with 11.09 lbs. Four other teams registered limit catches with Jackie Husmann and Sandy Hooker leading the group with a 9.89 lbs. followed by Mike Morgan and Brandon Beck at 8.92 lbs. The other limits were by Johnny Babb and Cain Brinlee with 6.94 lbs. at thirteenth followed by Ron Fuller and Denton Long, NEO, with the smallest limit for the weekend at 6.19 lbs.
The total catch for the two days was 171 fish weighing 392 lbs. That resulted in an average weight of 2.29 lbs. per fish boated. On a daily breakdown, day one average fish was 2.37 lbs. while day two resulted in a 2.21 lbs. average. Overall, on the winning side, it seemed to be a Linder family weekend. Jody Linder and nephew Jake Beam took first place on day one with 16.60 lbs. while dad/grandfather, Don Linder, took the second day title with 20.21 lbs. As Johnny Babb put the 20 pounds stringer, “I believe this was the first time in our Federation history that an angler, fishing alone, weighed in a 20 pounds limit.” That seems to be an accurate fact and win raised the age of the oldest angler to win one of our events to 79.
With our pay back at each of our events this year at $1150 per event, Jody Linder and Jake Beam took home $525 with Jody’s Ranger Cup additional $100 and day one first place finish. Don Linder also pocketed $525 with the combination of the first place/Ranger Cup prizes. The only team to cash in both days was Jack Garrett and Brad Hopkins with second and third place finishes for a total of $500. Ron Boyd and Steve Carlon took home $300 for their day 2 second place finish while Johnny Babb and Cain Brinlee received $200 for their weekend efforts. Two team received $150 for their fourth place finishes, Bobby Walker and Cameron Adams for day one and Mike Zachary and Derek Dowsey the final day. The $75 blind draws went to Jeffrey Linder and Brett Krieger the first day and Alex Lane on day two.
Twenty boaters and co-anglers have now qualified to attend the TBF District 6 National Semi-Finals tournament on Grand Lake, Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17. TBF District 6 consist of qualified boaters and co-anglers from both the Oklahoma Bass Federation and the Arkansas Bass Federation. The lake will be off limits June 11 and 12 with practice the 13, 14, and 15. A pairings meeting will be held in downtown Eufaula at the city hall. The tournament will be held out of the Honey Creek State Park. The top boater and co-angler from both Arkansas and Oklahoma will advance to the 2019 TBF National Championship to be announce early next year.