Johnny Babb and Stewart Ryan Advance To
2016 TBF Nationals
The Oklahoma Bass Federation defended their position as the Central Division Champs by winning the Central Division Tournament taking the title on the Tenn-Tom Waterway in Aberdeen, MS. The team took the 2014 title on Eufaula Lake in Oklahoma and now has added the 2015 title, being one of the few State Teams to ever have back-to-back Divisional Championships.
The practice days were hampered by rain, swift river currents, and ever changing weather. However, as the tournament started the water calmed, the skies cleared, and many of the things learned during the practice went out the window and the anglers had to change with the conditions. The team weighed in only 12 fish, tied for the 5th ranking State of fish weighed in as a team total, however, our weight per fish averaged 2-9 pounds and placed the OBF in 3rd after the initial day of competition. Johnny Babb let the team with a two fish catch weighing 6-15 pounds followed by 4 plus pound stringers from Brandon Moss, Mike Zachary, Ron Fuller, and Gene Vogt. Brandon and Ron had only one fish each but they were 4-14 and 4-09, respectively. Stewart Ryan (3-07) and Jackie Husmann (2-04) rounded out the 30-15 pounds total leaving us behind both Kansas and Mississippi by only 3 pounds. After day one Johnny ranked 3 overall for the tournament with Brandon at 14, Mike at 18 and Ron at 20. Only 57 of the 94 contestants weighed in fish the first day, 102 fish caught for a total weight of 211-13.
During our team meeting following the 1 day, we were able to reevaluate and change our approach for competition the second day. The result proved to really pay dividends. Our team brought 22 fish to the scales owith an average, again, of about 2-8. Johnny improved his first days catch with 4 fish weighing 9-10. Mike and Gene also put 4 fish on the scales with 7-11 and 6-13. Brandon had 3 for 6-6. Ron Boyd and Ron Fuller brought in two fish each weighing 5-6 and 4-11, respectively. ( Ron Boyd’s first day partner wanted to go up the river 5 locks and due to lock delays did not get back in time to weigh in. It was a team decision for Ron to take the “adventure” trip.) The only team close to us in number of fish was Mississippi with 21 fish, however, their fish averaged only 1-10.
After the day 2 weigh in Oklahoma jumped from 3 to first with a 9 pound lead over Kansas and an 11 pound lead over Mississippi. We had four team members in the top 10, Johnny at 2, Mike at 7, Brandon at 8 and Gene at 9. Ron Fuller moved up from 20 to 16 while Stewart advanced 3 places from 29 to 26.
The final day started with our team going out to maintain our lead. The big stringer for the final day for us was a 5 fish limit weighing 10-6, one of the largest of the tournament, by Stewart. Johnny continued to increase his daily total with 9-15 being the only angler in the tournament to increase his catch each of the three days. On the last day, many of the anglers from other states was more interested in going home than catching fish. Two our anglers, Brannon Whipple and Chuck Nelson had a difficult draws and had not weighed fish on day 1 or day 2, rather than be discouraged they combined to bring 6 fish to the scales for a total of 11-15. Brannon had four weighing 8-13 while Chuck had 2 at 3-2. (Our margin of victory turnout to be 11-14.)
Oklahoma won the tournament with a total catch of 122-10 followed by Mississippi with 110-12 and in third was Arkansas with 97-3. OBF had 22 fish the last day with a total of 44-10 while Mississippi had 21 fish to move into second.
On the individual level, Johnny Babb was crowned the Central Division individual Champion and also won a $500 Ranger Cup bonus for himself, as he did last year, and $500 to be shared by other Ranger Cup qualified team members. Johnny, already a BFL All-American from his efforts in the 2015 TBF Nationals, qualified at the Boater in the 2016 TBF Nationals. The big gest jump in the standings was Stewart Ryan with a move from 26 to 6. This qualified Stewart to be the non-boater at the 2016 TBF Nationals. Mike ended with 10 place finish with Ron Fuller at 12, Brandon Moss at 16 and Gene Vogt at 20.
This makes the second year that we have won the Division Championship, the individual champion ( Dean Matts was the 2014 Division Champ), and had the winner of the Central Division Ranger Cup competition.
For additional info and the daily standings go to www.bassfederation.com. Go to Tournaments, Tournament Results, then Division Tournament Results, and TBF Central Divisional Championship.