By Marisa Dye
Changing weather conditions threw some anglers for a loop at the Oklahoma Bass Federation Qualifier on Lake Texoma March 29th and 30th. Others fished well, including some of those new to OBF this year. Among state clubs in The Bass Federation (TBF), Oklahoma was second in the nation in the percent increase in new members this year, according to OBF President Don Linder.
Low lake levels made for some unusual hauls for some anglers on Saturday. Stewart Ryan of the Ada club had a big haul, but it was the wrong kind: a t-shirt, a marina trolly, and several stripers were among his findings, according to his partner for the day, Brian Browning of the Bedlam Bass Club.
Ryan’s luck wasn’t any better at weigh-in when he discovered his 18-year-old son Wyatt Ryan out-fished him. Wyatt, a student at East Central University and member of the East Central Fishing Team, fished in his first tournament at age 12. Wyatt Ryan weighed in four keepers totaling 10.53 lbs. Saturday to his dad’s one keeper. He said he used a crank bait to catch them, “like father like son,” he added, grinning.
Brett Krieger of Ponca City Bassmasters, who just started his second season in OBF, bested many veterans with four fish weighing 11.02 lbs, which was good enough for 7th place. Like many successful anglers on Saturday, Brett said the fishing was best before 10:30 a.m.
Brian Browning of the Bedlam club fished his first OBF Qualifier Saturday and tied for second place with four fish totaling 15.65 lbs. He also had the big bass at 7.74 lbs. Browning has been tournament fishing for over 20 years and frequently fishes with Ron Boyd.
Like Krieger, Browning reported that most of his bass were caught before 10:30 a.m. because a front passed through. The fishing died off then and didn’t pick up again until around 2 p.m. Browning said he really enjoyed his first OBF experience and made a new friend in his boat partner, Stewart Ryan.
Veteran OBF angler Brandon Beck of Ada Bassmasters tied Browning for 2nd place with a limit weighing 15.65 lbs. Mike Zachary, also of Ada, took the top spot with five fish weighing a total of 17.01 lbs.
Repeating a common theme heard from other anglers on Saturday, Zachary said he caught his limit and culled two fish before 10 a.m., but saw no activity after that. He reported that he caught them on the Oklahoma side of the lake in mostly clear water using an Alabama rig, including two keepers in one cast.
Sunday’s windy conditions brought new challenges to the fishermen. 39% of those fishing in the tournament didn’t bring a single fish to weigh-in.
Jackie Husman of Ponca City Bassmasters may have only weighed in one fish, but it was a good one. The 2.09 pounder was Sunday’s biggest bass.
Derek Smith of Ponca City Bassmasters was back from a 10-plus-year-hiatus from OBF. He caught three nice-sized fish between 10:30 a.m. and noon. While the fishing dried up for him in the afternoon, he reported that his boater Ron Boyd of the Bedlam Bass Club caught steadily all day on the Oklahoma side of the lake.
Smith’s three bass had a total weight of 11.05 lbs., which placed him third on Sunday. Boyd placed second with a limit weighing 15.43 lbs.
Mike Zachary again took the top spot with five fish weighing in at 17.55 lbs. Zachary, who’s been fishing TBF tournaments for over 10 years, will be representing Oklahoma at Nationals. His performance on the water this weekend shows why.
The second of three OBF Qualifiers for 2014 will be Friday, April 18th and Saturday, April 19th on Lake Eufaula. More photos from the Texoma Qualifier can be found on theOklahoma Bass Federation Facebook page.
Marisa Dye is a third generation journalist. Follow her on Twitter @MarisaDye as she’ll tweet her latest OBF stories when published online.