The Oklahoma Bass Federation held their first two of their 6 tournaments to be held in the 2018 tournament schedule to qualify anglers to participate in the TBF District 6 National Semi-Finals to be held on Grand Lake, June 16 and 17, 2018. With water temperatures ranging from 48 degrees to about 53 degrees, a dropping lake and waters from murky to murkier, the fishing both practice days and both tournament days proved to be the most difficult fishing action that many of us have experienced in the past 45 to 50 years of fishing on Grand Lake.
The anglers started the tournament with temperatures in the low 40’s and very mild wind conditions. Trailering was allowed so all parts of the lake were challenged by our anglers. Even though the fishing conditions were very tough, there were a few teams that found the correct waters to fish and the best lures to present to the fish. Johnny Babb and Cain Brinlee (Ada) brought 4 fish to the scales weighing 12.01# to take first place. Their stringer was anchored by the big bass for the day, a 5.75# lunker. Three teams boated 5 fish limits to take the next three places. Jody Linder and Jake Beam (Ponca City) boated a limit that weighed 10.23# to sweep second place. Gene Vogt and Donnie Combrink (PC Hookers) had a limit that trailed second by only one pound with 9.26# for third. Fourth went to Jeff Linder and Brett Krieger (Ponca City) with their limit weighing 8.74#. Bobby Walker and Cameron Adams (Ponca City) captured fifth with 3 fish tipping the scales at 7.68#. John Garcia and Brett Taylor (Bedlam) had 2 fish, one weighing 4.0#, for a 6.33# total to take sixth place. Seventh went to Dean Matts and Scott Callaway (Central) with two fish tipping the scales at 5.58#. One fish, a 4.53# lunker, helped Ron Fuller and Denton Long (NEO) into eight place. Mike Morgan and Brandon Beck (Ada) took ninth with 2 fish weighing 3.57# while the Ada team of Stewart Ryan and Alex Lane had two fish trailing ninth by only .06# to take tenth with 3.51#. The only other team to catch 2 fish, Marc and Julie Downs (Bedlam), to take eleventh with 3.40#. Three other teams contributed one fish each. Ben Burk and Paul Davis (Bedlam) finished twelfth at 1.66#, Jackie Husmann and Sandy Hooker (PC Hookers) 1.04# at thirteenth followed in fourteenth place by Shawn Lewis and Curtiss Plunkett (Ponca City) with 0.97#.
The fishermen were greeted with 10 to 15 mph winds out of the North with temperatures in the low 40’s, in fact the temperatures reached only 45 or 46 degrees during the day along with never ending winds. Due to conditions, the angers were limited to the areas of the lake they could fish. As bad as Saturday was for fishing, Sunday was worse. However, with the good quality of anglers fishing in our tournaments, a few always seem to meet the challenge. Our two anglers, Gene Vogt and Donnie Combrink, who qualified for the 2018 TBF Nationals from 2017 National Semi-Finals, took first place in the tournament with an unbelievable limit weighing 18.99#. Their limit included the big bass for the day and the tournament at 6.17#. Matching Gene and Donnie with limits both days was Jody Linder and Jake Beam. Jody and Jake dropped about a pound from day one to 9.20# taking second for the second day. Moving up from fourth Saturday to third was Jeff Linder and Brett Krieger with three fish tipping the scales at 7.69#. Their creel included a 6.07# lunker. Jeremy Vantuyl and Cody Hunt (PC Hookers) took fourth place with 6.64# with two fish, one weighing 4.87#. Fifth, sixth and seventh places were three teams boating two fish each. Fifth was garnered by Ron Fuller and Denton Long anchored by a 4.76 lunker to bring their two fish total to 6.33#. Dean Matts and Scott Callaway had a weight of 5.76# to take sixth while John Garcia and Brett Taylor followed with 4.43#. Jack Garrett and Brad Hopkins (Ada and NEO) got on the board with a fish weighing 3.41# and just behind with a 3.22# fish was Ben Burk and Paul Davis. Rounding out the top ten was Bobby Walker and Cameron Adams at 1.90#. The only other boat the came to the weigh-in trailer with a fish was Mike Morgan and Brandon Beck with a 1.86# fish to take eleventh place.
The total amount of fish caught for the two days was much lower than any other total registered in an OBF tournament for the last 30 to 40 years. Saturday there was 36 fish brought to the scales and all were returned to the lake. On Sunday the number of fish dropped to 25 with all returned to the lake. The average weight per fish for the two days was 2.18# on Saturday and 2.78# on Sunday. The pay back for our tournaments is 20% of the field. The total pay-back for each event will be $1150. First each day is a prize of $425, second $300, third $200, and fourth $150. There was also a bonus of $100 for the top Ranger Cup angler each day. Following is total payback for the two days:
Gene Vogt and Donnie Combrink $725.00 (includes $100 for Ranger Cup on Sunday)
Jody Linder and Jake Beam $600.00
Johnny Babb and Cain Brinlee $525.00 (includes $100 for Ranger Cup on Saturday)
Jeff Linder and Brett Krieger $350.00
Jeremy Vantuyl and Cody Hunt $150.00
Fifth is a blind draw for all those present that did not place in the top 4. Saturday’s winner was Bobby Walker and Cameron Adams while Marc and Julie Downs took the $75 prize for Sunday.
The next two tournaments will be held on Lake Texoma Saturday and Sunday, April 21 and 22 followed by the final events on Eufaula May 5 and 6. After the six events, the top 10%, based on the points of each team total from their top four tournaments. Participation of our OBF members in sanctioned events will also be used to determine how many boaters and co-anglers will advance to the TBF District 6 National Semi-Finals to be held on Grand Lake June 16 and 17. For the NSF, the lake will be off limits on June 11 and 12 with practice being allowed the 13, 14, and 15. The top 10% boaters and co-anglers from Arkansas and Oklahoma will compete with the boaters vs boaters and co-anglers vs co-anglers in a blind draw format. Entry for the NSF is $200 for boaters and $100 for co-anglers. The tournament will pay back 75% of the entry fee to 20% of the field. The top boater and top co-angler from each State will qualify for the 2019 TBF National Championship which will give them a chance to garner a non-entry fee shot at attending the BFL All-American or, if winning Nationals, a direct entry to the FLW Cup and a “Living the Dream” package.