lb 14 oz Largemouth on
just returned home from our trip to the TBF National Championship on
. Day 1 was great, I caught a limit and was leading the
co-angler big bass pot up until I get beat out at the end. I
ended up Day 1 in the lead for my Division, but came up a little
short on Day 2. I had a limit on the second day, but they were
all pretty small. That is the frustrating part of being a
co-angler, that you have little control of your destiny. I had
great partners both days, and the FLW/ TBF crew and sponsors put on
an awesome tournament!!! This was first class all the way!
They gave us tons of sponsor merchandise, including a Ranger coat,
Solar Bat Sunglasses, Stearns SOS suspenders,
tackle bag, a National Guard backpack, shirts, and of coarse lots of
hats and more. They provided very nice banquets, great support
and service from the tournament crew, and a wonderful family fun
zone that my kids really enjoyed. The weigh ins were in a huge
coliseum, filled with huge inflatable slides and bouncy things,
several boat simulators, a trout pond, Reel Kids Casting, and more.
My kids had a blast, and thanks to all the National Guard cadets
that were there to help.
has been a long process to get to this event. First we fish in
club tournaments, then my Zone tournament, then to a State
tournament. I made the 12 man team for
, and took second place at the Divisional in
last summer. The first place guy went as the boater, and I
went as the co-angler to represent our state. Doug Bank was
the boater from
. He also brought his family for support, this was a very
family-friendly event. He had an awesome Day 1 as well,
leading the Division with over 15 lbs. But we both fell to a
similar fate on Day 2. Close, but not close enough. I
was really rooting for him to pull through, he is such a great guy!
was sure nice to leave the foot of snow we just got back home in
and spend some time on the water in beautiful Southern Spring
weather. Day 1 was cloudy and cool. My partner was Bill
. I started out the day with a bang! I caught my big
bass, almost 5 lbs on my third cast of the day on a jerk bait.
My other four keepers of the day were caught on black/ silver jerk
baits and various craws. We were mostly fishing spawning bass, in
shallow coves. Day 2 brought us Bluebird skies. I
fished with Frank Perkins from
. We fished docks all day. I mostly used a green pumpkin
shaky head worm, and my partner used a Senko. When I finally
got the big bite I was needing on day 2 it unfortunately turned out
to be a 4 lb catfish, not what I was needing. A lot of people were
surprised how skinny many of the fish were. They would have
huge heads, but not the body to go with it. Surprisingly,
there were not a lot of boats on the water in the area. The
weather was in the 70's, but the locals didn't seem to be ready to
head out yet. Even with the FLW tournament coming up on
near by, we saw very few fellow anglers out there either.
for the tournament crew, these are the best in the business.
Every little detail is handled with outmost professionalism.
We started each morning with a breakfast at the hotel, and then we
headed out in our wrapped boat and matching truck that was provided
for each of us. I fished out of the BP boat and the US Bank
boat. Everything was always fully gassed up for us, and the
crew is always there to park your truck for you and take care of our
every need. When we take off in the morning, our box lunch, sodas
and snacks are even loaded in the boat for us each day. When we came
back in to the launch, the crew had even turned all the rigs around
in the parking lot, so it all went more smoothly to pull everyone
out of the water! We had a police escort to get us to the
weigh-in site each day. At the end of the day, while we are
enjoying dinner, they are gassing us all up again, filling up the
oil, charging the batteries and even cleaning the boats out for us.
methods of caring for the fish are incredible! Even though the
weigh-in was in downtown
, the fish stayed just as healthy as if we weighed them in at the
dock. The live wells are all top of the line in the Ranger
Boats we all used, and we were all provided with Rejuvinade
chemicals for our live-wells. The aerated tank system at the
coliseum and in-water weigh-in on stage all kept the fish alive and
well. I believe they said over 90% were released back into
can't wait till September at
to try to make it again next year to the Championship. It is
great to see how far the Federation has come! This was an
awesome experience, especially for the guys who have never fished a
big tournament before.
for the televised version of this tournament on FSN on May 27th.
Maybe I will get a few seconds of footage, even though I didn't
qualify for the All American. I did catch a nice one for the
TV camera on the water each day.