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Lake Fork McDonald's BIG BASS SPLASH
by Ed Snyder

10.44 Lb "Splash" Wins Lake Fork McBass
- 2 Lb Bass Dominate Cash for Bass -

Wednesday, September 27, 2000, Sealy Outdoors, Lake Fork, TX.. ...Big Bass Cash was paid out for "little bass splashes" during this three day long "McBass-A-Thon" as newly enforced Lake Fork slot limits of 16 to 24 inches provided one of the more "lucrative" amateur tournament events of the year. The14th Annual McDonalds Lake Fork "Big Bass Splash" drew over 2,600 anglers, from 29 states and two countries, to compete for the "guaranteed" cash & prize payouts of $300,000 that was paid out to an average bass catch of 2 lbs or less. And as the final bass was weighed, the leader-board marked a 10.44 lb lunker at the top with a .45 oz bass recorded for the bottom-end, with the .45 oz mini-bass "almost" making the money slot............."Incredible!!"

"Lake Fork now has a slot limit holding at 16 to 24 inches, stated Tournament Director, Bob Sealy, "This meant that the opportunities for the McBass anglers to hook onto some of the $300,000 offered in cash & prizes were greatly increased due to the fact that the tourney was no longer dominated by the top-end, 24 inch Mega-Bass. "You can see this fact within our top 10 "overall" tournament listing which listed a 10.44 on top with a 2.69 lb bass listed on the bottom.

"HOT" & "STICKY" weather patterned the first two days of the McFork Splash as the long "HOT" summer refused to give up its dominance, "But Autumn finally arrived on the final day on the crest of a chilly cold front. But despite the extreme adversities the weigh-in crew was kept busy weighing over 980 bass that digitized a weight of 1,988 lbs.

The first "Big Bass Splash" weighed-in was a first day 7:am-to-8:am hour bass of 8.95 lbs -24 & 3/4 inch fish caught by Larry Jones of Fruitville, TX, which was quickly followed up with a .45 oz 8 & 3/4 inch bass caught by Jason Gautney of Lake Dallas, TX. Larry Jones' bass "as expected" managed to anchor the 1st place hourly spot for $1,200, but the "unexpected" surprise was with Gautney's mini-bass that "almost" took the 2nd place $1,000 payout until Star Country radio broadcasted that fact, "Where, soon after, a flood of 2 pound bass began rushing the stage, edging Gautney's effort to 3rd, then to 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th until it was completely knocked out of the money.

The first day also provided the tournament "Overall Winner" as the 11:am to Noon T-shirt bonus hour excited the crowd as Randy Miller, of Sulphur Springs TX, "double-trucked" his way towards the stage area with a sack that held a 26 inch long "bowed-up" Lake Fork Trophy "Big-Mack" of 10.44 lbs.
"The bass hit a Norman DD-22 crank-bait at 11:35 am, Miller informed, as he told of fishing with his partner, Steve Taylor, also of Sulphur Springs, while working a 4' to 6' stump-flat that dropped down to 12' the big fish hit as he was "diggin' mud" past a break-line stump. Randy Miller's 10.44 lb "Big Bass Splash" won him a $1,200 top of the hour McCheck, a $1,000 McT-shirt bonus "AND" the "McBraggin-Rights" to the 14th Annual Lake Fork Big Bass Splash which included the first place $35,000 "OVERALL" tournament package of a "fully rigged" Dodge Sport-Truck & TritonOMC bass boat.
"This was a great tournament event, applauded Bob Sealy, of Sealy Outdoors, "and we all had a wonderful time here at Lake Fork Marina as we've paid out the $300,000 in "guaranteed" cash & prize vouchers to what actually became a Big Bass Cash for "Little Bass Splashes" tournament event. "The balanced majority of the hourly and bonus cash monies were awarded to 2 lb bass, Sealy grinned, adding that this tournament managed to put more money into the pockets of the average family anglers. "But, as always, Sealy informed to the attending crowd, "This event also helps to support the needs of the Ronald McDonald Charities as "you", our McBass family anglers, helped to raise $20,000 for this very important benefit, as the $20,000 will now be added to the 2 & 1/2 Million dollars which have already been raised by you from fishing these past years of McDonalds Big Bass events."I thank you, my sponsors thank you, and the families who've needed the Ronald McDonald Houses thank you, Bob Sealy lauded to the applauding crowd.

And as those spectator applauds drifted off into the "chilly winds" of the long awaited Colorado cold-front, Bob Sealy ebbed the 14th Annual McDonalds Lake Fork event into "Big Bass Splash History" as Janie Hazelwood of Bonham TX, stepped up to collect her keys to the $10,000 "luck-o-the-draw" Bennington Pontoon boat.

Top Ten "Overall" Winners:
1. Randy Miller Sulphur Springs, TX 10.44lbs $40,000 Cash & Prizes
2. Larry Jones Fruitvale, TX 8.95lbs $9,200
3. Mike Ray Houston, TX 8.16lbs $7,200
4. Larry McNeese Kilgore, TX 7.96lbs $5,200
5. Mike Webb Hull, TX 7.47lbs $3,200
6. Rick Brown Memphis, TN 7.30lbs $1,200
7. Larry Eaves Washington, OK 6.56lbs $1,200
8. Ed Holland Allen, TX 5.99lbs $1,200
9. Roger Cavazos Hillsboro, TX 2.95lbs $1,200
10. 10-Tom Larkin Sugarland, TX 2.72lbs $1,200

All Bass Live Released by the Shimano Bass Recovery Team for a Total 3 day tally of 980 bass weighing 1,988 lbs.

For More Information -or Official Entry Forms- contact Sealy Outdoors @ 888-698-2591.Next Sealy Outdoors Event- $50,000 "Big Trout Splash" - Rockport, TX.-October 14 & 15, 2000.-(Be There)-
16th Annual Big Bass Splash Sponsors; McDonalds, Texas Dodge Dealers, Triton Boats, Johnson Outboards, Shimano, McCoy's Building Supply, Texas Fish & Game, Academy Sports & Outdoors, Bennington Marine, Texas State Networks, Polaris, Lufkin Marine, Latch Oil, profishingreport, fishingworld, sealyoutdoors, "and" the 14th Annual Lake Fork McSplash Anglers.

8.95 2nd big bass with .45 smallest weigh-fish

10.44 lb winning Lake Fork McSplash
< photos by Ed Snyder >

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