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12.60 Lb Toledo McSplash WINS Big Bass Splash
By Ed Snyder

15th Annual McDonalds Toledo Bend Big Bass Splash
Sunday, June 24, 2001, Cypress Bend Resort, Lake Toledo Bend, LA.

Warm sunshine and light southeasterly breezes continued to embrace the McBass anglers with almost purr-fect fishing conditions for their final day of competition. but unlike the previous day, the final day just kinda-sorta eased in and eased out without any more big bass splash surprises. But, the second day of competition will forever be immortalized as "LUNKER DAY" for the 15th Annual Toledo McSplash event with a 12.90 lb and 11.13 lb bass brought in among the over 2,500 lbs of big bass that were caught, weighed, and live released by the 1,800 anglers who arrived from 19 states and two countries who fished the tournament to help raise $9,000 to benefit "The House That Love Built".

"We've paid out over $200,000 in cash & prizes at this 15th Annual Toledo event, stated Sealy Outdoors CEO, Bob Sealy, "Which included three days in hourly weigh-in cash payouts for the top 10 bass each hour, daily $15,500 Triton bass-boats to be awarded to the first anglers who weighed-in an exact weight 3.00 lb bass each day of the tournament, "AND" the top 5 "Overall" big bass weighed-in by the anglers who caught the top 5 largest bass of this three day event, which the $25,000 -1st place "Sportsman's Package" going to the 12.60 lb catch of David Atwell who landed the biggest bass of the tournament. "We also managed to raise some very important funds to benefit the operational needs for the McDonalds Select Children Charities such as the Ronald McDonald Houses with this years $9,000 donation being added to the over 3 and ½ million dollars that have already been raised by 1,800 McBass Family anglers who arrived from 19 states and two countries to enjoy these three days of "Sun & Fun" activities. "My Sealy Outdoors Staff, the McDonalds Staff, and those who'll be receiving the benefits from your heartfelt donations "THANK YOU" from the bottom of our hearts. "Our 2002 16th Annual McDonalds Toledo Bend Big Bass Splash will be held on June 21, 22, 23, at Cypress Bend Resort, so mark your tournament calendars folks. Bob Sealy then pulled the $11,000 "luck-o-the-draw" ticket, and as Thomas Busby of Baytown TX, stepped from the crowd of over 4,000 spectators to claim his $11,000 PrinceCraft Pontoon Boat, the 15th Annual McDonalds Toledo McSplash eased into Big Bass History.

McBass ReCap-Day-1- McBass ReCap-
Friday-Day-1 An unusual early summer cold front "ruled" first day bass-a-tudes with cool, northerly winds, "still" rising tropical storm floodwaters, and the pressures of fishing such a huge 194,000 acre reservoir intimidated most anglers. But despite these adversities, 16 year old Jacob Permenter of Cherino TX, managed to catch the first day 8.32 lb leading bass while fishing a half ounce black & blue jig & craw over a 20' north-lake grass-bed edge.

Saturday-Day-2- Calmer southeast winds and slightly warmer temps eased the 2nd day of big bass competition into almost purr-fect bassin' conditions providing a proverbial "LUNKER DAY" for the 2nd day of competition as double digit bass dominated the weigh-in. 1st place McLead went to the -(12.60 lb)- catch for David Atwell of Lake Stienhagen TX, after fishing a south-lake grass-bed in 19' of water. 2nd place McLead went to the -(11.13 lb)- catch of Brett Ballard of Lafayette LA, after dragging a TX rigged 7" Reaction plum/green-flake worm along a Bugs Island drop-off ledge.

Sunday-Day-3- Warm sunny skies and light south-easterly breezes continued to provide purr-fect fishing conditions as final day McBass anglers managed to finalize the 15th Annual McSplash Tournament with a total three day catch of 710 bass weighing over 2,552 lbs, as well as setting an all time record for the largest bass ever weighed-in at a Toledo Bend Big Bass tournament.

1st place McWinner-(12.60 lbs)- The last few seconds were the most nerve racking with my line peeling "serious" drag, stated David Atwell of Lake Stienhagen TX, after he had just weighed-in an "incredible" 12.60 lb Toledo Bend Lunker. David was fishing a Housen Bay grass-bed in 19' of water when he nailed his big bass at 8:05 am while fishing an Erhardt fishing stick and Garcia reel spooled with 30 lb test Fire-line attached to a camo Zoom brush-hog. Atwell's 12.60 lb lunker held as being the overall largest bass caught in the tournament, also setting a Toledo Bend record as being the largest ever weighed-in at a tournament, as well as winning him the $25,000 "Sportsman's Package". David Atwell's 20" by 25 & ½ inch live release bass also became the 18th Toledo Lunker Awards bass of this season that qualified him to receive an exact replica mount of his bass and a special tackle pack from Reaction Lures.

2nd place McWinner-(11.13 lbs)- Brett Ballard of Lafayette LA, put his Skeeter/Mariner over Bug Island flats to work his Castaway rod and Ambassadeur reel spooled with 20 lb test Maximum line. Brett was dragging a TX rigged 7" Reaction plum/green-flake worm along a drop-off edge when he set up on a bite that exploded around a staub. "I first thought that it was a gar, Brett stated, "Then it swam back around the staub, headed for the boat and exploded beside it "BASS" my dad yelled as he headed for the net. "Then after two attempts my dad finally was able to net the big fish, grinned a very excited son. As the time of catch was at 9:25 am father and son decided to bring it in to the tournament to weigh-in the largest bass that Brett Bellard had ever caught. Brett's fish would also be released to qualify him for the lunker awards program." THE SECOND LUNKER AWARDS bass to be weighed in less than an hour and the 19th Toledo Lunker bass of the season.

3rd place McWinner-(9.32 Lbs)- Ben Smith, who had weighed-in a 7.17 lb bass earlier, showed up again for the 1pm to 2pm hour with a 9.32 lb lunker. Ben had fished the same "just south" of Toro Bay area with the same Castaway rod and Shimano reel spooled with 17 lb test to catch his big bass on the same "little gator" Oldham jig and Larew craw that he caught his previous big bass on.

Top 5 Overall Winners:
1-David Atwell-Woodville TX--------------------------12.60 lbs
2-Brett Bellard-Lafayette LA----------------------------11.13 lbs
3-Ben Smith-Bossier City LA----------------------------9.32 lbs
4-Jacob Permenter-Chireno TX--------------------------8.32 lbs
5-Robert Laffitte-Mansfield LA-------------------------8.22 lbs

Day-3 Exact Weight 3.0 lb Triton Bass boat was claimed early by Sonny Glasco of Houston TX, after he worked his St Criox rod and Ambassadeur reel spooled with 60 lb test Lynch line. Sonny caught his bass while fishing a Larew black/blue hawg-craw in a 20' moss bed.

Live release "WORKS" stated John Dean of Reaction lures who awarded 17 exact replica Toledo Lunker Bass Awards to the anglers who donated their catches to the popular program that promotes the catch & release lunker bass format of 10 lbs and above for Lake Toledo Bend. For more information on this program contact (318)-256-4114.

Day-1-(3.00 lbs)- 3.00 Lb Exact Weight $16,500 Triton/Johnson bass boats-
Day-1-George H. Jolly of Shreveport, LA.
Day-2- Clyde Gauthier of Marksville, LA.
Day-3-Sonny Glasco of Houston, TX.

Children's Division McWinners:
BASS - 1ST Mason McCain Lake Charles, LA 11 3.67
BASS - 2ND Kade McDonald Ruston, LA 12 2.55
BASS - 3RD Whitney Banner Alexander, LA 12 2.19

PERCH - 1ST Bryan Parrie Zwolle, LA 12 0.57
PERCH - 2ND Jerry Velek Many, LA 11 0.43
PERCH - 3RD Hannah Fountain San Augustine, TX 2 0.39

CATFISH - 1ST Bryan Davenport Dayton, TX 12 7.55
CATFISH - 2ND Dusty Rash Many, LA 12 2.06
CATFISH - 3RD Lincoln Pearce Many, LA 6 1.88

CRAPPIE - 1ST Daniel Dillard Henderson, TX 10 1.67
CRAPPIE - 2ND Heather Aucoin Bridge City, TX 7 1.41
CRAPPIE - 3RD Hunter Aucoin Bridge City, TX 10 1.36

All bass were recovered and live released by the Shimano/SRA-LA fish recovery team.
Day-1-271 bass weighing 923 lbs-
Day-2-233 bass weighing 883 lbs-
Day-3-final totals- 710 bass weighing 2,552 lbs.

For more information on this, and other Sealy Outdoor events contact Bob Sealy at (1-888-698-2591)- or click to- www.sealyoutdoors.com <http://www.sealyoutdoors.com>

McDonald/Rayburn Big Bass Splash sponsors: McDonalds, Triton Bass Boats, Johnson Outboards, Evinrude, Weaver Motors, Polaris, PrinceCraft, Shimano, Neal's Taxidermy, AC Delco, Academy, Dawson Marine, WWW.FISHINGWORLD.COM <http://WWW.FISHINGWORLD.COM>, Texas Fish & Game, Texas State Networks, McCoys, Latch Oil, The Texas Fishing Show, WWW.SEALYOUTDOORS.COM <http://WWW.SEALYOUTDOORS.COM>, "and" the 15th Annual McSplash Anglers & Family.


Bellard with 2nd place 11.13 lb winner

Atwell with his 12.60 Toledo Bend McSplash Winner
< photos by Ed Snyder >

Atwell "Hefting" his 15th Annual McSplash Win

Toledo Bend Lunker Awards Winners

11 year old Mason McCain with winning childrens bass

Atwell & Family with "Sportsmans Package" and Weaver Motors Rep

Thomas Busby with "Luck-O-The-Draw" Pontoon boat

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