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Texas Oilman's 13th Annual Bass Invitational gives $30,000 to Texas Children's Hospital
By Patty Lenderman

The Texas Oilmen held their 13th Annual bass tournament benefitting the Texas Children's Hospital March 21 & 22 at Cypress Bend Park, Toledo Bend. This year a check for $30,000 was presented to Dr. Brewer, head of the Dialysis unit at Texas Children's Hospital. Over the past 13 years the total dollars donated to help these kids is an impressive $360,000 that has helped to buy new equipment, wheel chairs, a video library, other entertainment and what ever else is needed for these kids who have to stay on dialysis machines for 6-8 hours at a time. The men and women of the Oilmen's organization also donate their time at the hospital to play games with the kids and host a Christmas party for them every year complete with gifts. For the kids who are in good enough health to do so, these same men & women take the kids fishing introducing many of them to the sport for the first time.

The weather was perfect for the TOBI bass anglers with light breezes, partly cloudy skies and temps in the 70's. Any person whose annual income is directly derived from being employed or engaged in the exploration, production and/or servicing oil and gas wells on or off shore is eligible to participate in this event. Spouses and family members can fish with eligible anglers, and for every kid 16 and under who participated a new rod & reel combo was presented to them. There are 150 places plus 5 big bass places paid each day of this two day event plus another 150 places for overall standings. 523 teams participated and for a two day total tournament weight there was over an 8 lb average weight per team.

1st place - 35.01 lbs - Chris Wilson of Superior Energy and Steve Nelson of Ocean Energy brought in a 24.33 lb stringer on day 1 putting them in the lead and backed it up with another limit on day 2 securing their 1st place overall win. Their 8.87 lb kicker bass from day one held for big bass of the tournament. They caught her on a black buzz bait in 4-5' depths pulling their bait over a grassy main lake point on their 3rd cast of the day. Other baits that were working for them was a watermelon red fluke and a Gary Yamamoto black smoke Senko fished shallow in 1'-4' depths.

2nd place - 33.78 lbs - Jimmy Hickman and Jeff Holder, both of Center Point Energy didn't give away any secrets to their catch, only reporting a good early bite in shallow water.

3rd place - 32.04 lbs - Charlie Woods of Cartex and Harley Wilson of Weatherford brought in back to back limits using a tandem gold bladed chartreuse spinnerbait in 2'-4'. "We had a pretty good tournament" this team reported staying near creek beds fishing the brush for their catch.

4th place - 31.84 lbs - Joe Rials and Joe Kasparek, both of Fugro flipped lay-downs with Falcon jigs in black/brown/amber with Gene Larew craw trailers for the best of their catch. They also found Carolina rigged Zoom pumpkin lizards in 2-15' depths working to finish out their limit. "We caught a lot of fish, probably culled 2-1/2 limits today" they reported on day 2.

5th place - 31.69 lbs - Rene Bergeron of Weatherford and Frank Bayus of Pioneer Natural Resources found their fish in coves as well as on grassy main lake flats using black/blue jigs in very shallow water.
Big Bass Day 1 - 8.87 lbs - Chris Wilson / Steve Nelson
Big Bass Day 2 - 8.51 lbs - Lester & Patrick Fairchild

These anglers and crew come to have fun at the tournament and know how to do it, complete with catered meals from sponsors and I'm not talking hot dogs. Representatives from Skeeter Boats were there to give free demo rides in their new 2003 models to anyone who would care to take a ride. The weigh in committees are volunteers and cover their own expenses to help make this event possible. Three weigh in lines running simultaneously with a line of fish runners taking the bass to the Shimano live release boat, provided by the Sabine River Authority / LA makes for a fast moving tournament weigh in. Other funds from this organization are being donated to the restocking program as well as other lake affiliated programs for the betterment of the fishery and its resources. For more information and sponsor listings please go to their website at

1st place - Steve Nelson & Chris Wilson secured 1st place overall with a two day weight of 35.01 lbs, including their 1st place big bass at 8.87 lbs

2nd place team of Jimmy Hickman and Jeff holder brought in a two day weight of 33.78 lbs
< photos by Patty Lenderman >

3rd place honors went to Charlie Woods and Harley Wilson with 32.04 lbs

Day 2 Big Bass weighing 8.51 lbs was brought in by the father/son team of Lester & Patrick Fairchild

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