Lakecaster Online

Louisiana Oilman's Bass Invitational benefits St. Jude's Children's Research
By Ray & Patty Lenderman

April 4-5, 2003
Cypress Bend Resort, Toledo Bend Lake

For the past nine years, the Louisiana Oilman's Bass Invitational (LOBI) has donated much needed funds to the St. Jude's Children's Research Center. These funds have added up to an excess of $150,000 that this non-profit organization has donated to help the children of St. Jude's. That's not all. Each year, LOBI also donates $1,500 to the Toledo Bend Lake Association for re-stocking this lake that so many enjoy. This year they also helped the Negreet High School Junior class raise funds for their prom and senior rings. These high-schoolers earned their money running fish from the weigh scales to the Sabine River Authorities Shimano live release barge for the 679 teams fishing this two day event. The pay-out was $130,000 in cash and prizes spread out over 150 places which included three 21' Skeeter boats powered by 200 Yamaha motors.

As stormy weather threatened overhead, the men and women fishing this event scattered all over Toledo Bend to find their limits in big bass. While most targeted the bedding bass, others found staged pre & post spawn bass to be the better bet. Over 4,000 bass were brought to the scales for a total tournament weight of 9,159.33 lbs.

Final two-day weights & standings:
1st place - 46.78 lbs - James Bowden of BJ Services & Chris Lewis of Consolodated Services brought in strong sacks both days of the tournament. Day one they brought in 18.58 lbs which included their 10.84 lb kicker, earning them big bass overall honors as well. Day two they weighed in an incredible 28.20 lb sack that lunged them into 1st place, a full eight pounds over second place. Traveling to the south lake area this team used carolina rigged watermelon candy lizards in 8-9' depths. For them the best bite was early in the day.

2nd place - 38.68 lbs - John Girouard of Pre Heat, Inc & Raymond Fruge of Anadarko headed north for their catch. Flipping tube baits and flukes in watermelon red as well as watermelon scum frogs in less that 3' of water, it did not take long to put their limits in the live well each day. John reported that when his partner Raymond set the hook on one of his bass, he went to lean on the seat and missed landing flat on his back. John had quite a dilemma as he didn't know at that moment whether to help his partner or finish landing the fish. He managed to accomplish both, but didn't say which one he took care of first.

3rd place - 37.04 lbs - Joe Peach & David Hansen
4th place - 35.56 lbs - David Broussard, Jr & Alvin Robicheaux
5th place - 35.16 lbs - Ryan Robicheaux & Elmo Robichaux, Jr.
6th place - 35.12 lbs - Brad Taff & Tom Hogan
7th place - 33.90 lbs - Rick Barns & Les Kerehom
8th place - 33.84 lbs - Nick Mirza & Brian Sherran
9th place - 33.32 lbs - Dewitt Gipson & John Durio, Jr
10th place - 33.22 lbs - Buddy Warren & Randy Tarver
Big Bass - 10.84 lbs - James Bowden & Chris Lewis

The Oilmen, their affiliates and sponsors put on an all-out no holes barred event that includes catered "classically cajun" meals. There were many booths set up at the weigh in site with vendors and representatives from an array of products and services. All of the crew and directors volunteer their time and efforts to make this competitive event a success not only for the anglers but to the community as well. Working four weigh in lines simultaneously, conservation is a key concern and getting the bass back into the lake. Anyone who's income is directly derived from the oil drilling industry may participate in the Oilmen's events. Even though they are competing against each other, the comradery of the entire group is very apparent. We are looking forward to the next Oilmen's event.

James Bowden and Chris Lewis take 1st place overall with their two day weight of 46.78 lbs and 1st place big bass with their 10.84 lb kicker

2nd place honors went to John Girouard and Raymond Fruge, who's back to back limits weighed in at 38.68 lbs
< photos by Patty Lenderman >

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