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Baxter and Smith claim bragging rights to 22nd Annual Oilmen's Bass Classic
By Contributing Journalist Donald Gervais

Many, La. -- Oilfield fishing teams converged on Toledo Bend September 9-11 to compete for the bragging rights for the 22nd Annual Oilmen's Bass Classic.. Fishing partners Kevin Baxter and Billy Smith claimed those rights with a come-from-behind second day catch to take the top prize. Dana Hebert and Scott Butaud teamed up to take the big Bass honors with an 8.02-pound Toledo Largemouth lunker.
Fishing conditions that met this year's 550 fishing teams were almost identical to those encountered during last year's Classic. The first cold front of September provided cool mornings and bright blue sunshine days, which made for comfortable weather, but tough fish catching. However despite the tough conditions the oil patch anglers managed to catch fish and make their way to the Classic weigh-in at Cypress Bernd Marina.

Rick Bucher and Jeff Davis took first place honors for day #1 with a 14.7-pound five fish limit. Dwayne Terrebon and Thomas Carpente were close behind in second with 14 pounds, followed by Steve Benson and Kevin Joiner in third with 13.78 pounds.

Baxter and Smith weighed in 13.74 pounds to take fourth while Jason Rogers and Robbie Orgeron held fifth place with 13.47 pounds Rounding out the top ten paces for day 1 were: 6th place --Stephen Smith and Mark Owens (13.36 pounds); 7th spot -Darrel Saucier and Bill Watts (13.15); in 8th place - Eric Leger and Scott Deshotel (13.15); Randy Tarver and Tom LeBlieu claimed 9th with 13.03 pounds and Pete Lammons and W. "Bill" Cook held the tenth place with 13.03 pounds.

Big Bass honors of day 1 went to Hebert and Butaud. Fitting the big fish catch, the anglers told a big fish tale of their catch. The anglers were fishing a wacky worm in Hurricane Creek, located in Housen Bay at 10:30 a.m. when the winning fish took the bait.

"I had a knot in my line and was working it out when the fish bit," said Hebert. "The line broke and I told Scott to grab it as it began to slip from the near the boat."

The partner grabbed the line and wrapped it around his hand ten times.

"I didn't know the size of the fish at first when I started pulling the line," said Butaud. "I told Dana to grab the net, that we would have one chance to get her. Dana made one swipe of the net as she swam past and got her in the net."Both anglers agreed that it was a team effort. Hebert was credited with the bass that earned him big bass for day 1 and overall big bass of the tournament.

Jim Harris managed to bring in a 6.32 bass to take second big bass on day #2. Todd Morales took third place honors with a 6.32-pound bass.

Fishing conditions on Day #2 did not improve as cool bright daylight turned into another bluebird day for the competitors. The tough fishing conditions were obvious at the weigh in scales as five-fish limits and hefty weigh bags were rare.
Joe Rials and Bob Gamble brought in the biggest stringer of Day 2 and the tournament with a 17.14 pound catch. A 4.36 pound bass anchored their large stringer. The pair had weighed in but 5.06 pounds on day 1 but the catch of day 2 catapulted them from 169th place to 8th place. A 3/8-ounce Falcon jig (black/blue) accounted for the big fish. They also used Brushhogs in fishing lay downs and stumps in 2-5 foot depths in Bison and Converse Creeks. Day 1 leaders Bucker and Davis managed but 5.96 pounds on Day 2 to slip to 19th place.

Baxter and Smith's day 2 catch of 14.69 pounds was the second largest stringer of day 2 and gave them a two-day total of 28.43 pounds and the victory. The duo concentrated their fishing efforts in San Miguel creek fishing deep water structure.

"I am a deep structure fisherman," explained Smith. "We started each day with the boat positioned in 38 feet of water and we threw to 20 feet. After an hour or so we would position the boat in 20-feet and throw into 38 feet of water."

The duo caught the majority of their fish using a 10" black worm with a ¼-ounce sinker, rigged both Carolina and Texas-styles. They caught an early limit r each day from the shallower water and managed to cull them with larger fish from the deeper water as the day progressed. Two 4 pound bass anchored their first day limit and one 4-pounder anchored day 2's limit. The duo also used a ¼-ounce Falcon jig (camo-color), tipped with a Zoom Brushog trailer (watermelon color) to account for several of their fish.
Second place honors went to Leger and Deshotel with 25.81 pounds. The duo climbed from their day one 8th place by bringing in 12.66 pounds to the scales on day 2.

The runner up team fished the 1215 area of the lake both days, concentrating their efforts in 8-12 feet of water. They threw Texas rigged plum worms, with ¼-ounce sinkers, on 14-pound clear Stren line, spooled on Shimano reels and attached to Falcon rods.

Smith and Owens, both from Joaquiin, La., brought in 11.65 pounds on Day 2 to climb from their 6th place day 1 spot to claim third place. The fishing partners of 13 years fished the Huxley Bay area of the lake with an earthworm-colored Senko, rigged Texas style to account for the majority of their fish. They fished with 15-pound Berkely Big Game line spooled on their Shimano rods and reels. They targeted stumps, lily pads and scattered grass patches in 6-10 feet of water. They had an early bite each day, with bites coming far between as each day progressed. Their largest fish of day 2 came later in the day.
Second day big bass honors went to Jared Borden with a 6.42 pound bass. Jared. Fishing with his father Rickey were fishing in Housen Bay. The Day 2 big bass was caught on a white worm, fished wacky-style in shallow water.

Rounding out the top ten finishers for the tournament were: 4th place-Benson and Joiner (23.72 pounds); 5th -- Michael Danos and Michael Danos (23.66); 6th place - Blair Samey and Richard Bird ( 23.2); 7th place - Tarver and Leblieu (22.5); in 8th were Joe Rials and Bob Gamble with 22.2 pounds; Gilbert Ornelas and Tony Consenza claimed 9th place with 22.14 pounds and rounding out the top ten were Elton Luce and Don Jones with 22.07 pounds.

"It was a great tournament," said tournament president Randy Leblanc. "I want to thank the directors, board, volunteers and sponsors for all their hard work to make it happen. I also wish to thank the people of Many, the Chamber of Commerce, the Sabine Tourism staff, the Sabine River Authority of Louisiana and the local people for all they do for the tournament."

The Oilmen's Classic again awarded a fully rigged bass boat in a draw at the Saturday evening finale.. All paid participants were eligible for the boat donated by Cajun Outboards. Scott Graham, owner of Cajun Outborads, and his team from of Addis, La were on hand to present a 2005 Skeeter 200 SX boat package, powered by a Yamaha outboard. The winner of the $28,000 boat and trailer was Darren Dubois of Kaplan, La.

Payout for the vent totaled $72,200. In addition the tournament donated $1,500 to the Toledo Bend Lake Association for restocking. The Negreet High Schoold Girls' JV, varsity and cheerleading teams aided in the weighin to earn money for uniforms. Securit for the event was provided by the Sabine River Authorit of La securt force, the Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office and the Louisina State Police.

Visit the Oilmen's website for a detailed list of the finish at:
Sponsors for the 22nd Oilmen's Classic tournament included: Cajun Outboards, C& G Boats, Knight Fishing Services, Southern Wireline Services, Weatherford, CAL Dive International, HB Rentals, Superior Energy Services, Thomas Energy Services, DELMAR, Acadiana Dodge, Stratos, Coastal Chemical, EnviroPAC, Wood Group Production Services, DC International, Watson Electric Company, John E. Chance and Associates, Sabine River Authorityy, Huval's Trucking, Venture, BLR Construction, Louisiana Pipeline & Construction, Baker Oil Tools, Rusty Clark Survey, TIMCO Services, Professional Wireline

Joe Rials and Bob Gamble show their day 2 catch that was largest of 2005 Oilmen's Bass Classic tournament held at Cypress Bend Marina at Toledo Bend Reservoir. Their 17.14 pound catch brought them from 169th on day 1 to 8th place.

Kevin Baxter (left) and Billy Smith display part of their Day 2 catch that earned them the Championship of the 2005 Oilmen's Bass Classic held at Toledo Bend Sept 10-11. The duo climbed from 4th spot on day 1 for the victory with a 28.43 pound total.
< photos by Donald Gervias >

Scott Butaud (left) and Dana Hebert show the big bass that claimed honors at the 22nd annual Oilmen's Bass Classic on Toledo Bend Sept 10-11. The 8.02 pound fish also came with quite a fish tale, see story for the details.

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