Lakecaster Online

Woods and Wilson Capture 2005 Texas Oilmen's Bass Invitational
by Donald Gervais


Many, La. --Charlie Woods and Harley Wilson brought the biggest stringer and biggest bass to the Day 1 weigh-in at Cypress Bend Marina at the Texas Oilmens' Bass Invitational (TOBI). Wilson's 9.85-pound Toledo Bend bass anchored their 22.1-pound stringer. They were able to hold the other 565 teams in the tournament at bay on Day #2, by bringing in a 12.5-pound stringer to claim the win and the bragging rights. Overall big bass for the tournament slipped from Wilson when Wayne Simar brought in a Toledo lunker, weighing 10.01 pounds, on Day 2.

The TOBI is a team tournament with a twist. Unlike most other multiple day team tournaments, TOBI offers anglers a chance for three separate paychecks. The top 150 teams of Day 1 receive paychecks as do the top 150 of the Day 2. The two-day weights are combined and the top 150 get a check. Over $100,000 was awarded to the anglers.

It was the third year for Wilson, a Beckville Texas angler and Woods, from Carthage, Tex. to join forces at the TOBI. They bested their third place finish in 2003. The seasoned anglers concentrated their efforts in the 1215 area of the lake. Their most successful bait, including the one used for their 9.85 anchor-fish, fell for a 3/8 ounce Stanley Icon Blood Spot, a dual Colorado spinnerbait.

The champs cast to clumps of grass in 4-6 feet of water and slow rolled their baits. They had a limit of fish on Day 1 by noon, with the big fish taken at 9 a.m. They culled three fish on Friday. Their limit on Day 2 came at 1 p.m. and they culled one fish. Wilson kept his Ranger/Evinrude bass rig moving slowly. The duo reported that most of the fish bites were soft, with the blades' thumping "just stopping" when the fish took the bait. They were armed with All Star rods and Shimano reels, spooled with 15-pound test P-line.
Team #13 Steve Mouton and Michael S. O'Brien took second place with a 30.56 total. The runners up brought in 16.36 pounds on Day 1 to claim 5th place and followed it with a Day 2 limit weighing 14.26 pounds. They also used spinnerbaits to catch their limit each day in mid-lake areas.

Tyler Texan Simar's 10.1-pound lunker on Day 2 catapulted he and teammate John Trosclair to third place with a total catch of 29.48 pounds. They brought 14.67 pounds to the scales on Friday, to claim 11th place and followed it up with a Day2 weight of 14.81 pounds to place 13th on Saturday.

The anglers fished in the southern reaches on the Texas side of the lake, casting into 6-8 feet of water along grass lines, close to 20-foot drop-offs. They used trick worms, green pumpkin with red flake, wacky-style. They were equipped with Bass Pro Shop Extreme rods and Shimano reels, spooled with 14-pound test Proline. The 10.1-pound lunker, an egg-laden female lunker was Simar's largest catch ever, and bit at 9:30 a.m. The fish was accepted in to the Toledo Lunker Program and the lucky angler will receive a fiberglass replica from Toledo Tackle for releasing the fish to fight another day.

"I didn't know how big she was and I fought her for the longest 5 minutes of my life," said Simar, a Lafayette angler. "I thought I lost her when she headed under the boat but I somehow turned her and got her close to the net."

Saturday's warming weather improved the fishing over Friday's clear blue skies. Water temperatures on Friday climbed from 54 degrees at takeoff time to the low 60's. Saturday the anglers reported surface temperatures 62-64 degrees. Day 1 saw two fish over 8 pounds while on Saturday anglers tied into five fish over 8 pounds.

Day2 winners were the Louisiana brother team of Steve and Darrel Landry. Their 21.85-pound limit on Day 2 was the second largest of the tournament. They caught all their fish in less than five feet of water north of the bridge, on main lake points, with crawfish and chrome/blue rattling crankbaits. They threw the baits with Falcon rods and Shimano reels, spooled with 30-pound test Power Pro line. The brother team reported catching 15 keepers spread over the entire day. They finished the tournament in 8th place.
The second largest stringer of Day 2 came from the father and son team of Lynn Thibodeaux and 11-year-old Aaron. They managed to bring in 18.77 pounds to the scales. Aaron is carrying on the father and son tradition that older brother Trevin started. It was father and Trevin who won the tournament in 2001, Trevin also being 11 at the time.

"I fish several tournaments each year and I alternate between the boys as my partner," said Lynn. " I caught the big fish today (5.29 pounds) and one small one, Aaron caught the others."
The New Iberia, La. father and son team fished a mile and a half north of Pendelton Bridge with watermelon-red colored Senko's, rigged Texas-style and with 3/8-ounce buzzbaits, in 2-3 feet of water for the very early bite in the morning.

All anglers fishing the TOBI are eligible for door prizes. Each night they are given out. The finale was the draw for a fully rigged Skeeter 200 SX bass boat with a 2oo-horsepowere Yamaha engine, from Dawson Marine.

"My wife and I were invited by TOBI to visit the Texas Children's Hospital," Wes Dawson told the crowd of anglers and supporters. "I will be a part of this tournament next year because of the great work the tournament has done for the hospital."

Jacob Ladyga, a patient at the Texas Children's Hospital, drew the name of the winner of the boat, Lance Folkes of Katy, Tex. Folkes said that the boat would not be put up for sale, he had borrowed a friend's boat to fish the tournament because he had didn't have one.

"It's all about the kids at the Texas Children's Hospital," said Randy Connor, president of the Texas Oilmen's Bass Invitational (TOBI) 2005 Tournament Board of Directors. "The tournament's goal was to raise $50,000. We will exceed that goal and donate $70,000."

This year's tournament was in honor of Homer Fred Staggs, a founding director of the TOBI, who died in October.

"Homer put a lot of effort and time in this tournament for the kids," said longtime friend and fellow TOBI director Scott Spates. "Words are not enough to describe the bond he had with this organization."
The Negreet High School junior class worked at the weigh-in site and earned money for their prom. Security and traffic control was provided by the Sabine Parish Sheriff's office. In addition, trustees of the parish detention center provided assistance to the TOBI staff during the event. The Louisiana Sabine River Authority's Shimano Live Release barge helped in the release of the more than 4,600 pounds of fish that were brought to the scales. Only two dead fish were seen at the weigh-in scales during the two-day event.

A partial list of sponsors for the TOBI includes: Baker Hughes, Houston Oaks, Skeeter Boats, Pride International, Parker Drilling, Schlumberger, Smith Services, Rusty Clark Survey, Key Energy, Preheat, Inc, Huval Trucking, Venture Transportation, Tanner Companies, DCI, Stratos, Nabors Offshore, Toledo Bend RV Sales, HB Rentals, Cypress Bend Park, Dolphin, Knight Tools, Power Chokes, Weatherford, Kistler Rods, Specialty Rental Tools and Halliburton.

Day 1 Big Bass/leader picture
Harley Wilson shows off the 9.85-pound Toledo Bend bass that captured Big Bass honors for Day 1 at the 2005 Texas Oilmens' Bass Invitational. The kicker fish gave Wilson and fishing partner Charlie Woods the Day 1 lead. Photo by Donald Gervais

Charlie Woods (left) and Harley Wilson show part of their catch that iced them the 2005 Texas Oilmens Bass Invitational Championship on Toledo Bend Lake. See story for where and how they did it.
Photo by Donald Gervais

Overall Big Bass
Wayne Simar proudly shows his 10.1-pound Toledo Bend lunker that captured Big bass honors for Day 2 and overall Big Bass of the 2005 Texas Oilmens' Bass Invitational tournament held March 18-19 at the Cypress Bend Park.
Photo by Donald Gervais

Boat Winner
Lance E. Folkes, pictured on the right, sits in the Skeeter bass boat he won at the 2005 Texas Oilmens' Bass Invitational. Jacob Ladyga, a patient at the Texas Children's Hospital, who drew Folkes' name in the door prize draw, is seen on the left. Wes Dawson of Dawson Marine, is seen in the middle. TOBI donated more than $70,000 to the hospital from the 2005 tournament.
Photo by Donald Gervais

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