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No Fooling at Louisiana Oilmen's Bass Invitational April 1st Weigh-In
By Contributing Writer Donald Gervais

 

Many, La. -- Two fish accounted for nearly half the weight for the champion team of Charlie McGee and Todd Williams at the 11th Annual Louisiana Oilmen's Bass Invitational (LOBI) held on Toledo Bend Reservoir April 1-2. Williams' Day 1 fish, weighing 9.48 pounds, was third place in the April fool's big bass honors and put the team tied for 4th with 23.02 pounds. Williams bested the Day 1 big bass of John Schweitzer on Saturday, a 10.1-Toledo Lunker, with an 11.02-pound Toledo sow. The largest bass of the tournament anchored their Day 2 catch of 19.7 pounds to give the anglers 42.72 pounds and bragging rights in the Louisiana oilfields in 2005.

It was anything but an April fool's joke as the 667 competing teams fished in the white-capped lake on Day 1. Sustained North winds of 15-20 mph made fishing and navigation difficult and treacherous. Despite the windy conditions, anglers brought in 4,704 pounds of fish, nearly two and a half tons of bass, to the Cypress Bend Park weigh in site. The top ten teams each weighed more than 20 pounds of fish.

James Kiser and Mike Mahan, the defending 2004 LOBI champions, led after Day 1 with a 25.06-pound stringer. Mahan's 8.78-pound kicker fish ranked as the 6th big bass for the day. In second place was the angling team of John Lafitte and Gordon Holekamp. A 5.25-pound fish was the largest fish in their 24.5-pound stringer; all almost identical in size.

Mark Crowe's 7.38-pound fish anchored he and teammate Sam Avery's 23.2-pound catch and placed them in third place. McGee and Williams found themselves in a two-way tie for fourth place with Danny Demary and Travis Broussard with 23.02 pounds. Schweitzer's 10.1-pounder anchored he and partner Bill Logan's 21.52-pound stringer, which placed them in the number six position. Ten pounds separated the leaders from 40th place team and with the big bite "on"; it was anyone's tournament as the teams headed to day 2.

The North winds continued to blow across the 632,000-acre impoundment on Saturday, but with less ferocity, dropping to 5-10 mph, Bluebird skies were overhead and temperatures reached 74 degrees.

One of the first teams to weigh-in on Day 2 was Lance Halsell and David Guidry. A 9.64- pound giant bass, giving indications that the big bite was still on, anchored their 21.5-pound five fish limit. That notion quickly faded for the 200 plus spectators at the weigh-in as anglers brought in their catches. Halsell and Guidry's catch would be the largest catch of the day. They had but 7.42 pounds on Day 1 to eventually place them in 20th place. They caught the leading stringer in Housen Bay using a variety of baits including rogues, watermelon-colored flukes and Carolina rigged lizards.

Day 2 catches fell off considerably as only 2,657 pounds of fish crossed the three weigh-in scales of the TOBI. The defending champs managed but one fish, weighing 2.5 pounds on Day 2 to drop them to 27th place. The second place team of Day 1 managed a five-fish limit weighing 14.35 pounds to give them the temporary lead. They held it until McGee and Williams hoisted their Day 2 catch of 19.7 pounds on the scale, the second largest stringer of Day 2.

Third place anglers of Day 1, Crow and Avery, brought in 13.28 pounds to stay in third place with 36.3 pounds, while Stanley Head and Mark Williams, 7th place on Day 1 with 20.7 pounds, climbed to fourth place when they added 15.38 pounds to their tally.

Schweitzer and Ligon, sixth place after Day 1, climbed a notch on Day 2 to claim 5th place while Mark Owens and Stephen Smith climbed from their 11th place day 1 standing to take sixth place with 33.98 pounds.

The champs, fishing together for the first time as a team in the LOBI, managed to catch their wining fish and the tournament big bass honors while sight fishing. They motored to Housen Bay in their Triton/Yamaha bass rig and enticed their bites with Reaction Salty Dogs, plastic critter bait, in watermelon/red color. They targeted bedding bass in 4-6 feet of water using American Rodsmith rods and Shimano reels, spooled with 20-pound Berkeley Big Game line.

"I actually hooked the big twice," McGee, of West Lake. La. told the 5,000 anglers and spectators at Saturday night's finale. "We found the fish in practice and went to her the first thing. As the sun came up and we could see her at 7:30 a.m. I kept trying to get her to bite for close to an hour as I pitched to her. I bounced the lure on her head twice and she took it. She jumped out of the water twice and shook the hook."

The duo decided to leave her alone and returned at noon. McGee bounced the lure on her nose two times and again she bit, but this time, after a 10 minute battle Williams, of Beaumont, Tex. netted the lunker. The pair were awarded their championship rings, trophies and the $3,000 first place check.

The second place team of Lafitte and Holekamp traillered their Ranger/Evinrude bass rig to Circle Drive, in the northern reaches of the lake. They concentrated in 2-5 foot water with their Falcon and AllStar rods and Shimano reels. Their productive baits were white spinnerbaits, Zoom Flukes and wacky worms.

Third place finishers Crow and Avery headed south to Indians Mounds and Housen Bay for their fish. They credited craw worms for their all-day bite both days. Their Friday 7.38-pound anchor fish came at 10 a.m.

For complete tournament results visit the LOBI site at: http://www.lobibass.com/

The Sabine River Authority's Shimano Live Release boat was on hand to release the fish. The Negreet High School junior class assisted at the weigh in and in the cleanup to earn $1,000 for their upcoming prom. The Sabine Sheriff's Office and the Sabine River Authority Security officers provided security at the Cypress Bend Park. Troopers of the Louisiana State Police provided traffic control. See accompanying story "More Than a Fishing Tournament" for additional tournament information.


Day 1 Top Ten Team Standings

1st James Kiser and Mike Mahan 25.06 pounds
2nd John Lafitte and Gordon Holekamp 24.54
3rd Nark Crowe and Sam Avery 23.2
4th Charlie McGee and Todd Williams 23.02
4th Danny Demary and Travis Broussard 23.02
6th John Schweitzer and Bill Ligon 21.02
7th Stanley Head and Mark Williams 20.56
8th John Paul Terrell and Gerald Matthews 20.52
9th Jimmy Hickman and Alan Warren 20.5
10th John Reiners and Ronnie Kidder 20.12

Day 1 Top Five Bass

1st John Schweitzer 10.1 pounds $500
2nd Mark Owens 9.56 $400
3rd Todd Williams 9.58 $300
4th Gerald Matthews 8.9 $200
5th Dennis May 8.88 $100

Day 2 Top Five Bass

1st Charlie McGee 11.02 pounds $500
2nd Lance Halsell 9.54 $400
3rd David Comeaux 8.84 $300
4th Vernon Wilkins 8.34 $200
5th Joe Phillips 7.1 $100


Tournament Standings Top Ten Teams

1st Charlie McGee and Todd Williams 42.72 pounds $3,000
2nd John Lafitte and Gordon Holekamp 38.69 $2,000
3rd Mark Crow and Sam Avery 36.38 $1,500
4th Stanley Head and Mark Willimas 35.94 $1,250
5th John Schweitzer and Bill Ligon 34.52 $1,000
6th Mark Owens and Stephen Smith 33.98 $ 900
7th Danny Demary and Travis Broussard 33.92 $ 800
8th Ronnie Dressel and Mike O'Brien 33.58 $ 700
9th John Paul Terrell and Gerald Matthews 33.06 $ 600
10th Buddy Warren and Rickey Guthrie 32.95 $ 500

Tournament Statistics
Day 1
Total Fish Caught 2007
Total Weight 4,704 pounds
Day 2
Total Fish Caught 1138
Total Weight 2,657 pounds

Tournament Totals
Total Fish 3,145
Total Weight 7,362 pounds

SIDEBAR

More Than a Fishing Tournament
By Contributing Writer Donald Gervais

Many, La. - The Louisiana Oilmen's Bass Invitational 11th annual bass fishing tournament, held April 1-2, 2005, was more than an opportunity for the contestants to drop a line in Toledo Bend Reservoir and have a chance at catching a fish.

Several Louisiana oilmen came together to found the Louisiana Oilmen's Bass Invitational fishing tournament in 1994. It was established to promote fun and fellowship among the members of the oil industry, for active or retired members. They also sought to support businesses in the state. Fishermen pay an entrance fee compete for two days of fishing to win cash awards and the bass fishing bragging rights for a year. In addition, the tournament founders wanted to raise money for worthy charities.

The TOBI tournament has grown from 300 teams the first year to 667 in 2005. Much is due to the dedicated group of directors, workers and sponsors who volunteer time, money and resources to put on the yearly event.

The major charity of the TOBI, for the past nine years, is the St. Jude's Children Research Hospital. St. Jude, founded by the late Danny Thomas in 1962, was the first institution established to conduct research in children with catastrophic diseases, mainly cancer. Children afflicted by cancer are treated at St. Jude's regardless of race, religion or ability to pay. Saturday night, during the grand finale of this year's tournament, many young, as well as seasoned oilfield worker, was deeply moved by the words of a Mendon, La. mother. Her son had been the victim of a vicious type of cancer and had received treatment and care at St. Jude's. Tina Haynes spoke of the heroic battle that her two and year-old son Stanton waged against cancer.

"Stanton earned his angel wings to cancer, he died shortly before his fourth birthday," said Haynes, whose husband is Jeff Haynes. "St. Jude's Hospital gave us two years that we wouldn't have had with Stanton. More research is needed to win the battle with cancer so that other mothers do not have to tell you about loosing their son or daughter. The money goes to research that is still needed."

A check in the amount of $35,000 was presented to Angela Peterson, a St. Jude Hospital representative, by tournament president Billy Ebarb in behalf of the anglers and sponsors. More than $14,000 of the donation was raised during the tournament in a draw for two high-end rod and reel combinations.

"Each year we donate money to the Toledo Bend Lake Association's restocking program," said Ebarb, president of the Board of Directors for the past two years. "The money this year will pay for the restocking of 2,000 6-inch fingerlings."

Local schools also benefit as students are hired by the LOBI to help with the weigh-in and the cleanup of the tournament site. This year the junior class of Negreet High School worked the LOBI. They earned $1,000 for their upcoming prom.

Sabine Parish, as well as nearby parishes and counties in Texas, benefit from the yearly influx of the LOBI. Marinas, tackle stores, restaurants and retail stores benefit from the increase in customers and their purchases. The money spent by the anglers and their families produce sales tax revenues for cities and parishes. Revenues from the hotel/motel tax are used to promote future tourism in the parish.

"The LOBI would not be possible without the generosity of the tournament sponsors," said Ebarb. "Their generosity of manpower, equipment, services and money make the tournament possible."

Anglers who fish the invitational are eligible to win door prizes. The prizes vary from rods and reels, coolers, cookers, fish cleaning stations, and an all-terrain vehicle to two fully loaded boat packages. The boat draws were made possible by the sponsorship of Skeeter Boat Company and Cajun Outboards of Addis, La.. On Friday, Sulphur, La angler Jason Alon was present to claim a 20-foot Skeeter bay boat. On Saturday, an ecstatic Floyd Herbert of Houma, La. claimed title to a 20-foot Skeeter 200 TSX, powered by a 200 hp Yamaha outboard, valued at over $30,000. "Thank you Lord, thank you Lord," proclaimed the happy angler who had gone fishless in this year's tournament.

Major sponsors of the 2005 LOBI include: Abe's Boat Rentals, Applied Coatings & Gulf Coast Marine Fabricators, Bass Pro Shops, Blue-Stream Services, C&G Boats, Cherokee Services, Coastal Chemicals Company, Crain Brosthers, Delta Gulf Rental Tool Company, Diamond Oilfield Supply, Inc., Dolphin Compactors & Equipment, Inc., Evangeline Seafood & Steakhouse, Expro Americas, Inc., Mr. Troy Fruge', Fab-Con, FloQuip, Inc., Gary Yamamoto Baits, Gulf Offshore Logistics, Hibernia Insurance, Huval's Trucking, Inc. / Venture Transport, Inc., Integrated Modeling, Inc., Island Operating Company, Inc., Kistler Rods, Linear Controls, Inc., Medic Systems, Inc., Oilfield Instrumentation USA, Pathfinder Energy Services, Nalco, Reaction Lures, Rusty Clark Survey Company, Inc., Sabine River Autority, Smith Services, SOLOCO, LLC,. Sola Communications, Southern Wireless, Autocomm, Safcon, GTG, Skeeter, Superior Energy Services, Timco Services, Toledo Oil and Gas, Toledo Tackle, Tuboscope, Weatherford, Wet Tech Energy and Wood Group Production Services


John Schweitzer displays the 10.1-pound Toledo Lunker that claimed big bass honors at the 11th Louisiana Oilmen's Bass Invitational tournament held April 1-2 on Toledo Bend Reservoir. The 10-pound-plus fish qualified for the Toledo Bend Lunker Award given by Toledo Bend Tackle and the Toledo Bend Lake Association. Photo by Donald Gervais

Charlie McGee shows off his 11.02-pound Toledo Bend lunker that earned him the Big Bass title and the win for he and partner Todd Williams at the 2005 Louisiana Oilmen's Bass Invitational April 1-2. McGee had to get the fish to bite twice before landing it. See story for details. Photo by Donald Gervais
< photos by Patty Lenderman >

Todd Williams, co-champion of the 2005 Louisiana Oilmen's Bass Invitational shows the 9.48-pound Toledo Bend bass that anchored he and fishing partner Charlie McGee's 1st day catch of 23.02 pounds. Photo by Donald Gervais

Mike Mahan strains to show two of the five-fish that gave he and partner James Kiser the Day 1 lead at the 2005 Louisiana Oilmen's Bass Invitational tournament with 25.06 pounds. The fish on the left weighed 8.68 pounds. The duo were defending champions from 2004 but faltered on Day 2 and fell to 27th place for the tournament. Photo by Donald Gervais

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