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"TUFF" DAY FOR TOLEDO COWBOYS
By Ed Snyder

Red Man National Tournament Circuit -Cowboy Division-
Sunday, August 22, 1999, Cypress Bend Resort, Lake Toledo Bend, LA.

The top five anglers, who competed at the Red Man Cowboy Division event on Toledo Bend Lake, all spoke the same lanquage when weighing in their tournament catches, ......"Tuff"....."Very Tuff !!". But after the final bass were checked, tallied, and marked, those top 5 would be among that special group who, "when things get tough, the "tuff" get going!

August 22nd would become the final launch of the season for the Red Man Cowboy Division as 149 individual anglers motored out into Big "T" waters to try and wrestle up a berth at the '99 regionals. Going into their 21st year of operations, the Operation Bass organization now provides 22 divisions for the "weekend" anglers to choose from as they compete for the $3.5 Million now offered in cash & prizes. The Red Man anglers compete against each other to move up from divisional, to regional, to qualify for a top 50 spot for fishing the $100,000 "All American". With a starting entry fee of $75, the Red Man Anglers are given a chance to generate that initial $75 investment into a potential tournament season payback of $1, 185, 186. "But for now, the main concern of those anglers who were flippin', draggin', crankin', or punchin' Lake Toledo Bend waters, was to try an qualify for the upcoming regional.

"It was really "tuff" out there today, stated Texarkana TX, angler, Chad Cranford, "but my draw partner, Jimmy Jeansonne of Natchitoches LA, kept a cool head and we managed to locate some good bass. "My Cobra/Mercury bass-rig got us up to some northlake grass as I worked Marado rod & reels spooled with 30# P-line, Chad informed, adding that he fished red/shad Mag-II Zoom worms around 9'-10' grass-edges to catch his 5 bass/13 lb-15oz 1st place weight. "I probably averaged a bass an hour, Cranford explained, "but they were the right bass, he added with a smile.

"Tuff Bite", answered Don Williams of Keithville LA, as he informed about running his BassCat/Yamaha rig to Pirates Cove while fishing Allstar rods and Shimano reels spooled with Big Game 20# green-mono. "I worked tx rigged plum Mag II Zoom U-tails along 10' guts with 8'-12'-14' drops, "but found my bass holding along the 10' breaks, Williams informed, further adding that he caught bass from 7:am til 9:30 a:m, but had to work hard the rest of the day. Don Williams managed to catch a 5 bass/13 lb-5oz weight for 2nd place.

"I caught my first bass early, stated "Stanley Jigs" Pro, John Hale of Lufkin TX, "but, he further stated, "I didn't have another bite til 12:35 p:m. John Hale managed to run his BassCat/Mercury bass-rig to northlake hydrilla while working Allstar rods and Shimano reels spooled with 65# Power Pro braid. "I fished a tx rigged 4 & 1/2" watermelon Hale Craworm, John explained as he told of working 8'-9' Beason area outside grass-patches. "The bass were holding on the deepwater side, John Hale answered, as he claimed 3rd place with his 4 bass/11 lb-13oz weight.

"Along the edges of the Cypress Bend Golf Course, chuckled Harley Wilson of Beckville TX, as he told of how he caught the 6 lb-9oz "overall" big bass of the tournament. "I was fishing with a Castaway rod and Shimano reel spooled with Berkely mono, stated the happy angler, as he explained how he fished a Fla-rigged 7" blue/fleck Berkely Power Worm when the bass hit off of a 7' grass-edge at 2:30 p:m.

"When asked how he managed to nab the "Cowboy Division Angler of the Year Title" Shane Allman of Sam Rayburn TX, simply stated that he concentrated on catching limits at all events."If you catch your limits, Shane advised, "you'll always stay at the top of the leader board.

TOP 5 Red Man Cowboy Division Anglers;
1-Chad A. Cranford, Texarkana, TX................................5 bass/13 lbs-15ozs-$2,536
2-Don Williams, Keithville, LA........................................5 bass/13 lbs-05ozs-$1,286
3-John R. Hale, Lufkin, TX...............................................4 bass/11 lbs-13ozs-$744
4-Mike Castillo, Nacogdoches, TX.................................5 bass/11 lbs-07ozs-$477
5-Dicky Newberry, Houston, TX.....................................5 bass/11 lbs-02ozs-$452

"Overall" Tournament Big Bass-(6 lbs-9ozs ozs)-Harley Wilson.-$1,000.00

All bass were live released by the Shimano/SRA-LA Fish Recovery Krewe with 192 bass weighing 420 lbs.

For more information on this, as well as other Operation Bass Tournaments, contact (502)-362-4880.

Tournament Sponsors; Ranger Boats-Citgo-HumminBird-Stren-Old Milwaukee-Abu Garcia-Chevy Trucks-Land O Lakes-Black & Decker-Energizer-David Coleman-Evinrude-Wheaties-Power Bait-Eveready-BC Pain Relief-Chex Mix-Hamburger Helper-Visa-Wrangler-Frenzy-


Harley Wilson with 6 lb-9oz Golfcourse "Overall"

Jimmy Jeansonne-(L)-helps Chad Cranford with 1st place catch
< photos by Ed Snyder >

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