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"Dual" 26.73 lb Catches Share Oilman Classic Win
(Oilpatch Anglers Catch 2,005 Bass weighing 4,299 Lbs

By Ed Snyder

Saturday, September 11, 1999, Harbor Lodge Marina, Lake Toledo Bend, TX.

In a very unusual finish at the 17th Annual Oilman's Bass Classic on Toledo Bend, two competing teams managed to catch exact matching final "overall" weights of 10 bass/26.73 lb, causing the tournament officials to claim a "first ever" Dual Championship team win. The winning "Oilpatch" teams had topped-ended 1,500 other Oilman anglers for the 1st place braggin' rights to the Oilman Bass Classic Championship and would share equally in the honors of being the 1999 Oilman Bass Classic Champions.

For seventeen years now the Oilman Bass Classic has operated on Lake Toledo Bend, seventeen years of competitive bass fishing, seventeen years of spending "tons" of money into the lake areas economy, and seventeen years of donating needed funds for the restocking projects of Lake Toledo Bend. Recognized as the oldest, and the largest, among the "Oilpatch" bass tournament circuits, the 1st Annual Oilman Bass Classic managed to launch 130 teams into its first tournament. "Now, in its sevententh year of consecutive operations, the Oilman's Bass Classic -(an oilfield related bass tournament organization)- managed to launch 750 teams into their 1999 event. This years event would pay out $82,000 in cash and $60,000 in door prizes which would include a $36,000 Hawk/Mercury-225 Bass Boat & Trailer.

Of all the operational systems which are unique unto the Oilpatch bass events its special tournament weigh-in format probably stands out above all else to be reviewed for excellence. Having such a huge field of teamed anglers to weigh-in can intimidate even the most coordinated of tournament organizations, but the Oliman's Bass Classic Group manages to operate a very innovative weigh-in system by merging incoming boat traffic control with speedy angler weigh-in proceedures. This involves traffic control teams navigating the incoming angler boat traffic to dropoff points, where team anglers then tote their bagged catches into one of three weigh-in lines which are funneled to the proper numbered lines for that team. Say for instance team#512 arrives with their catch, one team member then proceeds with their catch to the proper weigh-in line where their catch is then quickly checked, weighed, and tallied by a 5 man weigh-in krewe. Their recorded catch is then immediately transfered to live release boats which are positioned at the rear of the weigh-in stations, and their angler weigh-in info is transfered to computer teams for instant tournament tabulation. In this way the catch is handled swiftly to minimize bass stress, and the bass team results are recorded in record time for speedy tournament results. "I've personally witnessed over 750 teams being weighed and recorded through this amazing weigh-in system which took only 1 & 1/2 hours to complete its process. The anglers are also "well" educated by a series of penalty or bonus points which are either subtracted from their dead fish weights or added to their live catch weights. Many an Oilpatch team, who managed to catch a first place weigh-in, would suddenly find themselves sitting in "tail-end charley" positions due to dead fish demerits, as those teams who may have caught a lesser weigh-in would suddenly find themselves sitting in the #1 spot for taking better care of their fish. This education process has a very high memory recall as anglers are quickly re-educated to the hard facts of the final outcome.

With weather conditions setting in with an early fall cool front, and with dropping lake levels causing the bass to "doldrum" into innactivity, the outcome of the final day weigh-in was to be "iffy" at most. Most anglers were finding plenty of bass, but with "downsized" results as their first day bass bite recorded only a 2.15 lb average with a top 100 cutoff recorded at 7.79 lbs.

Tournament ReCap;
(Day-1)-Found the leading bite for team#727 as Charles Lester of Louisiana Pipeline-Many La, and Mark Hatfield of Swift Energy, managed to weigh-in a 5 bass/15.56 lb catch by fishing rootbeer tube jigs along the edges of 14'-16' mid-lake grass-patches. First day big bass came in with team#476 as Kelly CaHill of D.M.I.-Broussard La, managed to crank up a 7.58 lb Toledo lunker from a southlake rock Island on a chartreuce Fat Free Shad. First day anglers weighed-in 1,026 bass weighing 2,208 lbs.

(Day-2)-Final day anglers managed to weigh-in a better average catch on final day competition, but with lower bass counts as the weather heated back up to normal summer temps with southeasterly winds. But as the anglers arrived for their final weigh-ins the weigh-in krewes would process slightly bigger fish with slightly better weights. Team #773 of Cameron managed a 1st day weight of 12.65 lbs and a 2nd day catch of 14.08 lbs for a total of 26.73 lbs for the 1st place "overall" win of the Oilman Bass Classic. Team #563 of Pennzenergy managed to put a 13.08 lb weight and a 13.65 lb catch together to match Team# 773's catch of 26.73 lbs which caused the tournament officials to claim a dual championship win for the first time in Oilman Bass Classic History. Second day big bass came in with team#526 as they weighed a 6.96 lb lunker which also held for 2nd place "overall".

"We fished from our Champion/Mercury bass-rig, stated J.W. Whiethington of Cameron-Huffman Tx, and Travis Young of Sam Rayburn Tx, as they explained how they fished a two day pattern of working Bionic Blade &Allstar rods with Lews reels spooled with 17# Stren. "We found our fish down-lake around the 6-Mile creek area, they further informed, adding that they fished Tx rigged red-shad ringworms along 13'-14' outside grass-edges for early limits. The anglers caught 12 bass each day to cull their shared win of 26.73 lbs from.

Team#563-Barney Gary of Pennzenergy-League City Tx, and Donnie Martin of Pennzenergy-Carthage Tx, fished North both days in the grass beds near Converse, "stating that stayed near the tournament headquarters and made the long boat run each day fishing grass lines that were in 5'-7' of water. "We fished a Zoom Monster 10 1/2" Red Bug worm from 6:30/am to 10:am each day, the fish would not touch the worm after 10:/am. We used a 1/4 oz Texas rig on 20# Stren Magnathin, with 7' heavy action Loomis rods, with Calcutta 200 reels. At 10:/am each day we switched to a 1oz Oldham Pumpkin/Green Jigs with Zoom Watermelon/Red craw-worms with rattles. On the first day we caught 15 fish with a limit by 11:00AM. First day we had a good jig bite from 12:30 to 1:30/pm and culled 3 fish. Our first days weight was 13.65# which put us in 9th place. "We knew we were within striking distance to win, and felt confident we could catch another 13# forcing the leader to catch at least 11.5# to win. On the second day we caught 10 fish and 9 keepers, the first fish came @ 8:/am with a limit by 11:30. We caught our last cull fish by 12:/noon, and did not get another bite. Second days weight was 13.08#, just enough to take the dual Championship win with 26.73 lbs.
Team# 526 were fishing the Slaughter Creek area when Mike Leeper hooked a 10:15 am bite on a white Egret spinner bait where Leepers partner, Tommy Guillory managed to net the 6.96 lunker from a 12' weedbed. Leeper's catch held as 2nd day big bass for $1,000.

Top 10 Oilpatch teams;
1st Place Tie-(Team#773 )-J.W. Weithington/Travis Young-(26.73 lbs)-
(Team#563 )-Barney Gary/Donnie Martin-(26.73 lbs)-

2-(Team#696 )-David W. Trahan/Micheal Trahan-(26.26 lbs)-
3-(Team#727 )-Charles Lester/Mark Hatfield-(26.18 lbs)-
4-(Team#625 )-Blair Sampey/Richard Byrd-(25.20 lbs)-
5-(Team#8 )-Byron Gianfala/David Hendricks-(24.65 lbs)-
6-(Team#479 )-Mike Lantier/Bobby Cormier-(23.97 lbs )-
7-(Team#658 )-Don Jones/John Hatton-(23.86 lbs )-
8-(Team#371 )-Greg Procell/John Holley-(23.29 lbs )-
9-(Team#792)-Ronald Hoover/Minor Domangue-(22.57 lbs)-
10-(Team#656)-Scott Roy/Terry LeJeune-(21.93 lbs)-

Tournament "Overall" Big Bass;
1-(Team#476)-Kelly Cahill/Wayne Bollinger-(7.58 lbs)-
2-(Team#526)-Mike Leeper/Tommy Guillory-(6.96 lbs)-

"Luck-O-The Draw" Hawk Bass Boat Winner-(Team# 281)-Texaco employee, Claude Griffin, of Carthage TX - $36,000

The 1999 Oilman Bass Classic group donated $1,000 to the benefit of the Louisiana Toledo Bend Lake Association for its Florida Bass restocking projects.

All tournament fish were recovered & live released by the Shimano/SRA-LA fish recovery Krewe with a 2nd day catch of 979 bass weighing 2,091 lbs- for a total two day catch of 2,005 bass weighing 4,299 lbs.

For more information on the Oilman Bass Classic contact Charlotte Comeaux at (318)-235-9464-

Tournament Sponsors; Hawk Bass Boats, Mercury Outboards, Aries Marine Corporation, Baker Oil Tools, DelMar Systems Inc, General Marine Leasing, Timco Services Inc, Tuboscope Group, "and" the 1999 Oilman Bass Classic Anglers -

1999 Winners-Team# 773

CaHill with "overall" 7.58 lb Lunker
< photos by Ed Snyder >

Team#526 with 6.96 2nd big bass

'99 Oilman Classic Traffic Control

'99 Oilman Classic Weigh-in Krewe

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