Angler "Hunch" Pays Off Big At Lake Fork McSplash
13th Annual Lake Fork "Big Bass Splash"
"I told my fishin' buddy, Darrel McClain, that we needed to check out that Cedar tree just once more, stated Shayne Kemp of Purvis MS, "so I flipped my jig to its deeper outside edges, letting it fall to the bottom, jiggled it then popped it 2' off the bottom where it then landed on top of a limb, sooo, as I eased it over the snag to let it fall back to the bottom, the bait began moving off where I then set the hook "hard". The bass fought hard, making one run before I managed to get it alongside the boat, where it suddenly bolted "wildly" down the side and into a waiting net of my fishing pal.. "After seeing that it weighed 10.1 lbs on our digital scale, Shayne advised, "I then started shaking with nervous excitement until we finally brought her in to be "officially" weighed on the "Big Bass Splash" scales.
$300,000 dollars in cash & prizes "guaranteed" with daily exact weight boat awards, "Hawked" the promotional flyers and advertisements for this Big Bass tournament event, and with the 6:am "anglers start your casting" broadcasting from the official Radio Station, Star Country fm/96.9-fm, over 2,300 anglers from 18 states began strolling, flipping, dragging, pitching, cranking, and slow-rolling their baited hopes for catching some of the "gold" that was being offered by the 13th Annual Lake Fork's McDonald's "Big Bass Splash". The Big Bass anglers were to fish for the three days of September 24, 25, & 26, to try and catch "a" Largemouth Black Bass that could be weighed-in during the scheduled top 10 hourly money slots which were being paid out from 7:am til 3:pm on each day of the tournament. The "splash" anglers were given the opportunity of winning $1,500 for the largest bass weighed-in hourly, or $200 for the smallest bass of that hour. Anyone who was lucky enough to digitize an exact weight bass of 8.0 lbs on each day of the three day tournament would win the keys to a fully rigged $14,900 Triton/OMC-Johnson TR-17 bass boat.
Lake Fork TX, a premier bass fishing lake, also has a premier set of rules and regulations, which would govern the catchin' end of the fishing activities, as an "enforced" slot limit was initiated with a set of new rules. The previous slot limit of 14" to 21" fish which were required to be released, allowing for only one bass above the 21" mark to be kept, had now, as of September 1st, graduated up to a 16" to 23" slot limit, and after September of 2000, will further graduate to a 16" to 24" slot limit policy. This would mean that the anglers could only catch and weigh bass that were either below the 16" minimum limit or above the 23" size limit. This Lake Fork policy allowed for more lower end weights to be caught and weighed-in for the money hours of the tournament, giving more opportunities for the amateur anglers to take home some "BIG-Splash" money for some "little-splash" catches.
Top 5 Big Bass Splash Winners-
2nd-(9.40 lbs)- Chris Robinson of Dallas Tx, let a Gene Kinsey, Lake Fork "Flying Video" tape do his prefishing for him as he, and fishing partner Jay Childs of Spring Tx, picked out three spots from the tape to try their luck on. "I was using a 1/2 oz white Nichols spinner bait with gold willow blades and a white grub trailer, Chris explained, further informing of casting to mid-lake grass-mats and working it back to the edges before letting it "copter" down the grass-wall. "On a friday morning 8:15am cast, stated Chris, "I reflexed on a bite that put a rather chunky slot bass in our Champion/Mercury bass boat. "At first, Chris advised, "Jay and I thought it was short of the 23" keeper limit and almost released it back. "But, on second thought we decided to head in to let a McTournament official measure it, "WHEW", exhaled Chris, "they measured it at 23 & 1/2 inches and weighed it at 9.4 lbs where it awarded me the "almost tossed back" 2nd place "overall" winnings of $8,000.
3rd-(9.34 lbs)- Mark McMillan of Poteau Ok, found his honey-hole along a 15' mainlake hump in 20' of water. "I was fishing a baby bass DD-22 crankbait when a 9.34 bass hit a 9:am on Friday morning cast. "My partner, Jeff Shore, also of Poteau, managed to land it for me as we headed in to claim my 3rd place "overall" win of $6,000 McWin
4th-(8.61 lbs)- J.C. Vanginault of Winnsboro Tx, was fishing by himself while working a Bagley chrome DB-3 Magnum crankbait along the edges of a creek near the 515 Westbridge area. "I was fishing it over a 25'-26' timber flat when a "strictly lucky" 9.40am bite put an 8.61 lb bass in my Ranger/Evinrude bass-rig. "As they often say about luck, stated the 65 year old angler, "you've got to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right bait. J.C.'s "lucky-splash"catch would put a 4th place "overall" $4,000 McCheck in his tackle pack.
5th-(8.50 lbs)- Jimmy Sherril of Rowlett Tx, was fishing with fishin' pal, Lanny Raines, "who, took me on as a partner after I lost my boat to some mechanical problems. "So we were fishing his Big Bass pattern of draggin' 10" Berkely blue-fleck Power worms along some deepwater trees between two mainlake area bridges. "Saturday morning, advised Jimmy, "we were catching an un-believable amount of upper-end slot bass when a 10:45am bite put an 8.50 bass on my Browning Predator rod. After running it in for the weigh-in Jimmy Sherril managed to take home the 5th place "overall" McCheck for $2,000.
As "all" boats were "guaranteed" to be given away as tournament prizes, the three exact weight boats that were to be collected by anglers, who could weigh-in exact weight 8.0 lb bass, were, since no 8.0 lb bass came in, placed on the boat draw listing for the angler give-away at the finish of the tournament. "AND" for the first time in "Big Bass Splash" History, a 14 year old, who entered as an adult angler, won a boat as Rory Myers II of Sulphur SpringsTx, went home with a $14,900 Triton/OMC-Johnson TR-17 bass boat. "AND" for the first time in "Big Bass Splash" History, a registered angler managed to win TWO "luck-o-the draw" bass boats valued at $14,900 each, as Greg Burchfield had to tandem-haul his dual bass boat McWinnings back to Carrolton Tx.
As in all of the "Big Bass Splash" events, Sealy Outdoors CEO, Bob Sealy, would award a donation to the McDonald Charity benefits of McDonalds in Paris & Commerce Tx. "This years check for the Ronald McDonald Houses, Bob Sealy announced to the huge Lake Fork crowd, is $19,500. And after the applauding kudo's quieted down a notch, Bob Sealy pulled the ticket-stub for the $9,000 Summit pontoon boat give-away that would officially close the 1999 Lake Fork "Big Bass Splash" as the 13th Annual quickly faded into Big Bass History.
Top Overall Winners;
T-shirt Bonus Hour winners;
Exact Weight Boat draw winners;
Elimination Boat draw winner;
Robert Neal Tannery-Tyler, TX-Open Draw - Pontoon Boat
Mark Mc Millin-Poteau, OK-Mailin Bonus #1
TOTAL CASH & PRIZES AWARDED: $ 301,500
LITTLE ANGLER'S DIVISION FINAL RESULTS
For more information on this, as well as other Sealy Outdoors hunting & fishing events, contact Sealy Outdoors at (1-888)-698-2591 -or- clic to-<www.fishingworld.com/sealyoutdoors>
Tournament Sponsors; McDonalds, Triton Boats, OMC-Johnson Outboards, Reaction Lures, McCoy's, Shimano, Lufkin Marine, Mega-Whitetail Bucks, Academy, Latch Oil Inc, Dodge Trucks by Weaver Motors, Texas Fish & Game, "and" the 13th Annual Lake Fork "Big Bass Splash" anglers.
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