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Angler "Hunch" Pays Off Big At Lake Fork McSplash
By Ed Snyder

13th Annual Lake Fork "Big Bass Splash"
Sunday, September 26, 1999, Lake Fork Marina, Lake Fork, TX.

"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-
1st-(9.50 lbs)-Shayne Kemp of Purvis Ms, managed to catch his "Big Bass Splash" on Sunday morning while fishing a spot that was reccomended to him by Coffee Creek Lodge & Marina owners, Robert & Jenni Smiddy. "I really owe it all to them, stated the happy angler who gave thankfull credits for who helped him catch the winning bass. "I was fishing with Darrel McClain of Bogalusa Ms, informed Shayne, "as we were using carolina rigged Zoom sourgrape lizards and perch colored Berkely Frenzy crankbaits around 154 bridge area coves, old roadbeds, mainlake points and grass-mats. "Although we caught a few slot-limit bass on Friday & Saturday, it wasn't until Sunday before we had a weigh-in bass. "We decided to head out early on Sunday morning, stated Shayne, "and as it was dark we thought we were in the cove that we wanted to fish, but after it got light enough to see we found ourselves in the wrong cove. "So we started fishing some top-water stuff, Shayne informed, adding that they soon decided to go "chase some cedar trees" instead. "As we passed by a lone cedar standing by itself, we just kinda' fished it in passing as we headed for a solid line of trees that were nearby. "After working the line of trees without any success we began to head out for the cove that we originally wanted to go, "but, Shayne advised, "as our Cajun bass boat was passing that lone cedar tree, I told my partner that we really needed fish it at least once more before leaving. "So, I picked up my Falcon Flippin' stick, which had a 3/4 oz camo Cyclone jig & amber/brown Berkely Power-Bite splittail-grub attached, and flipped it to the deeper outside edges of the tree. After workin' it a bit it landed on top of a limb, so after slowly easing it over the snag to let it fall back to the bottom, my line started moving off where I then told my buddy to "Get-Ready" with the net!! And the rest became "History"as Shayne Kemp collected the #1 overall Big Bass Splash of $10,000 cash and the '99 keys to a $25,000 Dodge Pick-Up Truck for his winning 9.50 lb Lake Fork "Big Bass Splash"..

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;
1-Shayne Kemp Franklin, LA 9.50 1500.00 $10,000 $25,000
2-Chris Robinson Dallas, TX 9.40 1500.00 $8,000
3-Mark McMillin Porteau, OK 9.34 1500.00 $6,000
4-J.C. Vanginault Winnsboro, TX 8.61 1500.00 $4,000
5-Jimmy Sherrill Rowlett, TX 8.50 1500.00 $2,000

T-shirt Bonus Hour winners;
Mark McMillin-Porteau, OK 9.34 lb bass-Friday T-Shirt Winner
Jimmy Sherrill-Rowlett, TX 8.50 lb bass-Saturdy T-Shirt Winner
Shayne Kemp-Franklinton, LA 9.50 lb bass-Sundy T-Shirt Winner

Exact Weight Boat draw winners;
Greg Burchfield-Carrollton, TX- Fri - Exact Boat Winner
Dean Moon-Alba, TX- Sat - Exact Boat Winner
Rory Myers II-Sulphur Springs, TX- Sun - Exact Boat Winner

Elimination Boat draw winner;
Greg Burchfield-Carrollton, TX-Elimination Boat Winner

Robert Neal Tannery-Tyler, TX-Open Draw - Pontoon Boat

Mark Mc Millin-Poteau, OK-Mailin Bonus #1
Alford, Estes-Vista, CA-Mailin Bonus #2
Scott Miller-Azle, TX -Mailin Bonus #3
Leslie Wood-Irving, TX-Mailin Bonus #4
Charles A. Ross-Springfield, MO-Mailin Bonus #5
Russell R. Smith-Ft Worth, TX-Mailin Bonus #6

TOTAL WGHT THREE DAYS: 1,793.63 lbs.

1ST Nathan Fields Rowlett, TX 12 yrs 1.88 15.00
2ND Chelsey Mc Fatridge Diana, TX 9 yrs 1.22 10.00
3RD Jason Juneau Caarriere, MS 11 yrs 1.21 5.00

1ST Austin Barrick Alba, TX 11 yrs 0.48 15.00
2ND Stephanie Dawson Wills Point, TX 9 yrs 0.43 10.00
3RD Randall Currier Irving, TX 7 yrs 0.39 5.00

1ST Zaackary Adams Wills Points, TX 9 yrs 1.27 15.00
2ND Garratt Faulkner Sulphur Springss, TX 5 yrs 1.25 10.00
3RD Colton Court Terrell, TX 9 yrs 1.00 5.00

1ST Pierce Mc Swiggin Richardson, TX 7 yrs 6.00 15.00
2ND Chance Woodard Paris, TX 12 yrs 1.80 10.00
3RD Lindsei Dees Ardmore, OK 9 yrs 1.34 5.00

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-<>

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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