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Conservation Directors Meet in Grove Oklahoma

 

Conservation directors from 14 different states met at the annual TBF National Championship in Grove Oklahoma last week. The group traveled to the Centerton Fish Hatchery in Arkansas where they teamed with Arkansas Game and Fish Black Bass Biologist Colton Dennis and his staff to tour the Hatchery facility and also participate in an electro-fishing study on a nearby power plant lake. The Centerton Facility boasts approximately 50 ponds on its scenic grounds that are all spring fed and create a terrific location to raise smallmouth and largemouth bass as well as walleye and catfish.

The following day the group shared the results of the on-going AIS prevention program that the federation has been working on with the Great Lakes Sea Grant Group under the direction of Dr. Phil Moy for the last three years. Each state in attendance got a copy of the new boat wash training video which will also be available on the TBF website. Dr. Moy also provided the group with BMP handbook to distribute to their state federation members.

The group also discussed plans for an AIS certification test that state conservation directors and club members can take to increase their awareness and knowledge of Aquatic Invasive Species spread and prevention. This test should be available to members within the next few months.

Josh Johnson from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation addressed the group on the final day bringing them up to speed on projects that the department is working on across the state as well as the terrific fishery at Grand Lake. Each member in attendance also shared the floor to discuss programs and challenges that are going on in their respective states.

In addition to the meetings, the Conservation Group also provided the fish handling duties at the TBF National Championship event at Wolf Creek Park. The Grand Lake Dam authority under the direction of Mr. Brent Davis provided a live release trailer for the weigh-in in addition to the TBF live release boat which was onsite each day.

 

James Biggs and Don Muir punch their ticket to the Forrest Wood Cup with a win at the Federation National Championship

12.Apr.2014 by Dan Johnson

ROGERS, Arkansas—In a testament to his faith and fishing skills, James Biggs of Richland Hills, Texas, charged from 17th place on day one to eventual victory in the Boater Division of The Bass Federation’s prestigious 2014 National Championship at Grand Lake.

biggs

Biggs built on his 10-pound, 1-ounce day one basket with a monstrous 19-pound, 5-ounce bag on day two. That catch vaulted him into second place with 29 pounds, 6 ounces, hot on the heels of leader John Talton of Georgetown, Tenn., who finished day two with 29 pounds, 10 ounces.

With television cameras rolling and the world watching, Biggs brought a 5-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 5 ounces to the scale on the final day, bringing his total to 43 pounds, 11 ounces. When Talton, who weighed in last, put up two bass weighing 6 pounds, 10 ounces for a total weight of 36 pounds, 4 ounces, Biggs claimed the crown in front of a roaring crowd gathered at the John Q. Hammons Center.

“It’s so exciting, and it hasn’t totally sunk in yet,” he said, visibly shaking with emotion. For Biggs, a firefighter and paramedic by trade, the win marked the culmination of a faith-based confidence that he was destined for victory. “The Lord really blessed me,” he said, explaining that for the past several months—including throughout the tournament’s ups and downs—he believed he was going to take the championship. “I didn’t know how it was going to happen, and it wasn’t meant in an arrogant way, but I didn’t have any doubts. I fished with that mentality, and it made a difference in the way I processed things on the water.”

Biggs’ tactics hinged on a pair of productive patterns. “I had two things going,” he said. “I’d go shallow in the morning, flipping for bucks and the females that had moved up early. After getting a few fish in the boat to settle my nerves, I’d move south and slow-roll an Alabama rig for big fish.” He noted that rocky banks and bridge pilings were key structure, especially those situated in bass-funneling creek arm bottlenecks.

For Talton, settling for second was tempered by the knowledge that qualifying for the final round had already earned him a trip to the BFL All-American tournament. “I’ve been thinking about this all week, and I decided, ‘If I make it to the All-American, that’s fine,’” he told the crowd before congratulating Biggs on the win.

After a strong south wind on day one ignited the bass he was targeting, Talton rocketed out of the gate, bringing in a 5-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 1 ounce. But when the wind died on day two, he sacked just four fish weighing 9 pounds, 9 ounces. While the return of a healthy south breeze bode well for him during the final day of competition, he noted that his best action had been coming later in the day. “My fish hadn’t been starting to bite until 1 p.m., and we had to be off the water early today,” he said. “If we’d had another couple of hours, who knows.”

In the Non-Boater Division, Don Muir of Perryhall, Md., lead both days one and two. In fact, his 31-pound, 7-ounce total going into the final round offered a 5-pound, 15-ounce advantage over his nearest rival. As it turned out, it was enough to outlast the competition even after blanking on day three. Stephen Scoggin of Lebanon, Tenn., made a run at first with three bass weighing 9 pounds, 13 ounces, but ended up a strong second with a 30-pound total.

Don Muir

“It’s unbelievable, especially after zeroing on the last day,” said Muir, who retired six months ago as a police sergeant after 39 years in law enforcement. “I was nervous all day long. But the good Lord was watching out for me.” Muir also attributed a bit of good luck to a coin he found during prefishing. “Wednesday morning, I picked up a penny in the parking lot,” he said. It was dated 1983, the year his son was born. “I put it in my pocket. And believe me, when I was listening to the other non-boaters’ weights being called out today, I was rubbing that penny.”

Muir credited friend and fellow bass tournament angler Jeremy Starks for convincing him to try Alabama rigs on Grand Lake. “I’d never fished one before, but he told me several months ago I had to throw them here,” he said. “I didn’t catch anything on them in practice, but after taking an 8-pounder on an A-rig on day one, I fished them all three days,” he said. “I’d throw them on rocky main-lake rocky points, move to the secondary points and then back into the creeks. Most of the fish were on the secondary points. But today they moved and we had to scramble.”

Held April 10-12 on Grand Lake, the TBF championship pitted the top 94 anglers from the federation’s seven regions against one another for more than $200,000 in cash and prizes. Divided equally into boater and non-boater divisions, all anglers competed the first two days of the event. The top boater and non-boater from each region move on to the final day. Regardless of their day three finish, each regional winner received a paid entry into the prestigious BFL All-American Tournament.

After day three, top boaters are:

1. James Biggs, Richland Hills, Texas, 13 bass, 43-11

2. John Talton, Georgetown, Tenn., 11 bass, 36-4

3. Dino Moutogiannis, Newington, Conn., 13 bass, 34-13

4. Steve Dinkler, Daniels, W.Va., 11 bass, 32-5

5. Nicholas Fitzsimmons, Lyle, Wash., eight bass, 27-0

6. Jon Griffith, Mesa, Ariz., 10 bass, 21-3

7. Dave Cermak, Hebron, Ind., six bass, 17-10

Top non-boaters are:

1. Don Muir, Perryhall, Md., eight bass, 31-7

2. Stephen Scoggin, Lebanon, Tenn., 11 bass, 30-0

3. Nickolas Marsh, Commerce Twp., Mich., 12 bass, 28-13

4. Richard Vizcarra, Peoria, Ariz., 10 bass, 26-8

5. Brian Maloney, Osage Beach, Mo., 10 bass, 25-10

6. David Simmons, Molalla, Ore., four bass, 13-7

7. Keith Cleary, Bethel, Conn., six bass, 12-3

Overall, boaters brought in 17 bass weighing 44 pounds, 14 ounces. Only one boater recorded a limit. Non-boaters brought eight bass to the scale weighing 21 pounds, 13 ounces. No non-boaters brought in limits.

For a full list of results CLICK HERE

The overall boater and non-boater champions receive an invitation to fish the FLW Forrest Wood Cup, where all competitors are guaranteed a check, and the winner receives $500,000. The top boater and non-boater also win a coveted TBF Living The Dream Package. The boater’s package includes paid entry fees to the FLW Tour as a touring pro, plus cash, the use of a custom-wrapped Chevy truck and Ranger boat for the year, and a travel stipend for each event. The top non-boater will receive fully paid entry fees into the Rayovac Series of choice. As a bonus, Biggs won a brand-new, Ranger Z 518c boat and trailer through the Ranger Cup Program.

All three days of the TBF National Championship launched at Wolf Creek Park. Day one and two weigh-ins were held lakeside. For day three, the weigh-in moved to the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers, Arkansas. Held in conjunction with the FLW Tour’s Beaver Lake tournament, the final day’s festivities included the FLW Expo beginning at noon; TBF weigh-in at 3 p.m.; and FLW Tour weigh-in at 4 p.m.

The TBF National Championship is produced by a partnership between The Bass Federation and FLW Outdoors, and TBF national president Robert Cartlidge was quick to acknowledge his appreciation for the collaboration. “I can’t tell you how proud we are to be partners with FLW, and how much everything they do for us means to the federation,” he said.

TBF National Championship sponsors include Chevy, Ranger Boats, Evinrude, Cabela’s, Solar Bat, Berkley, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Indigo Sky Casino, Grand Lake Association and Travel Oklahoma. For details, visit bassfederation.com, contact TBF National Headquarters at (580) 765-9031.

Day 2 Of 2014 TBF National Championship

Talton Clings To Lead After Day 2 Of 2014 TBF National Championship

By Dan Johnson

11.APRIL.2014
GROVE, Oklahoma—After bringing a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 1 ounce to the scale on day one of The Bass Federation’s 2014 National Championship at Grand Lake, John Talton of Georgetown, Tenn., managed just four fish weighing 9 pounds, 9 ounces on day two. Still, it was enough to maintain his lead in the Boater Division and secure a slot in the final showdown of the three-day event.

top 7 bTalton holds a 4-ounce advantage over second-place boater James Biggs of Richland Hills, Texas, who vaulted from 17th place on day one into second on the wings of a 19-pound, 5-ounce limit.

“It was tough,” said Talton. “There was no wind today, and that hurt.” Indeed, while a powerful south wind gusting to 35 mph fueled bass activity along points and other key structure on day one, calm conditions left the iconic impoundment’s surface relatively listless for most of day two. “I had two fish by 1 o’clock today, then made a move and got two more keepers,” he added. “Four bites, total.”

On the positive side, Talton noted a warming trend that continues to push daytime air temperatures into the 80s has driven water temps higher as well. With prespawn bass poised to invade the shallows, this could trigger the mass migration many anglers believe might produce a flurry of 20-pound-plus baskets.

A decorated tournament competitor, Talton reflected on the differences between Grand Lake and his home waters in Tennessee and northern Alabama. “Chickamauga and Guntersville have a lot of grass and shallow flats,” he said. “This lake seems to me like it’s mainly bank fishing, without ledges or flats.”

top 7 cAfter struggling in practice—boating just four fish in three days—Talton came out swinging on day one. And while day two was a bit more challenging, he believes his patterns will produce again Saturday. As the dust settled after the day two weigh-in, however, he took a moment to savor the feeling of topping the leaderboard two days straight. “It’s awesome,” he grinned before heading down the dock to begin the process of gearing up for the final leg of the competition.

For his part, Biggs has twice gambled on getting the big bite, tapping the far end of a 30-mile milk run for a shot at game-changing bass. “On day one, it didn’t happen,” he said. Still, his 10-pound, 1-ounce basket left him just 2 pounds, 11 ounces out of first place in the Central Region standings. After putting a pair of keepers in the livewell on day two, he made the decision to swing for the fences once again. “Today it paid off,” he said.

While many anglers cursed the lack of wind, Biggs welcomed the calm weather. “It made for a better boat ride and more enjoyable day of fishing,” he said. As for his plans to topple Talton on day three, he’s keeping it simple. “I’m going to say my prayers tonight, fish clean tomorrow and let what happens happen,” he said.

While Biggs blossomed, many anglers shared Talton’s frustrations in finding bass harder to come by on day two. Don Muir of Perryhall, Md., also struggled. After sacking day one’s biggest basket—a 20-pound, 2-ounce limit—to take the overall lead in the Non-Boater Division, he added just three bass weighing 11 pounds, 5 ounces to his total on day two. It was enough to build a 5-pound, 15-ounce cushion between his nearest competitor, but less than he’d hoped to bring to the scale.

Both days, Muir relied on a tactic with which he as little experience but growing confidence. “Once again I threw an Alabama rig all day,” he said. “But today was definitely a lot tougher. I had just five bites and three keepers.” Meanwhile, non-boater Nickolas Marsh of Commerce Twp., Mich., moved up from third place on day one into the number two spot with a five-bass limit weighing 12 pounds, 4 ounces.

Running April 10-12, the TBF championship pits the top 94 anglers from the federation’s seven regions against one another for more than $200,000 in cash and prizes. Divided equally into boater and non-boater divisions, all anglers competed the first two days of the event. The top boater and non-boater from each region move on to the final day. Regardless of their day three finish, each regional winner receives a paid entry into the prestigious BFL All-American Tournament.

By region, top boaters who are headed into the final round are:

Central: James Biggs, Richland Hills, Texas, eight bass, 29-6

Eastern: Dino Moutogiannis, Newington, Conn., 10 bass, 28-12

Mid-Atlantic: Steve Dinkler, Daniels, W.Va., nine bass, 26-13

Northern: Dave Cermak, Hebron, Ind., six bass, 17-10

Northwest: Nicholas Fitzsimmons, Lyle, Wash., five bass, 19-3

Southern: John Talton, Georgetown, Tenn., nine bass, 29-10

Southwest: Jon Griffith, Mesa, Ariz., eight bass, 16-0

 

By region, top non-boaters headed into the day-three finals are:

Central: Brian Maloney, Osage Beach, Mo., nine bass, 23-11

Eastern: Keith Cleary, Bethel, Conn., six bass, 12-3

Mid-Atlantic: Don Muir, Perryhall, Md., eight bass, 31-7

Northern: Nickolas Marsh, Commerce Twp., Mich., 10 bass, 25-8

Northwest: David Simmons, Molalla, Ore., four bass, 13-7

Southern: Stephen Scoggin, Lebanon, Tenn., eight bass, 20-3

Southwest: Richard Vizcarra, Peoria, Ariz., eight bass, 19-12

Overall, boaters brought in 135 bass weighing 365 pounds, 15 ounces. The catch included 11 limits. Non-boaters brought 102 bass to the scale weighing 277 pounds, 5 ounces. Non-boaters recorded seven limits.

For a full list of results visit:
http://bassfederation.com/tournaments/results/federation-championship-results/

At the end of day three, the overall boater and non-boater champions will receive an invitation to fish the FLW Forrest Wood Cup, where all competitors are guaranteed a check, and the winner receives $500,000. The top boater and non-boater also win a coveted TBF Living The Dream Package. The boater’s package includes paid entry fees to the FLW Tour as a touring pro, plus cash, the use of a custom-wrapped Chevy truck and Ranger boat for the year, and a travel stipend for each event. The top non-boater will receive fully paid entry fees into the Rayovac Series of choice.

With so much at stake, TBF national president Robert Cartlidge expects finalists to feel more than a little pressure on day three. “These 14 anglers are all on their way to the BFL All-American, and right now they’re excited about that,” he said. “But tonight it’s going to sink in that tomorrow they’re fishing for the Forrest Wood Cup and the chance to live their dreams on the FLW tour and Rayovac series. At some point in the morning, you’re going to see the jitters and the nerves that one of them could be fishing for half a million dollars—and that’s what the Living The Dream program is all about.”

Additional cash and prizes include a new, fully-rigged Ranger Z 518c to the top Ranger Cup-qualified boater, and $5,000 to the top non-boater in the Ranger Cup Program. Plus, the Grand Lake Extravaganza offers the chance at catching a tagged fish worth $250,000.

All three days of the TBF National Championship are set for Grand Lake. Day three take-off is 6:45 a.m. at Wolf Creek Park. The 2014 TBF national champions will be crowned on the FLW stage at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers, Arkansas. Held in conjunction with the FLW Tour’s Beaver Lake tournament, the final day’s festivities include the FLW Expo beginning at noon; TBF weigh-in at 3 p.m.; and FLW Tour weigh-in at 4 p.m. All activities are free and open to the public.

The TBF National Championship is produced by a partnership between The Bass Federation and FLW Outdoors. Sponsors include Chevy, Ranger Boats, Evinrude, Cabela’s, Solar Bat, Berkley, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Indigo Sky Casino, Grand Lake Association and Travel Oklahoma. For details, visit bassfederation.com, contact TBF National Headquarters at (580) 765-9031.

Day 2 LIVE Stream of the 2014 TBF Federation National Championship starts at 2:55PM CST


Live streaming video by Ustream

New Educational Video on Lowrance Elite CHIRP

Talton Grabs Day 1 Lead At 2014 TBF National Championship, Muir Leads Non-Boaters

10.APRIL.2014
GROVE, Oklahoma—John Talton of Georgetown, Tenn., brought a 5-bass limit to the scale Thursday weighing 20 pounds, 1 ounce to take the lead after day one in the Boater Division of The Bass Federation’s 2014 National Championship on Grand Lake.

John Talton

Talton holds a healthy lead over second-place boater Dave Cermak of Hebron, Ind., who sacked five bass weighing 15 pounds, 9 ounces heading into day two of the three-day event that features 94 of North America’s best grassroots bass tournament anglers competing for more than $200,000 in cash and prizes.

“It feels great right now,” Talton said of taking the lead. “But I have to do it again tomorrow.”

Based on his results during pre-fishing, Talton said breaking the 20-pound barrier today was a complete surprise. “I had a terrible practice,” he said, explaining that he boated just four fish during three days of learning the ropes on the legendary fishery. He attributed his dramatic improvement to warming water temperatures and trying new fishing techniques, thanks in part to his non-boater.

That’s not to say Talton windmilled bass all day long. In fact, he didn’t round out his big basket until the very end. “I caught two fish right away, and then ran around for awhile before coming back to the spot and catching a third fish,” he said. When that bite faded completely, he moved a final time, dug in his heels and prepared to finish the day.

“As it turned out, I caught three good fish in the last hour,” he grinned.

As the sun set on day one, Talton was determined to come out swinging in the morning. “I’m going to get a good night’s sleep, do the same thing I did today and hope they bite again,” he said.

While Talton reversed his fortunes from practice, many anglers crossing the stage with less than their limit lamented having the opposite experience. Some reported enjoying stellar action prior to the event, only to see their patterns evaporate as south winds gusting to 35 mph and air temperatures climbing into the 80s changed the playing field.

The conditions didn’t faze Don Muir of Perryhall, Md., who weighed in five bass totaling 20 pounds, 2 ounces to take the overall lead in the Non-Boater Division. Brian Maloney of Osage Beach, Mo., landed in second place with a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 1 ounce.

“It’s so exciting to be in the lead, words can’t describe it,” said Muir, who was the talk of the tournament after bagging the day’s biggest basket from the back of the boat. He caught the fish by throwing an Alabama rig to windswept points. He also admits he’s never fished one before. “We can’t use them back home in Maryland,” he explained. “But my good friend Jeremy Starks told me months ago I had to try A-rigs on Grand Lake. I tried them all three days of practice and never caught a fish on one.”

Don Muir

But when throwing the cage yielded an 8-pound bass once the tournament began, Muir vowed to keep fishing it. “I caught seven bass on an Alabama rig today, and they were the right fish,” he said. 

By division, the top boaters after day one at Grand Lake are:

Central: Jeremy Sorensen, Fremont, Neb., five bass, 12-12

Eastern: Dino Moutogiannis, Newington, Conn., five bass, 14-5

Mid-Atlantic: Thomas Turner, Kingsville, Md., five bass, 15-7

Northern: Dave Cermak, Hebron, Ind., five bass, 15-9

Northwest: Aaron Echternkamp, Moses Lake, Wash., two bass, 5-4

Southern: John Talton, Georgetown, Tenn., five bass, 20-1

Southwest: Wade Headrick, Herriman, Ut., four bass, 11-12

By division, top non-boaters after day one are:

Central: Brian Maloney, Osage Beach, Mo., five bass, 15-1

Eastern: Candy Carrasquillo, Springfield, Mass., five bass, 8-14

Mid-Atlantic: Don Muir, Perryhall, Md., five bass, 20-2

Northern: Nickolas Marsh, Commerce Twp., Mich., five bass, 13-4

Northwest: Don Collins, Kalispell, Mont., two bass, 6-7

Southern: Stephen Scoggin, Lebanon, Tenn., five bass, 12-13

Southwest: Richard Vizcarra, Peoria, Ariz., five bass, 13-4

For Complete Results CLICK HERE

In all, boaters tallied 130 bass weighing 353 pounds, 2 ounces. The catch included 10 limits. Non-boaters brought 105 bass to the scale weighing 282 pounds, 7 ounces. Non-boaters recorded 10 limits.

Overall big fish of the day was an 8-pound, 1-ounce behemoth brought in by non-boater Al Grabowski of Andover, Minn. “I got it with about an hour to go in the afternoon,” he said. “I cast a jerkbait off a point, twitched it twice and felt a little tick. I thought, ‘That feels like a fish.’ So I set the hook and that was it. I knew it was a good one right away.” Although the trophy was Grabowski’s lone bass of the day, it was heavy enough to land him in a respectable 17th place. Given Grand Lake’s potential for giving up monster baskets, it left the Gopher State bass fan well within striking distance of a spot in the finals.

While boater Bill Simpson of Stanton, Mich., didn’t sack a limit, he did touch the hearts of the weigh-in crowd gathered lakeside at scenic Wolf Creek Park. “A friend of mine’s 6-year-old son is battling cancer, and I told him I would dedicate the first fish I catch to him,” he said. “As it turned out, it was my big fish of the day.” The brave young man, Drew Clarke, loves bass fishing and has drawn prayers and support from many fellow bass anglers, including TBF and FLW competitors from across the U.S.

All anglers compete the first two days of the TBF championship, which runs April 10-12, after which the top boater and non-boater from each of the seven national divisions move on to the final day. Each division winner also receives a paid entry into the prestigious BFL All-American Tournament.

At the end of day three, the overall boater and non-boater champions also receive an invitation to fish the FLW Forrest Wood Cup, and win a coveted TBF Living The Dream Package. The boater’s package includes paid entry fees to the FLW Tour as a touring pro, plus cash, the use of a custom-wrapped Chevy truck and Ranger boat for the year, and a travel stipend for each event. The top non-boater will receive fully paid entry fees into the Rayovac Series of choice.

Additional cash and prizes include a new, fully-rigged Ranger Z 518c to the top Ranger Cup-qualified boater, and $5,000 to the top non-boater in the Ranger Cup Program. Plus, the Grand Lake Extravaganza offers the chance at catching a tagged fish worth $250,000.

Take-offs all three days will be held at Wolf Creek Park, beginning at 7 a.m. on Day 1 and Day 2, and 6:45 a.m. on Day 3. Weigh-ins Day 1 and 2 will be held at Wolf Creek beginning at 3 p.m. On Day 3, the 2014 national champions will be crowned on the FLW stage at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers, Arkansas. Held in conjunction with the FLW Tour’s Beaver Lake tournament, the final day’s festivities include the FLW Expo beginning at noon; TBF weigh-in at 3 p.m.; and FLW Tour weigh-in at 4 p.m. All activities are free and open to the public.

The TBF National Championship is produced by a partnership between The Bass Federation and FLW Outdoors. Sponsors include Chevy, Ranger Boats, Evinrude, Cabela’s, Solar Bat, Berkley, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Indigo Sky Casino, Grand Lake Association and Travel Oklahoma. For details, visit bassfederation.com, contact TBF National Headquarters at (580) 765-9031.

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