The Montana Bass Federation hosted the 2017 TBF National Semifinal District 19 event September 23-24 from Lakeside Resort on the Noxon Reservoir in Trout Creek, Mt. Scheduled reservoir draw downs forced the event date to change and forest fires in the N.W. even threatened cancellation of the event. Fortunately, the weather cooled down and the fires were controlled, allowing District 19 NSF anglers to compete. The boats launched from Trout Creek ramp to fish for state bragging rights, deeper payouts, trophies, Ranger Cup and Evinrude contingencies plus coveted spots in the 2018 Federation National Championship.
A total of $8,200 with 138% payback was awarded in cash and prizes. The top four boaters and co-anglers in the 20 boat field divvied up $4,500 in total cash payback, not including the $500 Ranger Cup award and the $1,000 Evinrude E-tec award for the winning boater (if he/she runs a 2012 or newer Etec Evinrude).
The new format pays back 100% of the entry fees, 75% to the top 20% of the field, 10% to the state federations and 15% to the TBF Federation National Championship.
All 40 contestants caught fish on Noxon with healthy limits averaging in the mid-teens and one bag weighing a whopping 20.24 pounds. The big bag brought in by Idaho angler, Loren Torok, would be the first solid limit of two to make his tournament total 31.91 pounds and secure him the 2017 National Semi-Final District Champion boater title. Torok will advance to the 2018 national championship and also received a $1,410 paycheck for his win.
The National Semi-Final Co-angler Champion was J.D. Woods, a local Trout Creek angler. Woods had a tournament total of 19.84 pounds for a total cash payout of $705. Woods will also advance to the national contest in the co-angler division representing Montana.
Second place finishers both on the boater and co-angler sides also earned berth in the 2018 Federation National Championship being the highest finishing anglers representing their respective states. Montana boater, Tim Johnston, caught 30.6 pounds to advance and Idaho co-angler, Shannon Wadas, caught 17.58 pounds.
The tournament big fish was caught by Idaho co-angler, Keith Hoffman, on day one. The largemouth tipped the scales at 5.76 pounds. Ranger Cup winner was Ben Warren also from Idaho. Warren received $500 Ranger Cup award for being the highest finishing Ranger Cup qualified angler.
The Montana Bass Federation made the final sweep taking home bragging rights and the District 19 State Pride Award with 142.95 total pounds to Idaho’s 123.41 pounds. The award is determined by adding the weights of the top four boaters and co-anglers from each state selected prior to the event.
The National Semi-Final format rolled out last year replacing the divisional events and state team line-ups. TBF anglers can now advance to a close-to-home NSF event in one of two ways. Active state clubs can advance their top two anglers, in addition, the top 10% of state event participation or a minimum of 12 anglers per state qualify, whichever is greater. The new format has been highly successful with state participation and membership up across the nation.
The event also went well thanks to the Montana Bass Federation that ran the event, Lakeside Resort in Trout Creek and all the support from TBF’s sponsors; FLW, Ranger, Cabela’s, Lowrance, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Evinrude, Berkley and Power Pole.