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Determination Carries Boyd To SECOND TBF Crown, Mississippi’s Brad Jernigan takes the Co-Angler National Title

Determination Carries Boyd To SECOND TBF Crown

April 8, 2017

By Dan Johnson

Allen Boyd’s determination to win overcame Table Rock Lake’s best attempts to shake his confidence. The Salem, Indiana, angler stuck to his guns in the face of a challenging bite, lost fish and fierce competition to win the boater’s division of The Bass Federation’s 2017 National Championship.

It was Boyd’s second TBF championship victory, and TBF President Robert Cartlidge was quick to note the astronomical odds stacked against such an achievement.

“Hundreds of thousands of anglers have tried to earn a spot in a Federation championship in the past 49 years,” Cartlidge explains. “Few have qualified, and no one has ever won the Living The Dream prize twice — until now and only two anglers is history have won the federation championship twice. Mike Holt (TN)(deceased) won it in 1993 in Pine Bluff, AR and again in 2001 on the Mobile Alabama Delta and now Alan Boyd who won this week on Table Rock Lake and also won it in 2011 on Nickajack Lake TN. it truly is one for the record books”

Boyd, a construction worker by trade, qualified for the championship at the TBF’s 2016 District 10 National Semi-Finals tournament on the Ohio River last October. He beat a brutal bite to win that two-day event with seven fish for 9 pounds, 15 ounces.

“It was tough, but that’s the Ohio River,” he says. “It’s my home water, and it’s taught me a lot about competing in tough tournaments, and about picking an area apart without giving up on it.”

Those lessons served him well on Table Rock.

After struggling on day one with three bass on for 5 pounds, 13 ounces, he found himself in 44th place overall. He moved up to 25th on day two with a 10-pound, 15-ounce limit that gave him a 16-pound, 12-ounce two-day total and Indiana’s spot in the final three-day stretch of the championship, while over half the 204-angler field left for home.

On the morning of day three, weights were zeroed for the remaining 49 boaters and 49 co-anglers (the top of each category from each state and province). Competitors were also given the use of Evinrude-powered Ranger Boats for the remainder of the event.

Boyd surged into first on the wings of a 17-pound, 14-ounce limit.

Not immune to Table Rock’s legendary ability to “Rock” the leaderboard, however, he weighed just three fish for 8 pounds, 2 ounces on day four. Though less than he’d hoped for, the catch was enough to top his Northern Division rivals and qualify for Saturday’s grand finale with 26 pounds even.

Today, Boyd put together a 12-pound, 10-ounce limit for a three-day tally of 38 pounds, 10 ounces. It was enough to hold off a charge by New York’s Brad Brodnicki, who’d been consistent throughout the event and finished second with 35-05.

Boyd’s go-to area lay a long run upriver. “I ran up into into Arkansas near Crooked Creek Marina,” he reports. “I knew the fish were there to win it, so I kept fishing it hard.”

A craw-pattern, Strike King KVD 1.5 square-bill crankbait accounted for many of his fish. “Keeping the boat in about 12 feet of water, I cast tight to the bank and ticked the rocky bottom,” he says.

He also punched a Texas-rigged tube through tangles of driftwood matted on the surface. “Bass go under these mats for shade when stained water clears up,” he notes. “The water had been getting progressively clearer every day, so I Texas-rigged a 3½-inch tube with a pegged, ½-ounce tungsten sinker and punched the tube through the mats.”

Of course, getting bit and boating the fish are two different matters. “This morning I got a real hard bite and good a hookset into about a 4-pound fish,” he recalls. “I pulled it out of the mat, but it came unbuttoned and flopped on top of the driftwood until if finally got back into the water.”

The sight haunted Boyd. “I was really rattled,” he admits. “My co-angler (Brad Jernigan) kept reminding me to stay focused. It proves the importance of staying mentally strong and not giving up.”

At 11 o’clock, he got his first bass on the tube rig. “Then the wind picked up and started howling down a bank we’d had a few bites on earlier,” he says. “So, we picked up our square-bills and started casting the bank again.”

Boyd notes that blades also factored into his championship run. “The day I had the 17-pound bag I got three good fish on a spinnerbait,” he says. “I really tried making that work the whole tournament because I like fishing that way, but it didn’t happen.”

Boyd wins the TBF’s coveted $100,000 “Living the Dream” package for his efforts, which includes a cash prize, fully paid entry fees on the 2018 FLW Tour as a pro, travel expense stipends for each event and use of a “Living the Dream” wrapped Ranger boat with Evinrude outboard for the year.

“It’s an amazing experience living the dream,” he says, recalling his first championship win. Boyd also brings home a new Ranger Z-518 bass boat for being the top finisher in the Ranger Cup program.

As the winning boater, Boyd also qualifies for the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup for a shot at winning the biggest payday in bass fishing.

Representing Mississippi and the Central Division, Brad Jernigan claimed the co-angler title with a final three-day total of 29 pounds, 8 ounces.

As is so often the case for a co, his Table Rock experience was a study in diversity. “The first day I was throwing dropshots and swimbaits in 12 to 35 feet of water, and the next I was fishing a peanut butter and jelly Ned Rig on main lake points in seven to 20 feet,” he laughs. “Today, paired with Boyd, I was mud-hole fishing square-bills and tubes.”

After day five, top boaters (listed with final 3-day catch) are:

  1. Allen Boyd, Indiana, 38-10 (13)
    2. Brad Brodnicki, New York, 35-05 (14)
    3. Robert Harkness, West Virginia, 34-02 (15)
    4. Ty Faber, New Mexico, 32-07 (13)
    5. Ben Warren, Idaho, 28-10 (13)
    6. Joshua Moore, Louisiana, 28-03 (12)
    7. Jeff Hager, North Carolina, 25-11 (9)

Top co-anglers are:

Brad Jernigan, Mississippi, 29-08 (14)
Brian LaClair, Delaware, 23-05 (11)
Sport Smith, Minnesota, 23-05 (11)
Steven Martins, Connecticut, 23-00 (11)
Paul Aznarez, Nevada, 19-02 (9)
Kevin Higgins, Washington, 19-01 (10)
Kevin Black, Georgia, 14-04 (7)

Overall, boaters and co-anglers brought in 38 bass weighing 82 pounds, 15 ounces today. Just two of the 14 finalists landed limits.

Held April 3-8, the TBF championship was the largest and richest title showdown in Federation history. It pitted 204 anglers from the federation’s seven divisions against one another for more than $300,000 in cash and prizes. Anglers qualified for the contest via state, divisional and National Semi-Finals events held around the country in 2016 and early 2017.

Divided equally into boater and co-angler divisions, the full field competed the first two days of the event. The field narrowed to 49 boaters and co-anglers for days three and four, after which the top boater and non-boater from each division moved on to the final day.

Regardless of their finish in the finals, each divisional winner advances to the 2017 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League All-American.

The top co-angler will receive a $20,000 prize package that includes $10,000 cash and fully paid entry fees into the Costa FLW Series division of choice, as well as other prizes.

All five days, launches and weigh-ins were held at the Port of Kimberling Marina and Resort, 72 Marina Way, Kimberling City, Mo. Coverage of the TBF National Championship was streamed live daily on bassfederation.com and will be broadcast nationally in high-definition on the Pursuit Channel.

The Bass Federation is a proud partner in fishing with FLW, which helps support this annual event along with other industry-leading TBF sponsors including Ranger Boats, Evinrude, Cabela’s, Humminbird, Minn Kota, Berkley, Lowrance and Power Pole.