Ohio and Michigan Advance Anglers to Nationals
The Ohio Bass Federation played host to the first TBF National Semifinal contest for District 11 October 1-2 on Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio. The new TBF National Semi-Finals program pits top grassroots anglers from each state in a “close to home” weekend event with neighboring states for significant cash prizes and advancements.
A total of $16,520 with 120% payback in cash and prizes, National Semi-Final qualifying jerseys, trophies, champion titles and slots in the national championship were awarded in the boater and co-angler divisions. The top nine boaters and co-anglers in the 46 boat field divvied up $10,350 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 Evinrude).
During practice the weather didn’t cooperate and with a small craft advisory on Friday the lake was muddy when the anglers launched Saturday morning. Most anglers thought the smallie bite would win the tournament, which is what Lake Erie is noted for, but as the weigh-in started it was apparent that would not be the case.
After two days of competition, Dave Fogel of Ohio bested the boater field with 30.52 pounds. Fogel received a $2,400 paycheck, a slot in the 2017 Federation National Championship and the $500 Ranger Cup award for being the highest finishing Ranger Cup qualified angler.
However, it was the co-angler from Ohio, Bob Cox, Sr., that had the largest weight of the tournament with 32.16 pounds. Under the new national semi-final format, Cox can now opt to fish as a boater at the national championship event. If he does so, Ohio will move up the next two co-angler spots keeping the numbers even with two boaters and two co-anglers.
The two co-anglers that would fill those slots are Jacob Cook who had 26.74 pounds and Phillip Rummel who weighed in 22.13 pounds, in addition, to landing tournament big bass with a 5.33 pound smallmouth.
Michigan’s Tommy Robinson and Dan O’Neil will also advance to the 2017 Federation National Championship being the highest boater and co-angler finishers to represent their state. Robinson weighed in 26.80 pounds and O’Neil brought in 9.23 pounds.
The Ohio Bass Federation made the final sweep taking home bragging rights and the first District 11 State Pride Award with 85.30 total pounds. The award is determined by adding the weights of the top four boaters and co-anglers from each state, which are selected prior to the event.
In District 11, top TBF anglers competed for the chance to advance to the 2017 Federation National Championship and to win enough cash to travel to the spring event. Anglers qualify for the semi-finals in one of two ways. Active state clubs in good standing can send their top two anglers directly to the semi-final event, in addition, the top 10% of state event participation or a minimum of 12 anglers per state qualify, whichever is greater.
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. In the new NSF rules, a co-angler can also move up as a boater if his/her weight totals more than the state boater’s weight.
The new event format went well thanks to the Ohio Bass Federation who ran the event and all their support from TBF’s sponsors; FLW, Ranger, Cabela’s, Lowrance, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Evinrude, Berkley and Power Pole.