South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska Advance Anglers to Nationals
The South Dakota Bass Federation played host to the first TBF National Semifinal contest for District 8 on Lake Francis Case in Pickstown, S.D. 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.
In District 8, top TBF anglers competed October 1-2 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.
A total of $12,350 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 six boaters and co-anglers in the 33 boat field divided up $7,425 in cash payback, not including the $500 Ranger Cup award and the $1,000 Evinrude E-tec award for the winning boater who runs a 2012 or newer Evinrude.
Anglers launched from North Point Boat Ramp on Lake Francis Case, part of the Missouri River Chain in South Dakota. They dealt with a chilly fall morning but some of the best fish of the event were caught on day one.
South Dakota Boaters, Terry Laverack and Andy Williamson, brought in big smallmouths weighing 5.12 pounds and 5.11 pounds, respectively. Anchored by those smallmouths, Laverack lead the boaters with 16.3 pounds and Williamson sat in second with 13.6 pounds. In the co-angler division, South Dakota’s Kasey Jons lead the way with a five bass limit weighing 12.4 pounds. His bag was anchored with a 5 pound smallmouth.
Day 2 lead to tougher conditions for most anglers. Shawn Keena of North Dakota was able to put together 14.10 pounds, which included the big bass award for the day of 3.9 pounds. The co-angler division remained tight and lead to an exciting awards ceremony where five different anglers weighed bags over 10 pounds and the winner came down to a tie.
After two days of competition, the District 8 National Semi-Final Champion titles would go to the boater from South Dakota, Terry Laverack, with 28.14 total pounds, over five pounds ahead of the field. Laverack received a $2,170 cash prize.
Brock Belik and Todd Willis from South Dakota tied for the co-angler champion title with 23.3 pounds leaving the decision to a tie-breaker. The tie-breaker awarded Belik the title because he had the heaviest day’s catch at 12.5 pounds with Willis just ounces behind at 12.1 pounds. Belik was awarded $1,085 cash prize and Willis didn’t walk away empty-handed as he received a $540 cash prize.
North Dakota’s Shawn Keena and Robert Reinbold also advance to the 2017 Federation National Championship being the highest boater and co-angler finishers to represent their state. Keena also finished second overall on the boater’s side landing him a $1,080 cash prize.
Nebraska’s Robert Walla and Nick Ash will advance to the national event representing the boater and co-angler divisions and their state. Walla also nabbed the $500 Ranger Cup Award for being the highest finishing Ranger Cup qualified angler along a $430 fourth place purse.
The South Dakota Bass Federation made the final sweep taking home bragging rights and the first District 8 State Pride Award with 145.14 total pounds. The award is determined by adding the weights of the top four boaters and top four co-anglers from each state, which were selected prior to the event.
This event featured 443 fish caught and 443 fish released for a 100% release rate. The new event format went very well thanks to the South Dakota Bass Federation who ran the event and the support from all anglers involved