Faber Grabs TBF Championship Lead

Faber Grabs TBF Championship Lead

April 7, 2017

By Dan Johnson

Table Rock Lake has never been accused of being a boring fishery, or of hosting tediously predictable bass tournaments. As the dust settled following day four of The Bass Federation’s 2017 National Championship, the Rock’s reputation for rollercoaster leaderboard rides and white-knuckle comebacks is as solid as ever.

After a week of cool, rainy, unstable conditions, today’s sunny skies and 60-degree weather boosted the surface temp into the 60s and fueled a flurry of shallow-water action as spawn-minded bass headed toward the bank. Still, the action wasn’t universally fast, and more than a few competitors found their fortunes in flux.

Ty Faber is living proof of the impoundment’s ability to knock you down one day and build you back up the next. Representing the New Mexico Bass Federation, Faber, of Colorado, was 56th overall among the boaters on day one of the five-day event with two bass for 4 pounds, 5 ounces.

The next day, he improved to 40th with 8 pounds, 6 ounces for a 12-pound, 11-ounce two-day total. In the process, he claimed New Mexico’s slot in the next leg of the championship and kept fishing while over half the 204-angler field went home.

Weights were zeroed at this point, giving the remaining 49 boaters and 49 co-anglers a fresh start. Faber responded with a 10-pound, 7-ounce limit that put him in 4th place in the Southwest Division, which he’d need to win to move on to Saturday’s final round.

Today, while his rivals faltered, Faber vaulted into first place overall and won his division with a 15-pound, 15-ounce limit that gives him 26-06 headed into tomorrow’s shootout.

“I didn’t really do anything different today than I’ve done all week, I just finally got around a few good fish,” he says. “It still wasn’t a consistent bite. They bit a little better during the morning, but I caught them throughout the day.”

Looking ahead, he admits tomorrow will be a surprise. “I really have no idea what’s going to happen on this lake,” he laughs. “It’s been different every day. I hadn’t caught a 3-pounder all week until today, I just finally got around a few better fish.”

Indiana boater Allen Boyd, who won the 2011 TBF National Championship on Nickajack Lake, experienced the fickler side of Table Rock’s nature.

The day-three leader brought in nearly 10 pounds less than yesterday, weighing just three fish for 8 pounds, 2 ounces, compared to Friday’s 17-pound, 14-ounce limit. Still, it put him atop the Northern Division and second overall with 26 pounds even.

“I started off this morning catching one of my big fish on the second cast, but it went downhill from there,” he says.  “A lot of local boat traffic running around didn’t help anything, and it just wasn’t my day.”

Despite the turn of events, Boyd has no plans to change his strategy. “I’m going back and doing the same thing,” he maintains. “I think the fish are there to win this. They’ve just got to move up and eat.”

North Carolina boater Jeff Hager landed the day’s heaviest limit. The 16-pound, 10-ounce sack gave him the Southern Division’s golden ticket to tomorrow’s grand finale, and moved him into third overall with 25-11.

“At our first spot, we had five keepers in the boat in the first 25 minutes,” he says. “From there we just kept flipping and pitching jigs, and picked up fish all during the day. The last hour and a half we caught some of our bigger fish, and I got one of the best ones on the last cast of the day.”

New York boater Brad Brodnicki has been a study in consistency, landing limits throughout the event. He paced the entire field the first two days. Falling water temperatures and changing water clarity challenged him yesterday, and he slipped slightly in the overall ranks but still lead the Eastern Division.

Brodnicki’s Eastern domination continued today as he moved into the finals with a 12-pound, 8-ounce limit and 25-pound, 2-ounce total weight.

“I’m really excited,” he says. “The Lord blessed me. It was a grind today and I fished all brand-new water. I started out with one fish early and went about three hours without another. So, I went back to the pattern I’ve been using all week, just trying it in different spots. I ended up culling one fish—but it was a big fish at the end, an hour before weigh-in, that really sealed the deal.”

Another past TBF champion, Robert Harkness, will also be in the hunt for the 2017 title tomorrow. The West Virginia boater topped the Mid-Atlantic Division with a 22-pound, 10-ounce total. Though he’s nearly four pounds behind Faber, it’s premature to count the former champ out.

“I was in fifth place and eight pounds out 2009 on Bull Shoals, and I ended up winning,” he recalls. Championship experience aside, Harkness also hopes a unique game plan will fuel another comeback.

While many of his competitors are fishing relatively shallow, he’s plying a deeper pattern. “I’m not sight fishing,” he says. “I’m fishing deep off structure, catching smallmouths and spots.”

Certainly, Saturday’s forecast for air temperatures in the high 70s could see the shallow bite catch fire. But Harkness notes that the balmy weekend will no doubt intensify pressure on those fish as well. “It could play a role, but we’ll have to wait and see,” he says.

Among the co-angler contingency, Steven Martins of Connecticut topped the Eastern Division and sits in first overall with a 10-fish, 21-pound, 5-ounce total. He brought in 11-08 today and 9-13 on Friday.

Running April 3-8, the TBF championship pits 204 anglers from the federation’s seven divisions against one another for more than $300,000 in cash and prizes.

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 move on to the final day.

Regardless of their finish tomorrow, each divisional winner also advances to the 2017 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League All-American. The winning boater also qualifies for the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup for a shot at winning the biggest payday in bass fishing.

The winning boater will also receive the $100,000 “Living the Dream” package to include 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. 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.

The championship concludes tomorrow at the Port of Kimberling Marina and Resort, 72 Marina Way, Kimberling City, Mo. Takeoff is at 7 a.m. CT, and weigh-in begins at 3 p.m.

By Division, top boaters headed into the final round are:

Central: Joshua Moore, Louisiana, 22-03 (9)
Eastern: Brad Brodnicki, New York, 25-02 (10)
Mid-Atlantic: Robert Harkness, West Virginia, 22-10 (10)
Northern: Allen Boyd, Indiana, 26-00 (8)
Northwest: Ben Warren, Idaho, 23-02 (10)
Southern: Jeff Hager, North Carolina, 25-11 (9)
Southwest: Ty Faber, New Mexico, 26-06 (10)

By Division, top co-anglers headed into the final round are:

Central: Brad Jernigan, Mississippi, 19-13 (10)
Eastern: Steven Martens, Connecticut, 21-05 (10)
Mid-Atlantic: Brian LaClair, Delaware, 17-03 (8)
Northern: Sport Smith, Minnesota, 17-07 (8)
Northwest: Kevin Higgins, Washington, 13-02 (7)
Southern: Kevin Black, Georgia, 12-08 (6)
Southwest: Paul Aznarez, Nevada, 19-02 (9)

FULL RESULTS OVERALL

FULL RESULTS BY DIVISION

 

Boyd Blossoms, Grabs Day Three Lead At 2017 TBF National Championship

Boyd Blossoms, Grabs Day Three Lead At 2017 TBF National Championship

April 6, 2017

By Dan Johnson

With weights zeroed and the field trimmed by more than half, day three of The Bass Federation’s 2017 National Championship produced heavy limits, epic comebacks and the promise of even more exciting grassroots bass action to come.

Running April 3-8 on Missouri’s famed Table Rock Lake out of Kimberling City, the championship pits top contenders from TBF federations across North America. Currently, 49 boaters and 49 co-anglers are fighting for a berth in Saturday’s final round. More than twice that number fished Monday and Tuesday, competing for the top two-day weight for their respective state or province.

All 14 finalists who qualify for Saturday’s shootout will advance to the 2017 BFL All-American. The National Champion boater also advances to the world championship of bass fishing, the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup, for a shot at winning the biggest payday in bass fishing.

The winning boater will also receive the $100,000 “Living the Dream” package to include 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. The top co-angler will also receive a $20,000 prize package including $10,000 cash and fully paid entry fees into the FLW Series division of choice as well as other prizes.

Boyd Rises
Indiana’s Allen Boyd took full advantage of a fresh start. He shook off a slow start that saw him 25th overall earlier in the week to grab the lead today among the boaters with 17 pounds, 14 ounces. The weight was more than 2 pounds heavier than any limit brought in the first two days.

“I made a long run and caught fish all day,” Boyd says, with a look that speaks volumes about not wanting to tip what could be a winning hand.

It’s worth noting that Boyd is no stranger to championship comebacks. In 2011, he rallied from 13th on day one to win the TBF National Championship on Nickajack Lake, Tennessee.

Whether he can rally for a repeat crown remains to be seen, but he’s cautiously optimistic. “The fish gotta cooperate,” he laughs. “But if we get more sun, it could work out.”

Mobely’s Move
Florida’s John Mobely freely admits his home waters on the St. John’s River are nothing like Table Rock Lake, and that he struggled earlier in the championship to get a handle on the mighty reservoir, which spans nearly 43,000 acres, offering almost 800 miles of shoreline plus countless coves, cuts, channels, docks and other potential sweet spots to choose from.

“I had a tough time early on,” he recalls. “I barely beat out the other guy from Florida to make the cut. I feel fortunate and thank the good Lord for that.”

Today didn’t start out much better, however. “At 1 o’clock I had one 15-inch spotted bass in the livewell,” he says. “So I gambled and made a little run to a spot that had smaller fish on it Saturday. I guess the females have pulled up in there, because I caught four pretty quick, and then another two so I could cull that little bitty spot.”

The result was a 15-pound, 10-ounce limit that put him in second overall and on top of the Southern Division. By comparison, he tallied just four bass for 9 pounds, 4 ounces the first two days of the championship and found himself in 63rd overall among the boaters.

With two days to go, Mobely is looking ahead, not behind. “I feel good about my chances,” he says. “Coming into the tournament, I figured you would need 15 pounds each of the last three days to win, and I’m on that pace. If I keep doing what I’m doing, hopefully I can bring it home.”

For Arizona’s Jon Griffith, the event offers a chance at redemption from a close finish at last season’s championship, where he finished strong but landed in second place behind Joseph Webster of Mississippi.

Griffith was third overall the first two days of competition with 24 pounds, 8 ounces. He brought in a 13-pound, 11-ounce limit today to again land in third overall. “I’m excited,” he says. “Absolutely nothing is different than last year. As soon as I pulled in for practice, I started catching fish the same way I did last year, so all I had to do was expand the program.”

TBF fans will recall Griffith’s 2016 strategies hinged on finesse fishing clear water near the bank. “It’s the same program now, except I still have 60 waypoints I haven’t even touched yet,” he says. “A lot of it depends on the weather, but if it stays sunny, hopefully I can keep on doing it. I can’t wait to see what happens.”

Brodnicki Tested
Day one and two boaters’ leader Brad Brodnicki, of New York, found his fortunes flowing the opposite direction, though in more of a trickle than a waterfall. After weighing in 15-08 and 13-02 limits earlier in the week, he boxed 12-10 today, slipping to sixth overall. Still, he remained atop the Eastern Division, 10 ounces ahead of his closest divisional rival, Herbert Meyer IV, of Maine.

“Today was a little pinched,” he says. “I had some fish lined up, but the water temperature dropped 5 degrees overnight, the water clarity changed, the fish dropped off of where I was, and the bite shut down. The whole first half of the day I was searching around looking for new fish, and ended up going to an area I wanted to save for the next few days. They anchored my bag, but tomorrow will be a little bit of a grind.”

Antrup Ups The Ante
While Body paced the boaters, fellow Hoosier Jeremy Antrup racked up 13 pounds, 13 ounces from the back of the boat to lead the co-anglers.

“I had an incredible day today, my boater put me on fish and we had consistent fishing all day,” he reports. Looking ahead, Antrup also foresees good things with the expected warm, sunny weather. “It should be more of the same,” he smiles.

In all, competitors brought 286 bass weighing a total of 635 pounds, 6 ounces to the stage, including 35 5-fish limits.

More To Come
TBF President and CEO Robert Cartlidge believes we haven’t seen the end of the action. “The anglers are catching a few more fish every day,” he says. “The bass would like to move onto the beds but the weather just hasn’t been stable enough so far. We’ve had bluebird skies and storms, then more bluebird skies and storms. But the forecast for sunny, stable weather Friday and Saturday might open the floodgates.”

Cartlidge notes that the 2017 title showdown is the biggest championship in the Federation’s 49-year history, and he credits the new National Semi-Finals qualifying system for helping more anglers discover the thrills of competitive bass fishing.

“We have a lot of folks who never fished outside their state before,” he says. “On the co-angler side, some have never run a boat before. It’s good for them to see and experience this, because it shows them how fun it is, and that anyone can do it.”

The action continues tomorrow, with a 7 a.m. take-off and 3 p.m. weigh-in set for the Port of Kimberling Marina and Resort, 72 Marina Way, Kimberling City, Missouri.

 

 

Top 10 Boaters

  1. Allen Boyd, Indiana, 17-14 (5)
  2. John Mobley, Florida, 15-10 (5)
  3. Jon Griffith, Arizona, 13-11 (5)
  4. Joshua Moore, Louisiana, 13-10 (5)
  5. Robert Walla, Nebraska, 13-05 (5)
  6. Brad Brodnicki, New York, 12-10, (5)
  7. Greg Hoskinson, Kentucky, 12-13 (5)
  8. Doug Thompson, Arkansas, 12-06 (5)
  9. Herbert Meyer IV, Maine, 12-00 (5)
  10. Ben Warren, Idaho, 12-00 (5)

 

Top 10 Co-Anglers

  1. Jeremy Antrup, Indiana, 13-13 (5)
  2. Ross Cagle, Louisiana, 11-12 (5)
  3. Brian LaClair, Delaware, 10-13 (5)
  4. Thomas Prowant, Pennsylvania, 10-06 (4)
  5. Eric Storms, South Dakota, 10-04 (5)
  6. David Simmons, Oregon, 10-00 (4)
  7. Steven Martins, Connecticut, 9-13 (5)
  8. Brad Jernigan, Mississippi, 9-13 (5)
  9. Kevin Higgins, Washington, 9-08 (4)
  10. Mike Alvarez, California, 9-01 (5)

 

For FULL day 3 results CLICK HERE

Federation National Championship Day 3 Results!

FNC 17 Day 3 Results By Division

Final Leg Of 2017 TBF National Championship Underway On Table Rock Lake

Final Leg Of 2017 TBF National Championship Underway On Table Rock Lake

By Dan Johnson

Phase two of The Bass Federation’s 2017 National Championship kicked off today on Missouri’s Table Rock Lake. Running April 3-8 out of Kimberling City, the event is the largest and richest title showdown in Federation history.

The action began Monday and Tuesday, with 204 anglers from across the continent battling for the top two-day weight for their respective state or province.

Competitors qualified through the TBF’s traditional divisional format and the organization’s new National Semi-Final system. Comprised of 22 district competitions, that framework is designed to make it more cost effective for TBF grassroots anglers to fish premier events by minimizing travel time and expenses while increasing payouts across the board.

On Tuesday afternoon, the field narrowed to the top 49 boaters and 49 co-anglers. Anglers making the cut practiced on Wednesday before heading into the championship’s final three-day stretch Thursday through Saturday. The field fished in their own boats the first two days, then settled into state-of-the-art Evinrude-powered Ranger Boats for the remainder of the event.

Overall, a mix of cool, rainy and windy conditions challenged the field to find bass over 15 inches during the first two days of the tournament. New York’s Brad Brodnicki paced the boater division with 10 bass for 28-10 pounds, followed by Wisconsin’s Larry Hildebrandt and Arizona’s Jon Griffith with 24-08.

“Weights are zeroed today, however, so everything starts over,” explained TBF senior tournament director Randy Sullivan. “Cumulative weights from the next two days will determine who makes the cut for Saturday, when the top boater and co-angler from each of the TBF’s seven divisions advance to the finals.”

All 14 finalists will advance to the 2017 BFL All-American. The National Champion boater also advances to the world championship of bass fishing, the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup, for a shot at winning the biggest payday in bass fishing.

The winning boater will also receive the $100,000 “Living the Dream” package to include 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. The top co-angler will also receive a $20,000 prize package including $10,000 cash and fully paid entry fees into the FLW Series division of choice as well as other prizes.

Optimism Runs High
With warmer weather in the forecast and the leaderboard a clean slate, optimism was running high among the anglers at Thursday’s take-off. “It’s a brand-new tournament,” grinned Ontario’s Justin Fung. “I’m excited to get things started and proud to represent Canada down here.”

Fung said a few bass were moving shallow earlier in the week. “Some smaller fish were making nests, but with yesterday’s cold they pulled out,” he said. Given the forecast for warmer, sunnier weather the remainder of the tournament, he expects to see more fish move back shallow, and predicts weights will improve accordingly. “I think we’ll see more 4- to 5-pounders caught, and a few bags north of 15 pounds every day,” he said.

Colorado’s Greg Gizzi was likewise hopeful. “The water temperature is 54 degrees this morning, so we lost a few degrees from yesterday,” he said. “But with the sun coming out I think it’s going to put the fish right where we want them.”

Gizzi landed a limit each of the first two days and finished seventh among the boaters with 23-03. “A lot of the lakes back home are rocky and deep like this, so I’m comfortable here on Table Rock,” he said. “Weights start over today, though, so we gotta go catch them again. I think 13 to 14 pounds a day will be key to getting it done.”

With three days of competition remaining, anglers were understandably tight-lipped about their presentations. Sullivan said a mix of tactics produced fish earlier in the week. “Seeking baits like small squarebill cranks and spinnerbaits were key when anglers couldn’t see the bass, but I think sight-fishing is going to pick up as fish move shallow toward the beds,” he said.

Sullivan also noted that some anglers tapped a wildcard pattern in deeper water. “Some of the guys figured out how to catch spotted bass in 18 to 20 feet of water on small Carolina rigs and dropshot setups,” he said. “We saw some really big spots.”

Whether that bite will play a role in grand finale remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt TBF anglers will pull out all the stops in a bid for the most coveted crown in grassroots bass fishing.

Coverage of the TBF National Championship will be broadcast nationally in high-definition on the Pursuit Channel and streamed live daily on bassfederation.com.

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.

 

Tournament details                               

Dates: April 3-8

Host: Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce

Takeoff times: 7 a.m.

Takeoff location: Port of Kimberling, 72 Marina Way, Kimberling City, MO

Weigh-in times: 3 p.m.

Weigh-in location: Port of Kimberling Marina & Resort

 

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