Oregon and Washington Advance Anglers to National Event
The Oregon Bass Federation hosted the 2017 TBF National Semifinal District 18 event October 7-8 on the Columbia River on both the Bonneville and The Dalles pools. Pre-tournament fishing reports saw solid limits of smallmouth bass being caught on lures ranging from crankbaits, jerkbaits, swimbaits and drop-shotting soft plastics (tubes, senkos and flukes). The majority of the fish were caught shallow from 5-15 feet of water across the entire pools. Thirty-eight anglers representing Oregon and Washington set out from The Dalles, Ore., to claim state bragging rights, deep payouts, trophies, Ranger Cup and Evinrude contingencies plus coveted spots in the 2018 Federation National Championship.
A total of $7,880 with 138% payback was awarded in cash and prizes. The top three boaters and co-anglers in the 19 boat field divvied up $4,275 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.
On day one, anglers faced a heavy west wind testing both their boating and fishing skills. Day one leader, Jeremy McKay, from Oregon estimated he made 25 stops looking for active fish. He managed to find 20.80 pounds anchored by tournament big bass a 5.69 pound beauty.
Anglers faced a tough bite on day two due to lack of current and the wind that beat through the waters and anglers on day one. Slower fishing and patience proved key. Day one leader, McKay would go on to win it with a whopping 33.24 two day total. McKay was crowned District 18’s NSF Champion boater, received a $1,420 paycheck and will advance to nationals representing his state.
The top Washington boater and second place finisher overall was Wes Wezenberg with 29.44 total pounds. Wezenberg received an $850 paycheck, a slot at the 2018 Federation National Championship, in addition to, the $500 Ranger Cup award being the highest finishing Ranger Cup qualified angler.
On the co-angler side, Scott Seros from Oregon caught 24.40 pounds to win the National Semi-Final Champion Co-angler title. Seros received a $710 paycheck and a slot in the national championship.
Hernandez Ruffin was the top Washington co-angler and finished second overall with 23.36 pounds; he will advance to the national championship representing his state.
In the closest race to date for the NSF State Pride Awards, Washington won it with 160.21 pounds to Oregon’s 159.85 pounds. The award is determined by adding the weights of the top four boaters and co-anglers selected prior to the event from each state.
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 went well thanks to the Oregon Bass Federation that ran the event and all the support from TBF’s sponsors; FLW, Ranger, Cabela’s, Lowrance, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Evinrude, Berkley and Power Pole.