6/15/12 – It was a smoldering humid final day for the 2012 Central Division Championship, presented by Evinrude near Bossier City, LA at the Red River South Marina. It was a race to the finish as 16 anglers advanced to the 2013 TBF National Championship next spring. And the Texas anglers made quite a statement here today.
Yesterday, Texas non-boater Larry Barnes was in 2nd place behind Dave Heffel of Kansas. Today Barnes stayed consistent and weighed in a solid limit that netted 11 lbs 11oz with a nice kicker fish. That gave Barnes a 3 day total weighed of 31 lbs 10 oz to be named the overall Division Winner, and will advance to the Nationals as a Boater. “I caught my fish flipping pads. During practice I found the pads and tried to force-feed a frog, which is what I should have been catching them on. That wasn’t working, so I started flipping a Lake Fork Tackle Baby Fork Creature, Craw Tubes and a Fork Craw Worm and started catching them. I found a row of pads that was about 150 yards long and would just fish an hour to an hour and a half each way,” said Barnes.
“I knew I would be at the mercy of my boaters, by being a non-boater at this tournament. I was blessed with the best boaters I could have asked for. Each day, they weren’t catching them, so they let me fish my fish. Today, I drew Ross Cagle, the “Louisiana Legend”, as I call him. He caught over 10 lbs on my water today and advanced as the boater for the state of Louisiana.” Barnes jokingly told Cagle that it took a Texas boy to come show him some good fish! “I became good friends with all my partners this week, this has been a wonderful experience for me to have met such nice guys,” said Barnes.
This is the first time Barnes will have qualified for Texas State Team and advance to Nationals. “It’s an honor for me to win an event such as this, with the quality fisherman I fished against. This is really special. It was a very professional-run tournament and I can’t say enough good things about TBF, they do a super job.” Barnes just joined TBF in February after researching online for a tournament trail. He came across our “Living the Dream” prize package and decided it was the road he wanted to take. “I felt like the Lord led me to fish this trail. I fished the FLW Tour awhile back and didn’t do so well, I had some health issues. I am now cancer-free and plan on going to Nationals to win it all!” said Barnes. He has been a guide on Lake Fork near Dallas for almost 20 years, so he is no stranger to the world of bass fishing. He even holds some state records with a 17 lber he caught on Fork.
In a very close second place is fellow Texas State Team member, James Biggs. He made quite a comeback and finishes in second overall with 31 lbs 2 oz. He brought in 13 lbs 14 oz today, along with a 5lb 2 oz beauty, which earned him 2nd place big bass of the entire tournament. Today’s catch was the largest brought in today by almost 2 lbs. “I caught most my fish on the main river on a rock pile that was in the river bend on a Texas Rig Double ZZ T-worm red bug. I also caught them on a variety of crank baits throughout the week. Each day, once I had a limit, I would spend the rest the day throwing frogs around the lilly pads,” said Biggs. If you were near the water, looking out to the west of the weigh-in trailer, you could’ve seen Biggs land his 5 lb’er today. He was only a few hundred feet from the trailer on the other side of a fence fishing the pads. “Today’s big fish came on Dave’s Black Market Balsa in a copper green shad color,” said Biggs. He has been fishing TBF for 3 years and has made nationals 2 out of those 3. His first National Championship appearance was in 2011 in Tennessee, where he lost a heart-breaker by only 5 oz to National Champion, Allen Boyd. To only lose by 8 oz today is a hard pill to swallow for Biggs. “It’s still an honor for me to represent the state of Texas at the TBF Nationals as a co-angler. The fact I can possibly advance on to the All-American again and maybe even the Forrest Wood Cup, would be amazing.”
Biggs didn’t go home empty-handed. He was the highest finishing Cabela’s Angler Cash recipient of $500 and was the 2nd place big bass pot winner with his 5 lb’er today. At registration Tuesday night, the anglers decided to have a $10 entry to have a big bass pot and gave a 60/40 split to the top 2 brought in. First place went to Louisiana’s Josh Moore, who weighed in his 6 lb 10 oz’er the first day.
Texas State Team was victorious in the state team standings with 196 lbs 12 oz. Texas gets bragging rights for a year and will take home the “Cup” They beat out host state Louisiana by almost 12 lbs, who had 184 lbs 7 oz. In 3rd place was Kansas State team with 176-03.
Ranger Cup winner was Louisiana’s qualified boater, Gene Brown, who goes home with $550 for being Ranger Boat owner who registered with Ranger Cup program for TBF Members. Texas State Team takes home $550 to distribute between their state team members who are Ranger Cup Qualified.
The top angler in state team standings advances as a boater and the 2nd place angler of each state advances as a co-angler to the 2013 TBF National Championship next spring. There they’ll fish for the “Living the Dream” prize package to include paid entry fees as an FLW Pro for a year with use of a wrapped Ranger boat and Chevrolet truck, as well as, thousands in cash and prizes.
The 2013 TBF National Contenders are as follows:
Dylan Hays – Angler
Doug Thompson – Co-Angler
David Heffel – Angler
Don Glick – Co-Angler
Ross Cagle – Angler
Gerald Spohrer – Co-Angler
Eddie Wolfe – Angler
Scott Sommerkamp – Co-Angler
Gene Brown – Angler
Richard Keene – Co-Angler
Jeremy Sorensen – Angler
Lee Wubbels – Co-Angler
Jody Linder – Angler
Terry Kleeman – Co-Angler
Larry Barnes – Angler
James Biggs – Co-Angler
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