What is a little rain to anglers when they are fishing in a tournament with a guaranteed pay-out of $500,000 in cash and prizes? Anglers had to deal with a lot of rain on the first day of the 27th Annual Big Bass Splash Presented by Sealy Outdoors and B.A.S.S. Tournament held on Lake Fork September 20, 21, 22, 2013, but they couldn’t have asked for better weather on the following two days of the tournament and the bass cooperated loving the influx of new water and cooler temperatures.
With the amount of cash and prizes Sealy Outdoors guarantees anglers in each tournament creates quite a draw of amateur anglers. This year was no different with 2,580 anglers representing 24 states that came to try their luck at winning a portion of the cash and prizes. Anglers came from as far away as North Carolina, Mississippi, and New Mexico to fish this great tournament on this tremendous reservoir.
With twelve places paid per hour, 8 paid hours per day for the three days with cash prizes ranging from $1,000 for the heaviest bass caught in the hour to $225 for the twelfth heaviest bass of each hour, in addition to the bonus card hours and the t-shirt hours, this is one of the few amateur tournaments that anglers can win like the pros.
With the slot on Lake Fork being 16” to 24”, no contestant could bring a fish over 16” in length nor less than 24” in length to the weigh-in. This opens the door for anglers to win top place money and prizes for bass in the 1.5 to 2-pound range. If an angler is lucky enough to catch the first exact weight bass of 2.50-pounds of each day, that angler would win the hourly prize money plus $5,000. No exact weights of 2.50-pounds were caught during the course of the tournament. As in all of Sealy Outdoors Tournaments, all cash and prizes are guaranteed so those checks were given away in a drawing from all entries in the tournament. Taking home unexpected surprise drawing checks of $5,000 were Mark Parker, McAlester, Oklahoma, Jarrod Hernandes, Dallas, Texas and Tyler Fonseca, Killeen, Texas. One of the other goals anglers have in mind when they come to Lake Fork is to catch the heaviest bass under the slot. This year’s lucky angler was Robert Waltermyer from Moreauville, Louisiana and he took home an extra check for $2,500 along with the 1st place in the hour for $1,000.
During the course of the tournament 29 bass exceeded the upper range of the slot of 24”.
Winning 1st Place overall in the tournament was Don Atchley from Grandfield, Oklahoma with his bass that weighed 10.61-lbs. Don weighed his bass in on Sunday during the 8 to 9 o’clock hour. For his great catch he won $1,000 hourly cash, a 2013 Dodge Ram Truck plus a 2014 Legend Alpha 199 bass boat powered by Mercury, equipped with Minn Kota, Lowrance, Navionics and Power Pole, HydraWave, Healthy Battery and Tournament Saver Pro, plus $7,000 in cash. Winning 2nd Place was Kim Naquin from Houma, Louisiana with a bass weighing 10.51-pounds he caught on Saturday and weighed in during the 1 to 2 o’clock hour. For his catch he won $1,000 hourly cash, a 2013 Dodge Ram truck plus a 2014 Triton 19XS bass boat powered by Mercury, equipped with Minn Kota and Lowrance plus $2,000 cash. Daniel Sevilla from Anthony, New Mexico won 3rd Place with a catch of 10.11-pounds that he caught on Friday and weighed in during the 9 to 10 o’clock hour. Daniel won $1,000 in hourly cash and a 2014 Legend Alpha 191 bass boat powered by Mercury, equipped with Minn Kota and Lowrance and $1,000 cash. 4th Place with a weight of 9.45-pounds was Theodore Avlos from Dyer, Arkansas. Theodore caught his bass on Saturday and weighed in during the 8 to 9 o’clock hour.
For his catch he won $1,000 for 1st in the hour and an additional $8,000 for 4th overall. Mark A. Trull from Kennedy, Alabama caught the fifth heaviest bass overall in the tournament weighing 9.33-lbs. Mark weighed his fish in on Sunday during the 8 to 9 o’clock hour and took home with him $1,000 in hourly cash and a check for $6,000.
Paul “Brandon” House from Russellville, Arkansas won the elimination drawing and had the pleasure of figuring out how he was going to get his new 2014 Triton 18XS boat powered by Mercury, equipped with Minn Kota and Lowrance home with him.
Sealy Outdoors also has an Early Bird Entry incentive. For all contestants that entered early on any of the Sealy Outdoors tournaments, their name would be put in for a drawing with the lucky winner receiving a $200 gift card to Academy. The lucky winners of these were Jeremy Garner, Tyler, Texas, James Eddie Lawler, Elkhart, Texas, Nick Hollis, Clyde, Texas, Dale Drewery, Nacogdoches, Texas, and Noella McLaurin, from Vivian, Louisiana.
You do not have to be an angler to be a winner in Sealy Outdoors Big Bass Splash Tournament. You could just be a spectator. At the end of the tournament in a drawing among all contestants and spectators, a lucky spectator took home $2,500 in cash. This year’s lucky winner was Matt Doucet, from Rayne, Louisiana.
Anglers should mark their calendars now for the 28th Annual Sealy Outdoors Big Bass Splash on Lake Fork, September 19, 20, 21, 2014. Hope to see you there and always “Fish Friendly”!
A Special Thank You for the local support from Wood County Industrial Commission, City of Emory, Lake Fork Marina and Motel, Tiffany’s Restaurant, and KMOO 99.9 for all of your hard work to help make this event successful. Also, Thanks to Lake Fork Sportsman Association and Rains High School Fishing Team for providing the Live Release Boat and fish care along with running fish.
The next stop for the Big Bass Splash will be on Lake Ouachita; Mt. Ida, AR, October 12 & 13 at Mountain Harbor Resort. Visit us online www.sealyoutdoors.com or call 888.698.2591 for more information on any Big Bass Splash event. Follow us on facebook.com/BigBassSplash and Twitter @SealyOutdoors.
Sealy Outdoors will be celebrating 30 years at the 2014 Sam Rayburn Big Bass Splash. We have a lot of big things planned already, great surprises and big entertainment. It just keeps getting bigger and better at Sealy Outdoors and as Bob always says, “You Ain’s Seen Nothin’ Yet!”
The Big Bass Splash is the Richest Amateur Big Bass Fishing Tournament as featured on National Geographic. Sponsors includes: Triton Boats, Legend Boats, Mercury Marine, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Minn Kota, Lowrance, Okuma, Tournament Saver Pro, Power Pole, Navionics, Healthy Battery, River2Sea, Texas Fish & Game, HydroWave, TH Marine, K2 Coolers, Vicious Fishing, Amphibia Sports, The Original Rod Sox, Tour Star Products, and FishingWorld.com