MANY, Louisiana -- While individual anglers are back out on Toledo Bend Friday competing for solo tournament honors, congratulations go out now to the Arkansas collective that won the team championship of the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Central Regional at Toledo Bend on Thursday.
The 20 Arkansas anglers (10 each in the boater and non-boater divisions) caught 93 bass over two days for a total weight of 200 pounds, 8 ounces. That provided them a comfortable 13-plus pound margin over the second-place squad from Louisiana and 46-plus pounds over Missouri, which placed third in team scoring.
The Arkansas squad won a $5,000 cash prize for placing first in team totals. Louisiana collected $3,000 and Missouri $2,000. Teams from eight different states competed this week, including groups from Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, New Mexico and Colorado.
Members of the victorious Arkansas contingent include Josh Ray, Don Douglas IV, Dalton Ross, Brandon Lee, Drew Tabor, Dustin Huggins, Jim Martin, Blade Batchelor, Brian Crecelius and Ty Bowman on the boater side; and Brian Choate, James Boyett, Joe Combs, Jared Kyzer, Clint Mccance, Brian Padgett, Mike Komp, Steve Brecko, Gentry Hagler and Hunter Butler in the non-boater field.
Four Arkansans remain in the hunt for individual honors in the boater division here on Toledo Bend. They include Ray, who was in fourth place with a 20-1 total weight when anglers blasted off from Cypress Bend Park at 7 a.m. Friday. Douglas is in seventh place with 18-12, Ross is ninth 18-1 and Lee is 12th with 17-2.
All are within striking distance of leader Albert Collins of Nacogdoches, Texas, who’s totaled 22-11over two days on this famed fishery straddling the Louisiana/Texas border.
On the non-boater side, Choate leads the Arkansas individual effort in ninth place with 8-14. Boyett is 12th with 8-1, Combs is 14th with 7-10 and Kyzer is 16th with 7-5.
Trace Day of Denham Springs, La. led non-boaters with 13-6 heading into the final day of fishing.
There are 22 anglers remaining in both divisions of the tournament. The top individual boater after Friday’s final-round weigh-in will earn $5,000 and the leading non-boater will win $2,500.
The third and final weigh-in of the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Central Regional will begin at 3 p.m. Friday at Cypress Bend Park. Follow the action live on Bassmaster.com.
The tournament is being hosted by the Louisiana Office of Tourism, Toledo Bend Lake Country, Sabine River Authority, DeSoto Parish Tourist Commission and Vernon Parish Tourism Commission.
This is the final B.A.S.S. Nation Regional of the season. The B.A.S.S. Nation Championship will be held at Pickwick Lake in Alabama on Nov. 11-13. Three anglers in that title event will earn berths in the 2021 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic when it’s held on Lake Ray Roberts in Fort Worth, Texas on March 19-21.