It was an exciting weekend on Lake Fork for 2,440 anglers that came to this great reservoir to fish the 29th Annual Big Bass Splash Presented by Sealy Outdoors. The anglers could not have asked for better weather with a slight breeze and lower temperatures. Lake Fork did not produce the number of trophy bass it is known for, but as we all know, that is why it is called fishing and not catching.
Anglers did report catching good numbers and large bass that did not quite touch the 24” mark or went over the lower end of the slot of 16”. There were a couple of anglers that visited with our game wardens that said they did not know there was a 16” to 24” slot on Lake Fork. These anglers were given a written explanation of the state law and educated at their own cost. As all anglers know, whether fishing a tournament or just for recreation, all rules and state laws should be learned and adhered to before the first cast. KMOO radio station announced in almost every broadcast of the hourly updates the slot on Lake Fork and that all anglers should measure their catches before coming to the scales. Tonya and Kimberly of KMOO 99.9 FM Radio did an excellent job on informing anglers of the hourly updated weights and the rules and regulations of Lake Fork.
Over the course of the three-day tournament there were 818 bass weighed in for a total weight of 1,510.56-pounds. With fifteen places being paid per hour and added bonus card hours and t-shirt hours, many anglers were not only satisfied with a great weekend of fishing but left with a lot of extra cash in their pockets.
Through the course of the tournament, Lake Fork and anglers only produced eleven bass over the 24” slot. This made many of the anglers that brought 2-pound average of bass to the scales happy, increasing their pay.
Bubba Sadler from Gladewater, Texas brought the heaviest bass of the tournament to the scales, weighing 9.48-pounds. Bubba weighed his winning fish on Saturday in the 8 to 9 o’clock hour. For his catch he won a 2015 Triton 20TRX powered by Mercury, 2015 Ram Truck plus $7,000 in cash, plus $2,000 for the bonus hour.
Weighing in the second heaviest bass of the tournament with a weight of 8.84-pounds was Stephen Fatherree from Alba, Texas. Stephen weighed his bass in during the 9 to 10 o’clock hour on Saturday. For his catch he won a 2015 Triton 19TRX powered by Mercury, 2015 Ram Truck plus $2,000 in cash plus $1,000 for the hourly. Our office and Sealy Outdoors office has had numerous calls of protest in regards to Stephen being a guide on Lake Fork and not eligible to fish the tournament. True, Stephen is a guide on Lake Fork, but they need to read the rules. The rules clearly state any guide on the lake that has had a compensated guide trip within 90 days is ineligible to compete in the tournament. Mr. Fatherree had not taken a guide trip beyond that time, making him as eligible as any other angler in the tournament, as was proven in the polygraph test that he passed.
The third heaviest bass of the tournament to come to the scales weighed 8.76 pounds. This bass was caught by James Williams from Jonesboro, Louisiana and weighed in during the 7 to 8 o’clock hour on Saturday. For his catch he won a 2015 Triton 18TRX powered by Mercury, plus $1,000 in cash, plus $1,000 for the hourly.
The fourth heaviest bass of the tournament was weighed in on Sunday during the 7 to 8 o’clock hour. This winner was caught by Donald Beleck, III from Laurel, Mississippi and weighed 8.51-pounds. For his catch he won $8,000 plus $1,000 for the hourly.
Scott Davis from Bossier City, Louisiana weighed in the fifth heaviest bass of the tournament winning him $6,000 in cash, plus $1,000 for the hourly. Scott weighed in his 8.05-pound bass during the 11 to 12 o’clock hour on Friday.
Tony Climer from Mesquite, Texas caught the heaviest bass under the slot winning him not only $900 in the hour, but the bonus cash for his bass of $2,500.
As in all of Sealy Outdoors Big Bass Tournaments, all the cash and prizes are guaranteed. The exact weights of 2.50-pounds were not brought to the scales during the course of the tournament. In an open drawing of all the entries $5,000 was awarded to Phillip Hope from Kaufman, Texas, Jeremy Davis from Benton, Arkansas, and Robert Dennison from St Louis, Missouri. In the Elimination Drawing, Clayton Belanger from Orange, Texas won a 2015 Triton 189TRX powered by Mercury.
For the Little Anglers Division results, visit sealyoutdoors.com.
Anglers can now mark their calendars for the 30th Annual Sealy Outdoors Big Bass Splash to be held on Lake Fork September 17, 18, 19, 2016. This being Bob’s 30th Anniversary, 1st place in each hour will be $3,000. This means if you catch one in the bonus t-shirt hour, it will be worth $6,000. Good luck and we hope to see you on Lake Fork “The Big Bass Capital of Texas”.
For more information and the daily hourly weights, go to www.sealyoutdoors.com.
To learn more about Sealy Outdoors Tournaments and schedules you can contact Nicole Sealy at [email protected] or call 409-382-3876 or 888-698-2591.