Kentucky and Tennessee Advance Anglers to Nationals
The Kentucky Bass Federation played host to the first TBF National Semifinal contest for District 3 October 15-16 on the Ohio River in Carrollton, Ky. The new TBF National Semi-Finals program pits top grassroots anglers from each state in a “close to home” weekend event with neighboring states for significant cash prizes and advancements.
A total of $19,400 with 118% payback in cash and prizes, National Semi-Final qualifying jerseys, trophies, champion titles and slots in the national championship were awarded in the boater and co-angler divisions. The top 11 boaters and co-anglers in the 55 boat field divvied up $12,375 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 Evinrude).
Stingy waters on the Ohio River only allowed for three limits on both days. Even though anglers struggled, they struggled across the board, and the tournament would have its winners whether they brought in 30 pounds or three. The numbers on the scale don’t affect the payout or the advancement opportunities either, so ultimately, “a win is a win”.
In the end, David Sullivan from Kentucky used his local knowledge to fish both the upper and lower pools of the Ohio River to edge out the boater field with 8.6 pounds. Sullivan’s two day total paid big. He received a $2,750 cash prize, a slot in the 2017 Federation National Championship, $500 Ranger Cup award for being the highest finishing Ranger Cup qualified angler and the $1,000 Evinrude award for being the winning boater running a 2012 or newer Evinrude E-Tec. Talk about “a win is a win”.
Eighteen year old, Trevor Windgassen from Kentucky came in second overall with 7.03 pounds for a $1,700 paycheck. Mike Boggs, also from Kentucky, caught 7 pounds to finish third overall and walk away $850 dollars richer.
Tennessee angler, Jerry Gibson, had a tournament total of 6.13 pounds to edge out teammate, Ben Mays, with 6.2 pounds. Gibson will advance to nationals being the highest finishing boater representing Tennessee.
On the co-angler side, Kentucky’s Brian Bemis, weighed in 6.15 pounds to claim the title and receive a $1,375 cash prize. Bemis will advance to nationals as the top finishing co-angler representing Kentucky.
The fourth qualifying spot would go to Jim Nygard with 6.10 pounds. He will advance to the national event as the highest finishing co-angler representing the volunteer state.
The Kentucky Bass Federation made the final sweep taking home bragging rights and the first District 3 State Pride Award with 21.8 pounds. The award is determined by adding the weights of the top four boaters and co-anglers from each state, which are selected prior to the event.
In District 3, top TBF anglers competed for the chance to advance to the 2017 Federation National Championship and to win enough cash to travel to the spring event. Anglers qualify for the semi-finals in one of two ways. Active state clubs in good standing can send their top two anglers directly to the semi-final event, in addition, the top 10% of state event participation or a minimum of 12 anglers per state qualify, whichever is greater.
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. In the new NSF rules, a co-angler can also move up as a boater if his/her weight totals more than the state boater’s weight.
There was a big fish pot sponsored by Earl Floyd Ford, Carrollton, Ky. Boaters fished for $300 and co-anglers fished for $200 each day. Day one big fish winners were Windgassen with 2.13 pounds and co-angler, David Crabtree, with 4 pounds from Tennessee. On day two, the winning boater was again Kentucky’s, Windgssen with 2.4 pounds and co-angler, Barry Ward, from Kentucky with a 4.13 pound beauty.
Although the fishing was rough, the hospitality from Misty Wheeler and the Carroll County Tourism was bar none. The 116 anglers were provided an outstanding catered meal at the banquet. She also had free ice available and hand delivered breakfast sandwiches to each boat as we prepared to launch. The tournament co-sponsor, Earl Floyd Ford, provided each angler with a T-shirt and donated $1,000 for the big fish pots.
The new event format went well also thanks to the Kentucky Bass Federation who hosted the event and all their support from TBF’s sponsors; FLW, Ranger, Cabela’s, Lowrance, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Evinrude, Berkley and Power Pole.