The California Bass Federation played host to the first TBF National Semifinal contest for District 23 and the last to wrap up the 2016 TBF National Semi-Final Series. The contest was held February 18-19 on Lake Havasu in Lake Havasu City, Ca. 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.
The anglers were greeted with beautiful weather going into practice but by Saturday the forecast called for rain and 20mph winds with gusts up to 30mph. Fortunately, the weather laid down a bit as 24 boats launched from Lake Havasu Marina with overcast skies.
On day one, Charlie Crawford, from Arizona commanded a solid lead on the boater’s side with a limit of bass weighing 18.02 pounds. Right behind him were Arizona anglers, Max Hernandez with a limit weighing 17.78 pounds and Chris Cook with 13.68 pounds. In fourth and leading the California boaters, was George Fedor with 11.91 pounds.
Richard Vizcarra from Arizona led the co-angler side with a limit of bass weighing 11.31 pounds. The California leader was Aaron Sok-Jung Yun with two fish totaling 7.31 pounds.
After two days of competition, Charlie Crawford held on to the lead to win the 2017 District 23 NSF event. Crawford caught four fish weighing 11.39 pounds to make his two day total 29.41 pounds. He received a $1,690 paycheck and a slot in the 2017 Federation National Championship.
George Fedor came in second overall and was the highest finishing California boater. Fedor was also the only boater to catch a limit both days for a two day total of 25.44 pounds. He scored a $870 paycheck for his two days of work and will also advance to the national event.
On the co-angler side, Robin Oh of California came from behind to win with 20.42 pounds ousting day one leader, Vizcarra of Arizona who had 15.20 pounds. Both anglers will advance as the top co-angler’s representing their respective states.
The Arizona Bass Federation made the final sweep taking home bragging rights and the first District 23 State Pride Award with 78.13 total 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.
A total of $9,480 with 131.5% 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 four boaters and co-anglers in the 24 boat field divvied up $5,400 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).
In District 23, 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.
The new event format went well thanks to its hosts, the California Bass Federation and all their support from TBF’s sponsors; FLW, Ranger, Cabela’s, Lowrance, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Evinrude, Berkley and Power Pole.