Bluebird skies settled over Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees on day two of the 2013 Federation National Championship in Grove, Okla. Fourteen TBF anglers advance to battle it out for those national titles and all the glory. It was down to ounces as each division walked their anglers across stage and 14 elite did just what they came here to do.
Overall tournament leader and Southwest Division Champion boater, Mark Daniels Jr., from Fairfield, Calif., caught a limit of bass weighing 24lbs 10ounces making his two day total 43lbs. “Grand Lake today proved to me the quality of fish you normally read about,” Daniels’s said. This is his first appearance at the national contest. “I’m extremely excited, this is the opportunity of a lifetime; I’ve been working for this all my life.”
Daniels’s blew a starter on day giving him only three hours of practice and on day two he tore his lower unit on a rock pile in Horsecreek leaving him all but familiar in his first meeting with Grand Lake. “Thank goodness Ranger Boats provides these boats or I literally would be “up a creek without water”.” On the final practice day Daniels’s settled into a pattern that’s taken him into today. “My co-angler caught a 7-pounder on the third practice day. It opened my eyes. I was doing what I needed to be doing, in the spots I needed to be doing it.”
In second overall and Southern Division Champion boater, Robbie Robinson from Mobile, Ala., weighed 18lbs 11ounces to combine with his 27lb 7ounce leader bag from day for a total 42lbs 2ounces. “I gambled out there to today,” Robinson said. “I left some there, glad it didn’t cost me.” Robinson’s throwing a spinner bait but plans to switch it up tomorrow, bait and water. “I’ll cover all new water. It’s something I do best; it’s a confidence thing.” He does have two sweet pockets he’ll revisit. “I lost two 5lb bass, my only two lost so far. I’m going back for revenge.”
In third overall and Central Division Champion boater, Dylan Hayes from Fort Smith, Ark., caught 18lbs 13ounces making his two day total 38lbs 9ounces. “It was a lot slower today, I just couldn’t get it going,” Hayes said. “Some time after 1pm, I pulled into a spot I’d never seen before and pulled three big ones; it’s the luck of the draw.”
In fourth overall and Mid-Atlantic Division Champion boater, Ed Loughran from Mechanicsville, Va., caught 21lbs 10ounces making his tournament total 38lbs 2ounces. Last year, the BFL All-American was held on Loughran’s home lake, this year he’ll face Nickajack Lake and try to settle up some history. “Two years ago, I lost out for the BFL All-American there at our TBF championship; hopefully, I can go back and get a little revenge.”
Fifth overall and Northwest Division Champion boater, Jason Hickey from Weiser, Id., caught a limit weighing 18lbs 5ounces making his two day total 38lbs. “I know everyone’s working hard, but I’m really working hard,” Hickey said. “I’m catching fish on new water every day. I’m going to catch them out there, if not, I’ve lost before, many times.”
The top 14 anglers, seven on the boater and co-angler sides, automatically earn spots in the 2013 BFL-All American to be held this summer on Nickajack Lake in Tennessee. Tomorrow, the top boater and co-angler will walk away champions and also win berths in the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup, plus some heavy jewelry. The national boater will also receive the $100,000 “Living the Dream” prize package, including cash and prizes, fully paid entry fees into the FLW tour, travel funds and use of a wrapped Ranger Boat and Chevrolet truck for the year.
The final day will be held in conjunction with an FLW Tour event being held across the state line on Beaver Lake. The weigh-in will be held at the FLW Outdoor’s Expo downtown at the John Q Hammons Convention Center in Rogers, Ark., and streamed live on www.flwlive.com. For updates, follow TBF on www.BassFederation.com, and www.Facebook.com/TheBassFederation or follow us on Twitter @bassfederation.