The South Carolina Bass Federation hosted the 2017 TBF National Semifinal District 2 event November 4-5 on Lake Murray in Chaplin, S.C. The Forrest Wood Cup Pros were among the many visitors to the legendary Lake Murray this year. A lake that consistently boasts successful tournaments and heavy weights was in its transition stage, however, which made fishing tough for the NSF anglers. Although the weights were down, 52 boats brought the fight to Lake Murray for state bragging rights, deeper payouts, trophies, Ranger Cup and Evinrude contingencies plus coveted spots in the 2018 Federation National Championship.
A total of $18,440 with 118.5% payback was awarded in cash and prizes. The top ten boaters and co-anglers divvied up $11,700 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 Etec Evinrude).
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.
After two days of competition, David Kneece from Gilbert, S.C. would be named the 2017 National Semi-Final Champion boater. Kneece took the lead on day one with 13.16 pounds. He topped that with 12.95 pounds on day two for 26.11 total pounds for the win. He received a $2,600 payday and will advance to the national event representing his state.
Second place boater, Brian Fritts, will also advance to the national contest as the top North Carolina boater. Fritts finished just .10 pounds behind Kneece with a tournament total of 26.01 pounds. He walked away with a $1,510 paycheck.
The National Semi-Final Champion co-angler was Preston Rikard of Lexington, S.C., coming out of third to take the title. Rikard weighed 16.63 total pounds, earned $1,300 for his win and will advance to nationals representing his state
The second place co-angler, also narrowly missed it in a close battle for first. North Carolina’s, David Ford, had a two day total of 15.34 pounds to advance to the national championship.
In one of the closest state pride battles, South Carolina would come out on top for the District 2 State Pride Award with 82.97 pounds to North Carolina’s 79.31 pounds. The award is determined by adding the weights of the top four boaters and co-anglers from each state selected prior to the event.
The National Semi-Finals format rolled out last year replacing the divisional events and state team line-ups. TBF anglers can now advance to a close-to-home NSF event in one of two ways. Active state clubs can advance their top two anglers, in addition, the top 10% of state event participation or a minimum of 12 anglers per state qualify, whichever is greater. The new format has been highly successful with state participation and membership up across the nation.
The event went well thanks to the South Carolina Bass Federation for hosting, as well as, TBF’s Sponsors: FLW, Ranger, Cabela’s, Lowrance, MinnKota, Humminbird, Evinrude, Berkley and Power Pole.