Travis retains TBF Championship lead

North Carolina native nets top spot on Lake Wylie

By David Hart – 25.Apr.2008 – EDITORS NOTE: Statement added by TBF President/CEO Robert Cartlidge

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – One of the top two anglers after the second day of TBF Championship competition traveled across the country. The other practically stepped out his front door. Brian Travis, of Conover, N.C., knows Lake Wylie as well as he knows his own living room, a fact he credits for his first-place standing after Friday’s weigh-in. The other, Ron Hobbs, Jr., of Orting, Wash., spent seven hours in airplanes and airports to get to a lake he had never seen until the official practice day on Wednesday.

Travis, the hometown favorite, brought in another heavy sack of fish to stay in the lead after the second day of The Bass Federation Championship. He continued his pattern of running from one spot to another, racking up a five-bass limit that weighed a respectable 16 pounds, 6 ounces for a two-day total of 31 pounds, 4 ounces. He credits his strong showing to his intimate knowledge of the lake. He placed second in a tournament on the lake in early March and won a BFL a few weeks after that.

“I think I can catch 10 or 12 pounds tomorrow. That might be enough to win,” said Travis, a shift supervisor for a freight company. “I have plenty of places left that still have fish, and I’m not too worried about weekend boat traffic.”

Milkman delivers

Travis is nearly 4 pounds in front of Hobbs, a milkman who makes door-to-door deliveries. He never saw Lake Wylie until the official practice day on Wednesday, the day before the start of the tournament. What he saw on that single day of practice, however, gave him a big boost to his confidence.

“I saw a fish on a bed, and then another and then a couple more as I was trying to figure out where to start. I think I’m a pretty decent sight-fisherman because that’s what I do back home, so I felt pretty good,” he said.

Hobbs, a member of Evergreen Bass Club, brought a limit to the stage of the Charlotte Convention Center that weighed 13 pounds, 11 ounces on the first day. On Friday, he did even better with a 13-pound, 15-ounce limit for a two-day total of 27-10. Like Travis, he feels good about catching a heavy bag on the final day, but he knows he has plenty of ground to make up. Still, he left plenty of quality fish in the water and he knows of at least three big bass on beds.

Washington, D.C. angler Bobby Williams caught five bass on the second day that weighed 12-3 for a two-day total of 25 pounds, 6 ounces. That resulted in a tie with Hollidaysburg, Pa., angler Tom Belinda.

Federation officials originally announced Williams as the winner from the Mid-Atlantic Division, but a review of the rules later in the evening determined that Belinda, not Williams, should advance to the final day. TBF championship tournament director Robert Cartlidge explained that in the event of a tie after the second day, the angler with the heaviest bag overall moves on to the final day. Belinda brought 13 pounds, 15 ounces to the scales on Friday.

“I understand the rules and I accept the final decision,” said Williams. “I’m disappointed, but I strongly believe in the integrity of the TBF and I don’t want to do anything to harm the organization’s reputation. I also don’t want anyone to think I was disqualified for any reason, because that’s not the case. I simply agreed to step down based on the rules.”

A similar tie among co-anglers also resulted in a change in the final day’s line-up for the co-angler division.

Belinda has a half-pound lead over fourth-place angler Robert Crino of South Royalton, Vermont, who is representing the Eastern Division. He has a two-day weight of 24-14. Don Owens, of Ponca City, Okla., is in fifth with 23-14, and Greenfield, IN angler Terry McWilliams is in sixth with 20-15.

Here Comes The Judge

Bill Roberts, who represents the Mid-Atlantic Division as a co-angler, brought a limit to the stage both days and is paired with Travis on the final day. His two-day total weight is 21-11. Despite the pairing, he’s not entirely confident about his ability to pull out a win.

“He’s going to be sight-fishing, so there might be a lot of down time while he tries to catch a bedded bass. There’s not a lot I can do about it, but I’ll just do what I’ve been doing and I hope I can put another limit in the boat,” said Roberts, a federal judge from Fairfax, Virginia. He qualified for the 2007 Forrest Wood Cup through the Ranger Owner’s Tournament held on Kerr Reservoir last year. “I didn’t do so well, so I would really like another chance.”

Ben Gross of Kingman, AZ, is in second place in the co-angler division with 21-8; Mayflower, AR angler Hoyt Akins has a two-day total of 20-11 and is in third; the fourth-place angler is Craig Fredrychowski of Lexington, KY with 19-4; Big Bend, WI angler Jim Jones, who was originally announced as the fifth-place co-angler, was replaced by Brian Belke, of New Lenox, IL after it was determined that Belke’s 11-7 sack on the second day put him ahead of Jones. Tim Austin, the Vermont Bass Federation youth director, is in sixth.

All 12 of the anglers fishing the final day advance to the $1 million BFL All-American, held on Arkansas’ Lake Hamilton in May. The stakes are somewhat higher for the first place anglers, however. The winners of the boater and co-angler division advance to the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup, held on Lake Murray August 14 through 17. The winner of the TBF Championship boater division also wins the TBF Living the Dream Package, which includes $10,000 in cash, sponsor merchandise, entry fees for either the Wal Mart FLW Tour or the Wal Mart FLW Series, the use of a wrapped Chevy tow vehicle and a wrapped boat, and expense money.

The top 12 anglers will launch from Copperhead Island Park at 6:25 for the final day of competition. The weigh-in starts at 3 p.m. at the Charlotte Convention Center and will be held in conjunction with the National Guard Open.

EDITORS NOTE: Statement to the membership by TBF President Robert Cartlidge

“Errors” sometimes happen in anything we do in life. No one dislikes them more than I do.
Due to a slight difference between our written championship rules and the coding in the TBF tournament software, two anglers were inaccurately announced as progressing.
Obviously corrections had to be made, official standings published and the correct anglers placed.
Our anglers did nothing wrong. In fact, both of the displaced anglers told me personally that they felt the written rules must be followed, even though they knew it would keep them from advancing. Bobby Williams and Jim Jones, (the displaced anglers) gained an admirer today for the way they handled themselves. Federation members nationwide should be proud that they have these two anglers in their ranks. Honesty, integrity and doing the “right” thing, are traits that these two TBF members plainly possess. I deeply apologize for any embarrassment that this issue may have caused them.
I was certainly dismayed over it myself. However, written tournament rules are in place to guide, shield and protect all of our anglers, including those due to rightly advance under the rules. To work properly for everyone they must be adhered to. The title of tournament director carries with it a responsibility. For this event, I serve in that role, it is my job to make sure EVERY aspect of the program functions the way it should and in this case it did, the rules were followed to the letter.
Robert L. Cartlidge

Local angler on top in TBF National Championship

Travis’ 14-14 limit leads TBF National Championship

David Hart

Brian Travis

Brian Travis

If there is such a thing as a home-water curse, you wouldn’t know it after Conover, N.C., angler Brian Travis brought his limit up to the scales on the first day of The Bass Federation National Championship on Lake Wylie.

Travis, a second-shift supervisor for a freight company, has the luxury of spending mornings on the waters around his home before he punches the clock in the afternoon. He takes full advantage of that free time. It showed Thursday with his five-bass limit that tipped the scales at 14 pounds, 14 ounces. Although he calls Lake Norman his home water, Travis placed first in a tournament on Wylie in early March, and he took second in a BFL event soon after that.

“It’s my favorite lake. I know places that very few other anglers fish, and I never really did have to compete with other boats for the bass I was targeting today,” he said.

Travis, fishing in the Southern Division, put forth an exhaustive effort, hitting an estimated 200 different spots on the first day alone. He was sight-fishing for bedded bass, something many other anglers did on the first day. Travis figured he caught 10 bass total and didn’t bother to cast to dozens more. His only concern is that a limit of the fish he left behind won’t add up to the weight he brought in today. Still, Travis feels good about Friday, but he’s not so sure about Saturday, if he makes it that far.

“Everything can change on Saturday when the local anglers come out. I’m not the only one who knows about these fish, but if they don’t get worked over real hard, I feel pretty confident,” he added. “I just have to make it to the third day.”

Erickson second

Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson

Ironically, the second-place angler after day one has never been on Wylie until the official practice day, just one day prior to the start of the tournament. Jeff Erickson, a member of Phoenix-based Saguaro Bassmasters, felt at home on Wylie just the same thanks to clear water and bedding bass.

“I’m used to sight-fishing for bass in real clear water, so I was very comfortable fishing on Wylie. I was able to fish to my strengths,” he said. “But these fish were definitely harder to catch than the bass I sight-fish for back home.”

Erickson, representing the Western Division, brought a 14-pound, 8-ounce limit to the scales today and he feels good about his ability to catch another limit, although many of the bass he targeted with finesse baits never did bite. In some cases, he spent 45 minutes or more on a single fish before giving up and moving on to another.

Hoskinson third

Greg Hoskinson

Greg Hoskinson

The third-place angler Greg Hoskinson is 14 ounces behind Travis, but he is also in the Southern Division. If he doesn’t move up he won’t fish on Saturday, even if he brings a heavy sack to the scales on Friday. Only the top anglers in each regional division advance to the final day of competition.

Rest of the best

Osage Beach, Mo., angler Brian Maloney is first in the Central Division and fourth overall with a five-bass limit that weighed 13 pounds, 14 ounces. Jim Gildea of Weston, Mass., leads the Eastern Division with 10 pounds, 7 ounces, and Washington, D.C., resident Robert Williams is on top of the Mid-Atlantic Division with a 13-pound, 3-ounce limit. Terry McWilliams of Indiana is in first place in the Northern Division with five bass that weighed 11 pounds, 14 ounces.

Shawver leads co-anglers

Jerry Shawver

Jerry Shawver

Jerry Shawver is in first place in the co-angler division with a 12-pound, 3-ounce limit. He credits his boat partner for his heavy sack.

“My last fish came within the last five minutes of the day after my partner pointed it out to me. I wouldn’t have caught it if it wasn’t for him,” said Shawver of St. Augustine, Fla.

At stake

The stakes are high for the 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers taking part in this year’s TBF Championship. The winner from each of the Federation’s six regions in the boater and co-angler division earns a berth in the $1 million BFL All-American, and the top boater and co-angler overall wins a slot in the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup. The winner of the boater division also wins the TBF Living The Dream Package, which includes $10,000 in cash, sponsor merchandise, the use of a wrapped Chevy truck and Ranger boat, entry fees for either the FLW Tour or Series and travel expense money.

Anglers launch from Copperhead Island Park at 6:30 Friday and Saturday. Friday’s weigh-in takes place at 4 at the Charlotte Convention Center and the final weigh-in starts at 3 and is held in conjunction with the National Guard Open, also at the Charlotte Convention Center.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 14, 2008) — The best of the nation’s TBF club anglers are headed to Lake Wylie near Charlotte, N.C., for The Bass Federation National Championship presented by the National Guard April 24-26, where they will complete for berths into two of the sport’s most coveted events — the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup and the $1 million BFL All-American.

The winning boater and co-angler at the TBF National Championship will automatically be entered into the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17 where they will compete for as much as $1 million in the Boater Division and $50,000 in the Co-angler Division. The top six boaters and co-anglers from each TBF division will also be given a berth into the 2008 All-American presented by Chevy on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark., May 29-31. With top awards of $140,000 in the Boater Division and $70,000 in the Co-angler Division, the All-American has served as a launching pad for many professional fishing careers.

In addition to incredibly lucrative championship berths, the TBF National Championship will also award $10,000 and a “Living the Dream” prize package to the first-place boater. The package includes use of a “Living the Dream” wrapped Chevy truck and Ranger boat powered either by Evinrude or Yamaha, sponsor merchandise and entry fees into the winner’s choice of either the 2009 Wal-Mart FLW Tour or Wal-Mart FLW Series to compete against the world’s top bass anglers.

Anglers from six nationwide TBF divisions competed during 2007 and qualified through a series of TBF club, TBF state and TBF divisional tournaments to compete in the no-entry-fee TBF National Championship.

“Being named the TBF Champion is a culmination of many years of dreams and hard work,” said David Simmons, FLW Outdoors and TBF programs manager. “It means you are the top club angler in the country. TBF Championship anglers are not only fishing for personal pride and rewards, they are also representing their respective states and divisions. We are looking forward to an incredible tournament.”

The TBF National Championship presented by the National Guard begins Wednesday, April 23, with an official practice day, and competition begins Thursday at 6:30 a.m. with takeoff from Copperhead Island Park located at 15200 Soldier Road in Charlotte. Copperhead Island Park will also host takeoff Friday at 6:30 a.m. and Saturday at 6:25 a.m. Anglers will weigh in Thursday and Friday at 4 p.m. at the Charlotte Convention Center located at 501 S. College St. in Charlotte. Saturday’s weigh-in will begin at 3 p.m. at the Charlotte Convention Center followed by the Wal-Mart FLW Tour National Guard Open weigh-in at 4 p.m. FLW Tour anglers will return to the convention center Sunday for their final weigh-in at 4 p.m.

Prior to the weigh-ins Saturday and Sunday, FLW Outdoors® and the TBF will host a free Family Fun Zone and outdoor show at the Charlotte Convention Center from noon to 6 p.m. each day. The Family Fun Zone offers fans a chance to meet their favorite TBF and FLW Tour anglers face-to-face and review the latest products from Berkley, Lowrance, Ranger, Evinrude, Yamaha and other sponsors while children are treated to giveaways, fishing themed games and rides like the Ranger Boat simulator. Saturday and Sunday children 14 and under visiting the Family Fun Zone will also receive a free rod and reel combo while supplies last. On Sunday, April 27 during the final 4 p.m. weigh-in, one lucky member of the audience will win a new Ranger boat. Admission is free and you must be present to win.

The entire field of 40 TBF boaters and 40 co-anglers will compete Thursday and Friday for an accumulated two-day weight. The top boater and co-angler from each of the TBF’s six divisions will advance to Saturday’s competition, where they will continue fishing, carrying their weight from the first round into the final round. The winners will be determined Saturday by the heaviest three-day accumulated weight.

Coverage of the TBF National Championship presented by the National Guard will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on June 8 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast in Canada on WFN (World Fishing Network) and to more than 429 million households in the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East through a distribution agreement with Matchroom Sport, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. The program airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time in most markets. Check local listings for times in your area.

Visit the FLW Outdoors Media Center at for additional information and photos.

Washington “travels” to back to back TBF Western Division Championship titles

Chris Lambert wins the individual race and the Castrol Maximum Preformer Award.

Flashback…2007 Washington was the host state for the 2007 Western Divisional Championship on Pot holes Lake, the held the division champions cup for a full year….and liked it…..they had no intentions of giving it up. Mission accomplished.

The TBF state team from Washington proved this year that they are tops in the west again with a total three-day weight of 353 pounds and 5 ounces. They accomplished the feat over 1400 miles away at Lake Havasu, AZ. About as far away from home as they can get in the western division.

“I and all the members of TBF in the state of Washington are so very proud of our team, stated Gary Morris, the Washington TBF state President, back to back division championship titles is a dream come true, there is a lot of great fishermen in the west, so I know that the guys worked hard to earn it.” Morris went on to say this about the tournament Champion Chris Lambert from Olympia, Washington, “ Chris is a good guy, a long time federation member, always happy, never complains, he just a good guy and a great fisherman. He’s someone you never hear a complaint about and he is an angler that is definitely has the skills to move into the FLW tour’s pro ranks someday.”

Chris Lambert

Chris Lambert

Lambert who won the individual standings and the Castrol Maximum Performer cash award. Lead his team and will fish the 2009 Federation National Championship as a boater, second place angler for Washington who will go as a non-boater is David Kromm.

The Washington TBF Team

In the state team standings, finishing in second place forty pounds behind Washington with 313-02 was the team from California. Anchored by Los Angles angler Troy Lindner, and John Albidrez from Fresno who will both advance.

Colorado, in their first TBF divisional, had a slow start but moved up each day to finish strong in the third place spot with 265-04. Colorado TBF state President Steve Way had this to say about their first TBF divisional, “We are very excited to be able to send a State Team to the Western Divisional. March of 2007 many of the anglers in Colorado made the decision to form a new partnership with FLW/TBF and we are glad that we did. We are thrilled to have finished so well. I think that it is just starting to sink in that we are the first team to represent the State of Colorado with this new Partnership. We all strongly feel that we have great support with FLW/TBF for the Federation level Angler, something that many of us have not felt for a long time. This past year for Colorado TBF has seen some test and failures but we feel that we are putting together a strong organization. If we continue to grow at our current rate, we could easily double the membership this year that we had at the end of last year. The great finish by our anglers can only help.”

Rounding out the State team standings were; The host state team from Arizona

Washington State Champs

Washington State Champs

finished in fourth with 263-05, Idaho and Utah wound up tied in the fifth spot with 261-02, Seventh place was the team from Wyoming and finishing in eight was the new TBF Montana team, who fished two angler down all week with only ten team members at 176-09.

“The members of Montana’s first TBF Divisional team had a great time at Lake Havasu, we did compete with only ten anglers instead of the twelve allowed but our guys fished hard.” Said Montana TBF state President George Riedel. “We are already looking forward to competing next year with a full team against the other states in the Western Division. We want to prove that there are more than trout fishermen in Montana (but the trout do eat well). We would like to invite any and all our neighbors to join us this summer for some world class smallmouth fishing here in Montana–see out website for our tournament schedule —

Under the TBF format, not one, but two anglers from each TBF state advance to the 2009 TBF Federation National Championship, Presented by the National Guard. From Washington will be Lambert and Kromm, Lindner and Albidrez from California. Colorado will send Sam Heckman, Fountian, CO., and Matt Massey, Lakewood, CO. Idaho anglers advancing are Brandon Palanuk (Rathdrum, ID) and Brandon Craner, (Filer, ID). Top Utah anglers were Joe Debrucque who lives just across the line in Grand Junction, CO. and Robert Knight from Salt Lake City. Wyoming anglers advancing are two state presidents. Past Wyoming state president Mike Bozner, Rock Springs, WY and current state president Eric Lippincott, Daniel, WY. Montana anglers earning their spots are Sean Andrachick, Marion, MT and Don Collins, Kalispell, MT.

2009 TBF National Champ Western Qualifiers

2009 TBF National Champ Western Qualifiers

TBF would like to send out a special thanks to members of the Arizona Bass Federation of TBF, Dave and Brenda Hagan and all the crew who hosted this event. The Arizona “team” done a great job, the Federation is thankful for people like you.

For more details about how the Western Division anglers fared today and their outlook for tomorrows final day check out our partners website at