Submitted by: Nick Angiulo

The TBF New Jersey Bass Federation, celebrating its 35TH anniversary, opened up its 2008 tournament season in fine style at the May 4, 2008 event held on the Northern Chesapeake/Susquehanna Flats. This event produced some heavy weights in both the Boater and Co-Angler Divisions and some close competition. In all, the Federation anglers hit the seemingly never-ending expanse of rivers, bays and creeks on a pleasant early Spring day marked by early clouds followed by bright sun and breezy winds in search of the ever-challenging 15-inch or larger bass.

Boater Division

Capturing first place in the Boater Division in impressive style was Doug Peabody. Doug, who hails from Brick, New Jersey, and is a member of the Limiters, posted the victory by bringing a five-fish limit to the scales weighing a whopping 19.38 pounds, which included two fish over five pounds. Doug indicated that he fished in an area he has fished in previous years in the Sassafras River, and, even though he only managed one fish in practice there, believed that there were fish to be caught in that location. On the morning of the tournament, he pulled in and began throwing a Rattletrap bait on the inside edge of the weed line. Fifteen minutes later he had two good keepers and caught the rest of his weight by 9:00 a.m. Included in this catch was one largemouth weighing 5.46 pounds and another weighing 5.28 pounds. Doug stated that this was his second-ever Federation win, with the other win also on the Flats. He wished to thank all of his club mates for all of their help. For his Boater Division victory, he received $1,170.

Finishing in second place, more than one-half pound behind was Dave Frost, Peabody’s club mate. Frost, from North Haledon, New Jersey also weighed in a hefty sack of five bass totaling 18.78 pounds. Dave stated that he fished marinas and weed beds in the Northeast River and on the main flats. He indicated that he only caught six keepers on the day, but made every one of them count. Armed exclusively with a flippin’ stick, Dave caught his biggest fish, a fish over five pounds, and another solid fish, in the last half hour of the event. For his second place Boater Division finish, Frost received $936.

Third place went to the ever-consistent Rich Schneidereit, who weighed in a five-fish limit totaling 16.86 pounds. Schneidereit, from Medford, New Jersey, and a member of the Clearwater Bassmasters, reported that he had one of those rare near-perfect fishing days where every decision he made was the right one. Rich stated that in the morning he fished a weed bed in the Bohemia River and caught a quick limit with a black and blue Sweet Beaver. He culled through the morning and at noon made a move to the Sassafras River, where he proceeded to catch a five pounder and a three and one-half pounder within the first few minutes on a crankbait. He then returned to the Bohemia and continued to catch fish. For his third place finish, he received a check for $643, and will also receive an additional $500 in Ranger Cup bonus money as the highest eligible finishing Ranger boat owner.

Rounding out the rest of the top Boater Division finishers was Mike Sims in fourth place with a five-fish limit weighing 16.20 pounds, worth $468; Chris Oeser in fifth place with a five-fish limit weighing 15.22 pounds, worth $409; and Chris Smith in sixth place with a five-fish limit weighing 14.68 pounds, worth $292.

With the big weights at the top of the Boater Division, it is amazing that the Boater Division Lunker was not caught by one of the top finishers. Rather, that prize went to Rob Laufenberg, who weighed in a 6.40 pound behemoth. Laufenberg, from Denville, New Jersey and another member of the Limiters, caught his fish in the Northeast River on a crankbait and was awarded $270.

Co-Angler Division

If the first event is any indication, this year’s Co-Angler Division promises significant competition as well as enhanced prize money to the top finishers.

With this in mind, first place went to Bruce Knevals, who weighed in an impressive five-fish limit totaling 15.48 pounds. Knevals, from Morristown, New Jersey, and a member of the Quickfire Bassmasters, stated that his victory was his first-ever Federation placing. He indicated that he fished with Mike Sims who put him on fish in the Sassafras River much of the day. Bruce threw a green chatterbait in weed beds near bluff banks to catch all of his fish. He estimated that he and Mike caught 30 keeper-sized fish on the day and that culling was quite an adventure. Bruce stated it was one of his greatest days of fishing and wished to thank Mike for bringing him to areas with such an abundance of fish. He also emphasized that anglers like Mike are the future of the Federation; a young angler who went out of his way to be friendly, gracious and accommodating to him throughout the entire day. For his Co-Angler Division victory, Bruce received $610.

Finishing second in the Co-Angler Division was Al “Froggy” Kolasa who also brought a five-fish limit to the scales that weighed 13.96 pounds, and included the Co-Angler Division Lunker winning fish, a 4.28 pound largemouth. Froggy, from Blairstown, New Jersey, and a member of the Mega Bass 6, reported that he thought, given the time of year, it would be a “Senko” de Mayo pattern, but instead it turned out to be a “Lizard la Loco” day. He stated that he threw a six inch moccasin colored plastic lizard to catch all seven of his keepers on the day. Fishing in a cooperative effort with his boater on the day, Jason Orecchio, in Bohemia River weed beds proved to be the ticket. Froggy also wished to thank his club mate, George Hutchinson, with helping in locating fish in practice. For his second place Co-Angler Division finish, Froggy received a check for $488; and an additional $130 check for his Co-Angler Division Lunker.

Third place Co-Angler was Dave Hayes with four fish weighing 8.32 pounds. Hayes, from Pittsgrove, New Jersey, and a member of Gloucester County Bassmasters stated that he fished with Rich Schneidereit on the day mainly in the Bohemia River. While Rich and others were catching fish on creature-type baits, Dave found success with a black Zoom Finesse Worm thrown on a 1/8 ounce weight. Dave wished to thank Rich for an enjoyable day and Bill Wilson for all of his help in locating fish. Dave received the third place Co-Angler Division prize of $335.

Rounding out the rest of the top Co-Angler Division finishers was John Erickson in fourth place with a three fish weighing 7.82 pounds, worth $244; and Keith Love and Frank Hutchinson tied for fifth place with two and three fish, respectively, weighing 5.66 pounds; worth $152.50 each.

Miscellaneous Notes

1. In all, there were 16 five-fish limits brought to the scales and 172 fish totaling 475.74 pounds were weighed in. All fish were released alive. The 2.77 pounds per fish average shows the quality of fish that can be caught in the fertile waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

2. By virtue of being the second and third highest placing eligible Ranger Boat owners, Mike Hart and Bob Kowitski will receive $300 and $100, respectively, in Ranger Cup bonus money.

3. An extra $600 ($300 per Division) in prize money was added to the purse for this event by the Federation Board of Directors. The same amount will be added to each of the remaining four point tournaments.

4. Please take note that any angler who competes in all five regular Federation tournaments this season is eligible to win one of four $500 prizes to be raffled off at the season-ending Greenwood Lake event.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 26, 2008) – Brian Travis of Conover, N.C., a 30-year-old supervisor for Southeastern Freight Line, is now “Living the Dream” after catching five bass weighing 14 pounds, 5 ounces on the final day of The Bass

Brian Travis

Brian Travis

Federation National Championship presented by the National Guard Saturday on Lake Wylie. He captured the TBF National Championship title with a three-day total catch of 15 bass weighing 45 pounds, 9 ounces.

For his victory Travis received a $100,000 prize package that includes automatic entry into the $1 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League All-American presented by Chevy on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark., May 29-31 and automatic entry into the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup presented by Castrol in Columbia, S.C., Aug. 14-17, where the top pro can pocket as much as $1 million – the biggest award in bass fishing.

“This is an unbelievable feeling, a dream come true,” said Travis, who represents the Southern Division and fishes Lake Wylie on a regular basis. “I look forward to the future and my fishing career with FLW Outdoors.

Travis started his fishing Saturday near Seven Oaks Creek on a spot that he had not fished in two years. He estimates that he had three fish in the boat, including his biggest, by 9:30 a.m. He used an array of lures, including 4-inch green-pumpkin lizards, Yum crawfish and Shooter jigs, while sight-fishing and covering a lot of water.

“This is the best executed tournament that I have ever fished,” he said. “I had a good feeling that this was my time to win.”

In addition to incredibly lucrative championship berths, Travis also received $10,000 and a “prize package that includes use of a “Living the Dream” wrapped Chevy truck and Ranger boat powered by Evinrude or Yamaha, sponsor merchandise and entry fees into 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.

“I think everyone should join the TBF,” Travis said. “It has so much to offer, and look where it got me.”

Travis started the tournament Thursday in first place with five bass weighing 14 pounds, 14 ounces. He retained his lead Friday with a five-bass catch weighing 16-06 that bumped his two-day total to 31-04 going into the final day of competition.

Rounding out the boater field were Ronald Hobbs Jr. of Graham, Wash. (Western Division, 15 bass, 38-11, $5,000); Tom Belinda of Hollidaysburg, Pa. (Mid-Atlantic Division, 15 bass, 36-07, $2,500); Robert Crino of South Royalton, Vt. (Eastern Division, 14 bass, 33-12, $2,500); Terry McWilliams of Greenfield, Ind. (Northern Division, 15 bass, 30-01, $2,500); and Don Owens of Ponca City, Okla. (Central Division, 11 bass, 25-11, $2,500). Each of these boaters will also advance to the All-American.

Overall there were 25 bass weighing 56 pounds, 4 ounces caught by six boaters. The catch included four five-bass limits.

Hobbs also won a 519VX Ranger Comanche powered by Yamaha as the highest finishing Ranger Cup participant.

Craig Fredrychowski

Craig Fredrychowski

Bill Roberts of Fairfax, Va., entered the final round of co-angler competition with a 3-ounce lead but fell to third after catching just one bass weighing 1-pound, 10 ounces. The Mid-Atlantic Division angler earned $1,000 for the finish with a total of 11 bass weighing 23-05. His stumble opened the door for Craig Fredrychowski of Lexington, S.C., representing the Southern Division.

Fredrychowski overcame a 2-pound, 7-ounce deficit on the final day thanks to a five-bass limit weighing 7-07 that boosted his three-day total to 14 bass weighing 26-11, good for a $10,000 prize package that includes co-angler entry into the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup for a chance to fish for as much as $50,000. He also earned a berth into the All-American along with the top co-angler from each TBF division for a chance to fish for as much as $70,000.

“I can’t believe that I am qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup,” Fredrychowski said. “This is a dream come true for me. It absolutely means the world to me. This is just the start of something good.

“This week I had great partners, and I owe everything to them. They taught me a lot this week and allowed me to catch some good fish.”

Fredrychowski caught his fish throwing a shaky head and covering a lot of water on Lake Wylie.

Rounding out the co-angler field were Ben Gross of Kingman, Ariz. (Western Division, 11 bass, 23-11, $2,500); Hoyt Akins of Mayflower, Ark. (Central Division, 11 bass, 22-8, $1,000); Brian Belke of New Lenox, Ill. (Northern Division, 10 bass, 22-05, $1,000) and Tim Austin of Williston, Vt. (Eastern Division, nine bass, 20-05, $1,000).

Overall there were 12 bass weighing 21 pounds, 10 ounces caught by six co-anglers. The catch included one five-bass limit.

The entire field of 40 TBF boaters and 40 co-anglers fished Thursday and Friday for an accumulated two-day weight. The top boater and co-angler from each of the TBF’s six divisions advanced to Saturday’s final round, where the winners were determined 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.

Tournament anglers aren’t the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® offers anyone the opportunity to enter for their chance to land the catch of a lifetime with the opportunity to win $7.3 million in cash and prizes. Players can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player’s Advantage, providing them with exclusive insider information that could guide them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour® stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player’s Advantage will give them an edge over the competition and increase their shot for a $1 million cash grand prize that will be awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Those who visit today can sign up for Player’s Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.

The Bass Federation Inc. (TBF) is owned by those it serves and is dedicated to the sport of fishing. TBF affiliated state federations and their member clubs conduct more than 20,000 fishing, youth and conservation events at the local level each year and have provided the foundation for the entire bass fishing industry for more than 30 years. For more information about The Bass Federation, visit or call (580) 765-9031.

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit

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.