Capt. Dickie Colburn – For The Record

“Lots” is not a very definitive word when it comes to speculating as to how many bass fishermen filled every cove and creek on Toledo Bend last weekend in search of a big pay day, but I can assure you it was a “lot”!

There was no doubt that it was going to take a double digit bass to win the Sealy Big bass Splash event, but even the most seasoned T-Bend anglers were shocked by the numbers of quality bass brought to the scales over the three day weekend.

Aside from fishing the day after a cold front, there is no other factor that makes catching tougher than excessive fishing pressure and these annual Sealy tournaments epitomize fishing pressure. All Eighty plus miles of impoundment are buzzing well before daylight as contestants hustle to the very best spot they know hoping that someone else is not already there when they arrive.

More often than not, however, someone beat them thus the reason for the incessant drone of engines all day long.Add to that the folks running around in a panic strut and those returning to the weigh-in site each hour hoping to win an hourly check and the difficulty factor hovers around 10 all day.

In spite of all of that, this year’s massive field of anglers weighed in 880 bass that weighed 4181 pounds.In even the best of weather conditions whether fishing a tournament or simply for fun have you ever felt like you had a bad day with a 20-pound-plus sack in the live well?It would be interesting to know how many of the winners spent at least a little time following the Bassmaster Elite pros around the lake the week before.

Past events support the theory held by veterans of these Big Bass Splash affairs that if you are going to catch that one bass that everyone else is looking for, you better get it done early the first day due to the negative factors we have already touched on. That was not the case this year, however, which only adds to Toledo Bend’s growing reputation as the best big bass lake in the United States.

Ty Humphries of Stonewall, La. hung with it all three days and managed to find the golden egg the second hour of the final morning.His 11.74 bass bested the second place bass by nearly a pound earning the Louisiana angler a new truck, bass boat and $7000 cash, which is usually immediately absconded by the wife.

Orange County bass fishermen did themselves proud as well.Aside from also winning an hourly check, Pruitt Parker got it started early by winning a $200 gift card in an early bird drawing before anyone had caught the first bass.Kameryn Henderson closed it out in grand style by winning the last hour with a 9.82 pound bass worth $3000.

I don’t know what time Hunter Gothia of Bridge City actually caught his bass that won the final hour on the opening day, but if he waited it out his strategy paid off as his 7.99 pound bass earned him a $3000 check.In a format like this a bass that wins one hour may do no better than third or fourth in another hour.There is more to winning first place each hour than simply catching a big bass.

The Orange County contingent had at least two other anglers place in more than one hour and over the three day period the group earned a little over $13,000 dollars.The bottom line is that they have a lot of very big bass in Toledo Bend and a lot of bass fishermen from this area know how to catch them!

Area anglers will switch gears this weekend looking to catch the largest trout, red or flounder in the S.A.L.T. Club’s 42^nd annual Memorial Classic Saltwater tournament.That is a long title but the 42 indicates that they have been getting it right for a long time.

There is some serious money to be won in each division as well as the $1000 grand prize. The entry fee is a pocket book friendly $40 with no fee for the kid’s divisions.Both days are filled with not only the weigh-ins, but vendor activities, food and a live band Sunday evening. The event is hosted out of the S.A.L.T. Clubhouse and caters to the entire family.For more information call 920- 5235 or 963-0433.