The Xtreme bass finale on Lake Seminole was quite a story. Many of the 104 teams came in to practice for most of the week prior to the Nov. 6 and 7 date. Of course the weather during the week was beautiful with highs near 80 and lows near 60. As usual, a front came in on Thursday, with 15-25 mph north winds and all the fish that had been found extremely shallow were long gone. That was my account , as my partner, (Tony Bartels), and I were only able to manage a 1.82 lb fish in the last 10 minutes of day 1. Well that 1 fish, which we reluctantly weighed in, proved to be the difference between MONEY and NO money. That fish put us in 62nd place after day 1, well behind the leaders Jeremy Smith and Dan Smith, who came in with almost 22 lbs. Prior to that day, I got a call from my wife that she might have to go into emergency surgery, and me being 6 hrs away I immediately started thinking of racing home to be with her. We talked that 1st day of competition and the doc said they would not do anything until that monday, and that I need not race home. I still wanted to go home and my wife, Michelle, completely disagreed. She said “you need to stay, you did not do all this to give up and come home. You never know what might happen and I will be alright.” She said just go out and don’t stop till the fish are hitting. I know I am rambling on but I must say, that second day was the complete reverse of the day before as me and Tony started finding some feeding fish at about 8am. and we couldn’t keep them off our gold rattletraps for the rest of the day. God must have forced those fish to eat our stuff as all through practice days and everyone we talked to that had practiced in this area, no one ever caught a fish there. We never saw another boat within 2 miles of us, except for just cruising by, that entire day. We jumped from 62nd to 12th and took home $650.00. What does Ike say, “never give up”… I must go on as this will turn into a book if not.
The inevitable winners, David Bolema and Dan Blanchard, had it figured out the whole time as they came in with 19.5 lbs 1st day and a whopping 26 lbs on day 2 finishing with 45.62 lbs earning them a beautiful Legend boat with a 200 hp E-tec. They also caught their fish on gold traps along with a modified chatterbait. They seemed to have found exactly the same kind of water we found as it was grasslines in 7-8 ft with 10-12 ft of water on the outside edge. All fish were caught in 1/2 mile stretches. 2nd place finishers Andy Roberts and Al Cleghorn also had it figured out early as they had 2 great days of 20 plus lbs each only to fall just short of the winners with a total of 44.07 lbs. Other great stories were the “leapfrogging” of competitors, as day 1 leaders could only manage 1 fish on day 2, dropping them to 13th. Also, O.B Wilborn and Brian Haynes jumped over 30 spots with a nice 23 lb second day to vault them into 5th place earning them $1300.00.
Another cool, but scary story, was of the team of Chris Crow and Val Osinski (Gambler lures pres.) They were riding along and started a turn and the boat DUG in throwing them into a “360”. Val’s whole set of rods went into the drink and they were not able to retrieve them. As they were sitting pretty with 16.65 lbs on day 1, they figured it was over. You see, Val is right handed and Chris is left handed. Val had to use Chris’ rods all day and they still managed to bring in enough weight to stay in the money and earn the 10 place spot.
Big fish of each day paid $700.00 and 2nd big fish each day paid an additional $330.00. 1st day BF went to day 1 leaders Jeremy Smith and Dan Smith with a 6.90 lber. 2nd BF on day 1 went to Scott King and Jeff Winkleman with a 6.88 lber, only .02 behind. 2nd day BF was much bigger at 7.78 lbs and was caught by Donnie Crouse and Dick Faunda. And the 2nd BF on day 2 was caught by Ken Lane and Bob Ellis, a 6.70 lber.
Now before this event took place, there was a very nice banquet with the mayor of Donalsonville saying a nice prayer, and Brenda Broome of the chamber of commerce rolling out the red carpet for all of us, as she usually does. We here at Xtreme would truly like to thank them for their hospitality as the state park cabins were immaculate and I must say- better than my own house. Also at the pre tourney banquet were awards given to all the points leaders and the sidepots given out to the winners. Big bass of the year and $1880.00 was given to Jimbo Denton and Matt Beck for a huge11.02 lb fish caught at lake Russo. The big sack of the year went to Jody Marriott and Dusty McDevitt with a very nice 34.05 lb bag, which earned them $1040.00, all before the event even took place. All the final results can be viewed on the www.xtremefishingseries.com website.
I’m sure I forgot some of what went on, but I must say, all in all what a great time was had. We here at Xtreme would like to thank all of the anglers competing and also remember the few that were lost this year. You guys are why we do what we do. I’d also like to thank God first and foremost for this GREAT opportunity to do what I “extremely” love to do. No pun intended.