Eufaula, OK. – The XFL-Extreme Fishing League presented by Skeeter Boats hosted it’s 2016 Championship on Lake Eufaula on October 8th and 9th. 139 teams participated in the year-end event and were greeted with very tough, post frontal conditions. A major fall cold front moved through the area on Friday with cloudy, windy and rainy conditions that eventually gave way to high pressure, bright and sunny weather for the two competition days. Fishing on Eufaula prior to this event had been tough. There were several tournaments the week prior to this event and it was taking less than 30 lbs over two days to win those events. Most anglers I spoke with prior to the XFL Championship reported that small limits in the 10-12lb range were fairly easy to come by. However, the bigger fish were being very uncooperative.
Day 1 of the event started off with an appreciation of all past and present members of our armed forces followed by the National Anthem. It was only fitting to see not one, but two bald eagles soaring high overhead as the National Anthem played. Day 2 began with an appreciation of our law enforcement officers and firefighters again followed by the National Anthem. Recognizing these groups of brave men and women is an important thing, especially with the things that are going on today. These people put their lives on the line every day so that we can enjoy our freedoms and get to enjoy this sport of bass fishing we all love so much. If you know or meet any person who is a veteran, currently serving in the armed forces, law-enforcement, firefighters or EMTs, please thank for their commitment and service.
Day 1 concluded with lots of fish weighed but the majority of the fish were on the small side. Most of the limits were in the 9-12 lb. range with 16lbs leading after Day 1. Day 2 showed a shuffling of the leaderboard and those teams that managed to equal or better their Day 1 weight moved significantly up the leaderboard into the paying spots. The telling factor on just how tough it was to catch quality fish was the fact that it only took 21.07 lbs for two days to get a check. The team of Robbie Guinn and Rick Woods, once again, blew the field away with a two-day total of 38.29lbs. Robbie and Rick were in the top 5 after Day 1 with 14.84 lbs. then smashed a 23.45 lb limit on Day 2, including a 7lb+ big bass anchoring their impressive stringer. Robbie and Rick took home a total of $36,000 which was comprised of $30,000 for 1st place, $5000 Skeeter Owner Bonus Money and $1000 for Big Bass. Coming in a distance 2nd Place, but by no means a poor showing, was the team of Jake Weddell and Jason Little with a two-day total of 31.48lbs. Jake and Jason had 15.05 lbs on Day 1 and 16.43lbs on Day 2. Their consistency earned them $15,000.00. I spoke with Rick Woods of the winning team and he graciously described how they won this event.
For those that remember Robbie Guinn and Rick Woods won this event two years ago when it was held at Eufaula. If memory serves they weighed around 38lbs in that event and won by about a 10lb margin. After that victory, Rick Woods realized they were missing out on the Skeeter Bonus opportunity and he purchased a new Skeeter FX 21 in 2014. That investment has paid off nicely for the team collected the $5000 bonus check in a tournament earlier this year and again in this event. Anyone contemplating buying a new boat should consider the Skeeter Owner Bonus program in their new boat selection process. Rick and Robbie pre-fished a couple of days prior to this event and found fish holding on rock piles and brush piles in 10-15′ of water. There lures of choice were a 10″ Texas rigged Berkely Power Worm and a homemade football jig with Christy Craw trailer. On Day 1 the team had an 11-12lb limit by noon. They pulled up to one of their rock pile spots and landed a 4-5 lbs class fish. At this time Rick noticed they only had about 8 volts on their cranking battery. They elected to fish the rest of the day with the big motor running and weighed in early at 2:30. At the first stop on Day 2, the team quickly boated a 3.5lb fish. Shortly thereafter Robbie landed 7 lbs fish. As Rick was putting that fish in the livewell and untangling the hook from the net, Robbie stuck another bass. This fish was even bigger than the 7 lb. Rick was able to get the net in position only to have the giant come unbutton just a few feet from the net. Rick indicated Robbie was about to throw up thinking that fish would cost them the tournament. However, the team regained their focus and fished perfectly the rest of the day. A key fish came later in the day off one of the rock piles. Rick’s trusty football got hung in the rocks. After several attempts he was able to pop the jig free. When the jig popped free a fish hit it. Rick managed to land the 4.5 lb. bass and that sealed their victory. There was another tense moment when they realized their cranking battery was completely dead. Fortunately, Rick was able to jump start the big motor and the elected to again weigh-in early. Congratulations to Rick and Robbie for a well earned victory and congratulations to all the teams that cashed a check under the tough fishing conditions.
Total entry fees collected for this event were $41,700 and total cash paid out was $87,371 for a 210% payout. Such an incredible payout is not possible without sponsor support. Please take a look at our sponsor list and give these folks your business and tell them you appreciate their support.
On behalf of the XFL staff and the sponsors I want to thank all the fisherman that participated with us this year. Without you we cannot have the best circuit in the area. We enjoy putting on this league and are constantly striving to make this the best circuit we possibly can. We look forward to seeing each and every one of you next year and wish you the best.
Please keep an eye on this website for the 2017 schedule and stop by the boat shows in the winter months and say Hi! Until then, good luck and God Bless.