Grove, OK – The XFL Extreme Fishing League entered the half-way point of the season with it’s 3rd tournament held on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. After what seemed like a never-ending cycle of gale force winds and cold temperatures that had plagued our region since the first part of March, the anglers were FINALLY given a half-way decent weekend to fish. Rain moved into the area on Saturday night but let up enough at take-off on Sunday morning to allow the 133 teams to get to their starting spots in relative comfort. Light rain off and on all day made things a bit damp, but the temps were in the low 60s and the wind didn’t blow 40 mph making for a comfortable day of fishing.
The tournament was setting up to be a real slug fest with early reports of a good shallow bite on a variety of lures. Quite a few beds were seen in the shallows but there didn’t seem to be a big push of spawners just yet. A small cold front hit the area mid-week prior to this tournament that set the fish back a few days on their spawning cycle. Most anglers had to adjust in order to catch the bigger fish needed to win this tournament. Zach Glades and Trey Smith made the right adjustment and brought in a 5 fish limit weighing 21.94 lbs to take home the $15,000 1st place cash prize. 2nd place went to Thomas Canady and Creston Harrell with a 20.44 lbs stringer that included Big Bass of 7.20 lbs for a total paycheck of $6,000. Skeeter Customer Appreciation Bonus money of $3,000 went to the 5th place team of Jack and Jackie Burnett. The $500 Skeeter Customer Appreciation Bonus money went to 8th place team David Buck and Tommy Furstenberg. Overall stats for this tournament were 76 limits, 447 fish weighed with a 2.82lbs average, $26,6600 in paid entries and $40,545 paid out for a 152% payout. I spoke with Zach Glades of the winning team and he graciously provided details as to how the managed to catch the winning stringer.
Zach indicated they had pre-fished one day early in the week and were on a pretty strong shallow Hard Head/Biffle Bug bite. On Saturday, they fished all day and didn’t get a single bite. Therefore, on Sunday they decided to “just go fishing”, fish the day and see what happens. They fished shallow for 2 hrs and didn’t get a bite. As they were moving from one spot to the next with the trolling motor, Zach picked up a crankbait and caught a solid keeper off a transition area. They fished this area for a while and moved on. They returned to this spot and Trey caught a 2.5 lb fish on a jig. The spot yielded no more bites so they moved to another area that, at first, yielded nothing. On a whim, Zach picked up a 3/4 oz spinnerbait and slow rolled it off the end of a sunken laydown and whacked a 5 lb. They continued down this stretch of bank and caught another 5 lb on the spinnerbait. This spot yielded no more bites so they ran back to where they caught 2 keepers earlier and caught their 5th keeper on the spinnerbait. At 1:30 they caught one more solid keeper to cull out the 2.5 lb from earlier in the day. All told the team caught 6 keepers and culled once. The key to getting the bigger bites was focusing on deeper laydowns and brushpiles. The bigger fish were staging/suspended above the cover and the spinnerbait was getting a reaction bite. Zach indicated this was the 1st time he had ever drawn a check in an XFL event. We are glad to see first time winners and our congratulations go out to Zach and Trey on their victory.
The next event is the 2nd tournament of the Southern Division scheduled for May 6th on the Arkansas River out of 3 Forks Landing. We hope to see everyone there and look forward to another great tournament. On behalf of the XFL Staff we thank all the competitors and sponsors for their support.
For those reading this that are planning on attending the BASS Elite event at Grand Lake April 26th-29th out of Wolf Creek please stop by the Skeeter tent and say hello to the Blackbeard Marine representatives. Let them know you fish the XFL and appreciate their sponsorship. Also, Skeeter will be offering demo rides to anyone interested in a Skeeter boat. If you are thinking of purchasing a new boat in the future, please take a demo ride in a Skeeter. I think you will be impressed.
Until next time, see you on the water.