Southern Division – Event #2 Arkansas River

Muskogee, OK – The XFL Extreme Fishing League held its 2nd event of the Southern Division (and 4th overall) on the Arkansas River out of 3 Forks Landing in Muskogee, OK.  After an “arctic like April”, the anglers were finally given a great weather day of fishing. Temps started out in the low 60s, warmed to the mid 80s and light winds.  What a welcome change it was from having to fish in frigid temperatures, gale force winds and heavy layers of clothing more akin to duck hunting than bass fishing.  Despite the great weather, fishing, to be brutally honest, sucked!!

138 teams entered this event, 42 limits were weighed and only 66 teams managed to weigh a fish. Pre tournament reports indicated a very tough bite on “The Ditch” with weights in the 16 lb. range being needed to win other tournaments.  Theories abounded as to why the bite was so tough.  Were the fish in a post spawn funk, was it due to fishing pressure, recent heavy rains or was it a combination of all these factors?  Whatever the reason, fishing wasn’t very good.  The prediction of 16lb +/- winning stringers turned out to be true with the winning team of Terry and Terry Butcher bringing in a 5 fish limit weighing 15.62 lbs.  The Butchers took home $15,000 for their winning stringer.  2nd place and $5,000 went to the team of Greg Cecil and Rick Manning with 15.15 lbs.  Greg and Rick added $3,000 in Skeeter Customer Appreciation Bonus Money to their take-home pay by being the highest finisher in a qualifying Skeeter Boat.  3rd. Place went to the team of Travis Carpenter and Mitch Baskett with 14.93 lbs.  Travis and Mitch took home a total of $2565 which included $500 in Skeeter Customer Appreciation Bonus Money.  Big Bass of the event was weighed by the team of Eric Poindexter and Paul Muzljakovich with a 4.82lb fish worth $1000.  Total entry fees collected were $27,600, total payout was $41,605 yielding a 151% payout. Congratulations to these teams and all the teams that cashed a check on a very tough fishery.  I spoke with “young” Terry Butcher and he offered some details on how they went about catching the winning stringer.

Unlike many teams, the Butchers caught a lot of bass throughout the day.  They keyed on rock, wood, shade and shad with rock and shad being the most important.  Terry indicated there was a shad spawn going on and that was a major factor in their success. They ran many spots throughout the day looking for the key ingredients to their pattern.  They used 3/8 or 1/2 Booyah Spinnerbaits and Strike King 1.5 square bills to catch their fish with all of the weigh fish coming on the spinnerbaits. I actually ran into the Butchers at the very last minutes of our fishing time and Terry indicated he had “around 16 lbs”.  When we told him that was likely a really good sack, he and Mr. Terry didn’t seem to think it would be enough to win.  Sometimes when you win a tournament is when you least expect it.  Terry wanted to thank BassCat boats and Mercury motors for their long-time support.  Congratulations to Terry and Terry on their hard-earned win.

As a reminder, to qualify for the Championship a team has to fish 3 events in any combination of North and South Divisions.  If you are planning to fish the Championship and don’t have your 3 tournaments yet, then you have Texoma on June 24th and Ft. Gibson on July 8th.   We look forward to seeing everyone at the next event.

See you on the water,

Capt. Rob