The XFL Extreme Fishing League presented by Skeeter Boats kicked off the 2019 season on Grand Lake out of Wolf Creek. Fishing at Grand had been pretty decent a few weeks prior to this event. However, heavy rains upstream caused a 3-4′ rise in the lake level a week prior to this event. A major tournament the previous week had very poor results with nearly half the field not weighing a single fish. Couple the rising water levels with off-colored, cold water made for very tough fishing conditions that carried over into this event. Practice reports from several anglers had many of us singing the blues. Reports of no bites in an 8 hour day were very common. Anglers were struggling and those that did manage some success reported catching just a few fish a day. The day of the tournament dawned partly cloudy and warm and forecasts high was in the 70’s. So, anglers at least had good weather for competition which was a welcome change from past March tournaments. After it was all said and done, only 89 of the 173 teams managed to weigh a fish with only 8.33lbs to get in the money. The team of Billy Lemon and Ed Broadderick smoked the field with an amazing 5 fish stringer of 27.89lbs worth $15,000. Coming in a distant 2nd place was the team of Keith Hayes and Andy Littlejohn with a very respectable 5 fish limit weighing 22.08lbs. worth $5000. The CamGuard Big Bass of the event was weighed by solo angler Mike White with a 7.60lb lunker worth $1000. Customer appreciation bonus money of $3000 was taken home by Eddie Norris and Jerry Patton and $500 bonus money was collected by David Buck and Tommy Furstenberg for being the highest finishers competing in a qualifying Skeeter Boat. Total payout for this event was $51,030 on $39,600 in entry fees for a 147% payout. I spoke with my long-time friend Ed Broadderick and he shared some insight on how they managed their winning stringer.
Ed and Billy, like many teams, had a very tough practice with very few bites and no established pattern. Saturday practiced started off very well for the anglers as their first spot yield a 6lb class fish. However, they went the rest of the day running various spots, trying different lures and presentations to no avail. Late in the day they returned to their first spot and caught a 3 lb class fish. This determined their starting point for Sunday. They arrived at their spot and fished it hard without a bite. About 11:30 they started discussing their next move when their biggest fish of the day struck and made it to the livewell. This made their decision to stay an easy one and they milked a 150 yard stretch of bank slow rolling spinnerbaits. Between 11:30 and 2:00 the team got 5 more bites and culled one time to amass their impressive stringer. Not wishing to take any chances the team elected to quit early to make sure they made it to weigh-in. Congratulations to Ed and Billy on their hard-earned victory and all the teams that cashed a check in this tough event.
Our next event is scheduled for April 7th on Lake Eufaula out of Peter’s Point Ramp. With warming temperatures and improving water conditions this tournament is setting up to be a real slug fest. However, as we all know spring fishing can be greatly affected by the weather. Time will tell.
Thanks to all the anglers and sponsors and we look forward to seeing everyone at Eufaula.