UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Pro Circuit - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Boyd First to Win Two TBF Championships

Boyd First to Win Two TBF Championships

Allen Boyd’s determination to win overcame Table Rock Lake’s best attempts to shake his confidence. The Salem, Ind., angler stuck to his guns in the face of a challenging bite, lost fish and fierce competition to win the boater division of the 2017 The Bass Federation National Championship.

It was Boyd’s second TBF championship victory, and TBF President Robert Cartlidge was quick to note the odds stacked against such an achievement.

“Hundreds of thousands of anglers have tried to earn a spot in the Federation championship in the past 49 years,” Cartlidge explains. “Few have qualified, and no one has ever won it twice – until now.”

Boyd, a construction worker by trade, qualified for the championship at the October 2016 District 10 National Semi-Finals tournament on the Ohio River. He overcame a brutal bite to win that two-day event with seven fish for 9 pounds, 15 ounces.

“It was tough, but that’s the Ohio River,” he says. “It’s my home water, and it’s taught me a lot about competing in tough tournaments, and about picking an area apart without giving up on it.”

Those lessons served him well at the championship on Table Rock.

After struggling on day one with three bass for 5 pounds, 13 ounces, he found himself in 44th place overall. He moved up to 25th on day two with a 10-pound, 15-ounce limit that earned him Indiana’s spot in the final three-day stretch of the championship, while more than half the 204-angler field left for home.

On the morning of day three, weights were zeroed for the remaining 49 boaters and 49 co-anglers (the top of each category from each state and province). Competitors were also given the use of Evinrude-powered Ranger Boats for the remainder of the event.

Boyd surged into first on the wings of a 17-pound, 14-ounce limit.

Not immune to Table Rock’s legendary ability to flip-flop the leaderboard, however, he weighed just three fish for 8 pounds, 2 ounces on day four. Though less than he’d hoped for, the catch was enough to top his Northern Division rivals and qualify for Saturday’s grand finale with 26 pounds even.

Saturday, Boyd put together a 12-pound, 10-ounce limit for a three-day tally of 38 pounds, 10 ounces. It was enough to hold off New York’s Brad Brodnicki, who’d been consistent throughout the event. Brodnicki bagged four fish for 10 pounds, 3 ounces and finished second with 35 pounds, 5 ounces.

Hard-charging past TBF champion Robert Harkness (above) of West Virginia moved from ninth overall into third with five fish for 11 pounds, 8 ounces and 34 pounds, 2 ounces total.

The previous day’s leader, Ty Faber of New Mexico, slipped to fourth with three bass for 6 pounds, 1 ounce and a 32-pound, 7-ounce three-day total.

Boyd’s go-to area was situated a long run upriver.

“I ran up into Arkansas near Crooked Creek Marina,” he reports. “I knew the fish were there to win it, so I kept fishing it hard.”

A craw-pattern Strike King KVD 1.5 square-bill crankbait accounted for many of his fish.

“Keeping the boat in about 12 feet of water, I cast tight to the bank and ticked the rocky bottom,” he says.

He also punched a Texas-rigged tube through tangles of driftwood matted on the surface.

“Bass go under these mats for shade when stained water clears up,” he notes. “The water had been getting progressively clearer every day, so I Texas-rigged a 3 1/2-inch tube with a pegged 1/2-ounce tungsten sinker and punched the tube through the mats.”

Of course, getting bit and boating the fish are two different matters.

“This morning I got a real hard bite and good a hookset into about a 4-pound fish,” he recalls. “I pulled it out of the mat, but it came unbuttoned and flopped on top of the driftwood until it finally got back into the water.”

The sight haunted Boyd.

“I was really rattled,” he admits. “My co-angler [Brad Jernigan] kept reminding me to stay focused. It proves the importance of staying mentally strong and not giving up.”

At 11 o’clock, he got his first bass on the tube rig.

“Then the wind picked up and started howling down a bank we’d had a few bites on earlier,” he says. “So we picked up our square-bills and started casting the bank again.”

Boyd notes that blades also factored into his championship run.

“The day I had the 17-pound bag I got three good fish on a spinnerbait,” he says. “I really tried making that work the whole tournament because I like fishing that way, but it didn’t happen.”

Boyd wins TBF’s coveted $100,000 “Living the Dream” package for his efforts, which includes a cash prize, fully paid entry fees on the 2018 FLW Tour as a pro, travel expense stipends for each event and use of a “Living the Dream” wrapped Ranger boat with Evinrude outboard for the year.

“It’s an amazing experience living the dream,” he says, recalling his first championship win. Boyd also brings home a new Ranger Z518 bass boat for being the top finisher in the Ranger Cup program.

As the winning boater, Boyd qualifies for the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup for a shot at winning the biggest payday in bass fishing.

 

Jernigan crowned co-angler champ

Representing Mississippi and the Central Division, Brad Jernigan claimed the co-angler title with a final three-day total of 29 pounds, 8 ounces.

As is so often the case for a co-angler, his Table Rock experience was a study in diversity.

“The first day I was throwing drop-shots and swimbaits in 12 to 35 feet of water, and the next I was fishing a peanut butter and jelly Ned rig on main-lake points in 7 to 20 feet,” he says. “Today, paired with Boyd, I was mud-hole fishing square-bills and tubes.”

Jernigan received a $20,000 prize package that includes $10,000 cash and fully paid entry fees into the Costa FLW Series division of choice, as well as other prizes.

 

Boater finalists by division

1. Allen Boyd, Indiana – 38-10 (13)
2. Brad Brodnicki, New York – 35-05 (14)
3. Robert Harkness, West Virginia – 34-02 (15)
4. Ty Faber, New Mexico – 32-07 (13)
5. Ben Warren, Idaho – 28-10 (13)
6. Joshua Moore, Louisiana – 28-03 (12)
7. Jeff Hager, North Carolina – 25-11 (9)

Co-angler finalists by division

1. Brad Jernigan, Mississippi – 29-08 (14)
2. Brian LaClair, Delaware – 23-05 (11)
3. Sport Smith, Minnesota – 23-05 (11)
4. Steven Martins, Connecticut – 23-00 (11)
5. Paul Aznarez, Nevada – 19-02 (9)
6. Kevin Higgins, Washington – 19-01 (10)
7. Kevin Black, Georgia – 14-04 (7)

Details

Held April 3-8, the TBF National Championship was the largest and richest title showdown in Federation history. It pitted 204 anglers from seven divisions against one another for more than $300,000 in cash and prizes. Anglers qualified for the contest via state, divisional and National Semi-Finals events held around the country in 2016 and early 2017.

Divided equally into boaters and co-anglers, the full field competed the first two days of the event. The field then narrowed to 49 boaters and 49 co-anglers (the top in each category from each state and province) for days three and four, after which the top boater and non-boater from each division moved on to the final day.

Regardless of their finish in the end, the divisional winners advance to the 2017 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League All-American.

Coverage of the TBF National Championship will be broadcast nationally in high-definition on the Pursuit Channel.

Tags: table-rock  tbf-national-championship  allen-boyd  dan-johnson  article 

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