Fishing duo reels in huge stringer
BY KELLY BOSTIAN World Outdoors Writer
Monday, January 21, 2013
1/21/13 at 4:58 PM
Classic still just 'catching fish'
Correction: A Monday Tulsa World story listed the wrong state that Calera is in. The town is in Oklahoma. This story has been corrected.
Lifelong competitive angler Jeff Reynolds doubted what he and partner Johnny Thompson had in their boat's live well Saturday until they had to decide whether to keep a nice 6-pound fish and pulled out a balancing scale to compare their catch.
"A 6-pound fish on one end and a 9-pounder on the other? I told my partner, 'this is stupid!' " Reynolds said.
Reynolds said Thompson guessed they had a 35-pound bag. The lifelong angler and former pro tour fisherman still doubted it was that large, but the Calera, Okla., anglers weighed five fish for a total of 42.04 pounds at the Backyard Bassin' tournament Saturday at Oklahoma's Lake Arbuckle.
The tournament was a no-entry-fee tournament that offered only a little cash and free entry into the tournament trail for the season as the top prize.
"We didn't win a lot of money, but we had a heck of a day on the water," Reynolds said. "We were still giddy like schoolboys after we got home. My partner called me up and said, 'Hey! I heard some ol' boy caught 42 pounds today!' "
Tournament director Rodney Richards said he planned the free tournament as a way to publicize the new tournament trail and perhaps draw interest from more anglers. He got more publicity than he expected.
As word of the catch spread Sunday, Richards' tournament website saw heavy traffic, and that was just among tournament anglers in the know.
"As far as just regular fishermen, for the average person it probably has not really taken hold yet, what got caught yesterday," Richards said.
In a state where a 10-pound bass is a once-in-a-lifetime fish for most anglers, this tournament - in January, with 40 boats on a relatively small lake at 2,300 acres - produced a 10.08- and a 10.70-pound bass, and those weren't even part of the largest bag of fish.
Richards said at least 12 fish caught Saturday weighed more than 8 pounds.
Reynolds and Thompson just happened to have five that all were large.
"Their biggest fish was 9.46 (pounds), but they had another one that was probably over 9," Richards said. "We were all laughing because our basket almost wasn't big enough to hold them on the scale. Everybody has a scale that gets up to 50 pounds. You never think of needing something that might go higher."
Reynolds said it really wasn't as exciting as it sounds.
"I'd like to say we were really on 'em but we didn't really catch that many fish," he said. "It's just that when we caught bigger ones they were really big."
He said two of the fish were caught on an Alabama-rig, two were caught with a jerk bait and one of the big fish hit a football-head jig.
Overshadowed by the giant stringer was a second-place bag at 28.42 pounds and a remarkable 6.54-pound smallmouth bass caught by angler Bobby Myers of Jenks.
"That 6.54 smallmouth was a freak of nature and it barely got a second look," Richards said.
All the fish caught in the tournament were released back to the lake, except one that died of injuries, Richards said.
Kelly Bostian, 918-581-8357
Anglers Jeff Reynolds (left) and Johnny Thompson hold their 42.04-pound stringer of largemouth bass on Saturday at Arbuckle Lake. RODNEY RICHARDS / Courtesy