Arbuckle producing big bass
BY KELLY BOSTIAN World Outdoors Writer
Sunday, February 03, 2013
2/03/13 at 6:58 AM
Lake of the Arbuckles did it again.
On successive weekends in January, the winners of separate bass tournaments managed to haul in five-fish stringers totaling more than 40 pounds each.
During the Jan. 19 season-opening tournament held by Backyard Bassin' Tournament Trail, anglers Jeff Reynolds and Johnny Thompson scored a big win with a stringer weighing 42.04 pounds. But they failed to win biggest-bass honors that day; that title went to a fish weighing 10.7 pounds that was brought in by the team of Marc Barber and Gary Rowland.
A week later, Marco Vaca and Doyle Idleman won Future Bass Team Trail's season opener. Their five-bass limit weighed in at 41.92 pounds. Second-place team Reynolds and Thompson weighed in a 10.65-pound lunker for the big-bass prize.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation said the catches validate fisheries management at the lake the past decade.
"The ingredients that you need to produce trophy bass are present in Arbuckle right now," Gene Gilliland, assistant chief of fisheries, said in a department release.
Historically, Arbuckle was dominated by large numbers of small, slow-growing bass, Gilliland said.
"In the early 1990s, the Wildlife Department backed off on stocking Florida strain largemouth in Arbuckle because there was a period when the department didn't have enough production from the hatchery to stock Florida bass in very many lakes in the state," he said.
About a decade ago, as the hatcheries' Florida-strain largemouth production increased, the department resumed stocking them in Arbuckle and other Oklahoma lakes to enhance the trophy possibilities.
"Those fish have obviously matured," Gilliland said. "The fish that we stocked, or the offspring of those stocked fish, are now turning into these trophy bass that are being caught on a pretty regular basis for about the past three years."
Kelly Bostian 918-581-8357
Future Bass Team Trail chairman Joe Copeland (left) helps Marco Vaca and Doyle Idleman lift their winning stringer of fish Jan. 26 at Lake of the Arbuckles. COURTESY / Future Bass Team Trail