Eufaula’s Big Winners
More than 50 disabled anglers and others participated in the Mid-America PVA “Okie Open” Bass Tournament.
More than 50 disabled anglers and others participated in the Mid-America PVA “Okie Open” Bass Tournament, April 30–May 1, on Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Okla.
“It was actually four tournaments in one including the bank fishing events,” says Alan Earl, associate director of sports and recreation for the hosting Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). “The first day of the bass event is the Open tournament, where we pair disabled anglers with other anglers, but just the disabled angler fishes. On the second day, both anglers compete as a team.”
Out in the Open
Fishing with Damon Rogers (Mannford, Okla.), Jack Butler (Maysville, Ga.) won the Open bass competition on day one. He caught five bass weighing 14.01 pounds. Able-bodied anglers could serve as guides, operate the boat, net and unhook fish, make location or lure suggestions, and do other things for their partners but could not actively fish. For the victory, Butler won a 2011 Tracker Pro Angler 16 boat package. Rogers earned a Minn Kota Fortrex trolling motor and cash.
“I was throwing a Texas-rigged soft plastic creature bait into buck brush in shallow water—less than two feet deep,” Butler says. “I started with a watermelon green bait and then switched to a ‘Sooner run’ color, which is kind of brownish. I caught about 20 fish. I culled twice and lost a handful of fish. I also caught some short fish. My biggest was nearly four pounds.”
Ken DaVault pulled in a blue catfish that helped him land individual and team wins.
In second, Rodney Anderson (Young Harris, Ga.) landed five bass (12.44 pounds) while fishing with Monty Bollinger (Eufaula). Eddie Camara (Shawnee, Okla.) took third with a five-bass tournament limit weighing 10.24 pounds. He partnered with Sean Evans (Guthrie, Okla.).
Fishing with Lester Ray (McAlester, Okla.), Tony Choe landed two bass but made one really count. He took lunker honors with a 4.47-pounder.
In the Team competition the following day, anglers and partners fished and contributed to the five-bass limit. After a two-hour weather delay because of stormy conditions, Gary Dornbrack (Westville, Okla.) and Keith Hays (Broken Arrow, Okla.) won with five bass weighing 17.41 pounds. Flipping soft plastics, Hays contributed the biggest bass of their bag, a 4.54-pounder.
“I started throwing a root beer-colored crankbait,” Dornbrack says. “I caught one smallmouth on a crankbait, and a largemouth. It was storming and rough, so we tried not to run too far. With not much happening in that spot, we braved the weather and ran for where we had been catching fish the day before. It was about 30 minutes away. I had a great time. Keith was one of the best partners I’ve ever had.”
In second, Jack Barber (West, Tex.), and Danny Quinn (Sand Springs, Okla.) brought in a five-fish tournament limit weighing 13.82 pounds. Anderson and Bollinger landed in third with five bass (13.10). Fishing with David Burchette (Owasso, Okla.) Kimberly Becker, an active-duty wounded warrior stationed at Fort Belvoir, Va., landed the tournament big bass, a 4.81-pounder.
“In the bank tournament, two disabled anglers fish together as a team on the first day,” Earl explains. “On the second day, everyone fishes as an individual. Bank anglers can fish for any legal species by any legal means and may weigh any fish at least four inches long. They can weigh their top ten heaviest fish each day.”
Ken DaVault (Silver Spring, Md.) won the individual and team bank categories. In the individual competition, he caught 12.07 pounds. His biggest fish, a 6.77-pound blue catfish, also took lunker honors. In the team event, he fished with Steven Ray (Mesquite, Tex.), and they caught 11.77 pounds.
“About 17 minutes into the tournament, I caught the big catfish, and it took me almost 30 minutes to reel it in,” DaVault recalls. “I caught it on shrimp. Soon afterward, I caught a three-pound channel cat on liver. I have a brain injury, and this is the best therapy I’ve ever had. I look forward to fishing every PVA event.”
The anglers ran out of South Point Marina in Eufaula. The largest lake entirely within Oklahoma, Lake Eufaula covers about 102,000 acres and offers anglers more than 600 miles of shoreline. The lake formed with a dam on the Canadian River just upstream from its confluence with the Arkansas River.
For more information on the PVA Tour, visit www.pvabasstour.com or contact Earl at AlanE@pva.org / 703-462-0504. PVA thanks all national sponsors as well as BASS and the BASS Federation Nation for their continued support.
Eufaula’s Big Winners
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