Sports Front Page
FOM finish season on Ouachita River
Jarod Brantley and Rod Bradley claimed first place in the Fishers of Men season finale tournament on the Ouachita River. The pair’s five-fish limit weighted 11.74 pounds. Pictured are Jarod Brantley, left, and Brent Wade, holding the winning catch. Submitted.
The sixth season of the North Central LA Division of the Fishers of Men National Tournament Trail division drew to a close Saturday, June 16 with the final tournament held on the Ouachita River. As this was the last tournament of the season, much was at stake as both the tournament victory and the season points race would be decided at the close of the day. Coming into the tournament, Kenny and Courtney Harris held the season points lead but would have to finish at least in eighth place to ensure they retained the top spot in the points championship race. As the field of anglers raced away from the Forsythe Park launch site at daybreak, the Harris’ encountered engine trouble that threatened to take them out of contention. Not to be deterred, the anglers went to “Plan B”—returning home to switch boats — and, after an hour delay, rejoined the other anglers on the river.
As the final minutes of the 2012 season ticked off of the clock, the field began to reassemble at Forsythe Park for the 3 p.m. deadline. One of the first to arrive was Jarod Brantley with his substitute partner and father, Rod. Jarod closely watched the weights brought forth by the other teams as he was the only angler in the running for the season incentive paying $500 to the team that finished highest in the points standings but had not received a tournament payout. After all other teams had weighed, Brantley returned to the boat to retrieve their fish, confident their catch would payout more than the incentive. The team’s hunch was right as the five fish tipped the scales at 11.74 pounds and thrust them into first place. To everyone’s surprise — given that the anglers had a nearly three pound advantage on the nearest competitor — the tournament was the first time in two years that the angler had fished the Ouachita. The Brantleys success was found fishing spinnerbaits in one location which produced more than 20 fish, including the first place big bass caught by Rod and weighing 4.24 pounds. With this first place victory, the anglers netted a total payout of $1,069. Overcoming their challenging start to the day, Kenny and Courtney Harris were able to quickly rebound and pick up their first five fish on a DD22 crankbait.
Ultimately boating five more over the course of the day, the Harris’ landed second place for the tournament with their largest five fish weighing in at 8.81 pounds. More importantly, the strong finish solidified their standings in the points and garnered the title of 2012 Season Points Champions. With the title, the Harris’ received the season points championship pot and an automatic berth into the National Championship where they will compete for prize packages valued at over $120,000. Third place honors went to Martin Elshout and Mark Price with their 8.64 pound stringer of five fish coming off of Texas-rigged redbug soft plastics. Other money winners for the event were Eric Evans and substitute partner Mike Sant with the 2nd place big bass caught by Evans weighing 3.32 pounds.
The next stop for Fishers of Men anglers will be the South Central Regional Championship scheduled for October 26 and 27 on the Ross Barnett Reservoir in Ridgeland, Mississippi. Twelve of our division’s anglers qualified for the two-day event in which they will compete with teams from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas for a new Skeeter bass boat and a berth in the National Championship.
Other Sports Headlines