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Jimmy Houston Outdoors
Tournament Trails
2003 Classic

By: Douglas Detherow

The Oklahomabassfishing.com staff was on hand at the 2003 JHO Classic event held this past weekend on lake Tenkiller to cover the action of the potential $80,000 first prize package event including up to two fully rigged 520 Ranger bass boats powered by 225 HP Mercury engines, and a Chevy truck.

The pre tournament meeting to kick the huge event off was held at the Jimmy Houston Store near Tahlequah. All of the entrants and guests enjoyed some absolutely wonderful smoked brisket, corn on the cob, and BBQ baked beans, as Carl Woods went over the schedule breakdown for the two day of competition to come. The tournament was a 2 day event to be held from safe light until 3 PM with the winners being determined by a cumulative total of both daysí creels.

Royce Dennington and Chris Torkelson set the pace on day one will a limit weighing just over 13 pounds. There were several great fishermen bunched near the top of the leader board heading into the second day of competition.
It was still anyoneís ballgame. There were several limits brought to the scales, and the fishermen were reporting a better bite, than they had experienced during practice their days.

Daylight Doughnuts provided a welcome breakfast of assorted treats for the fishermen as they headed off in the now chilly morning air to begin the final day of competition. Rain and a cold front had moved into the area overnight and the fishermen were going to be faced with even tougher conditions than they were already facing on the extremely low lake Tenkiller.

There were not nearly as many limits of bass weighed in on day two, and the fishermen that were fortunate enough to come across a keeper bite seemed extremely grateful. Everyone that I talked to at the scales, reported that the fish had seemed to disappear from the water that they had done so well in on Day one. Mr. Torkleson, the day one leader reported that he had culled several fish during the first day, and still seemed to still be a bit disillusioned as he put his 3 and a half pound bag of fish on the scales bringing the teamís final weight to 17.52, good enough for 5th.

Andy Benson and Jared Redyke brought the first limit of fish of the day to the scales that consisted of five fish that were all over the 16 inch slot requirement. Their limit of bass weighed more than 13 pounds!! The had managed to improve on a strong weight of more than 10 pounds on day one moving them into the first place spot with a two day total of 23.07. This gave them more than a five pound lead over the nearest competitors with not many anglers still to weigh fish. They were looking like they were going to be really tough to beat as the teams that had done so well on the first day came to the scales without much weight.

With fewer than a dozen fishermen left to weigh, Daylight Doughnuts pro Jim Carnell, of Muskogee and his partner Dan Mahaffey carried a huge bag of bass to the scales. It was going to be close. They needed 13.04 to take the lead, and Jim looked confident as he raised a solid three and a half pound keeper out of his bag to show the crowd.

Jimmy Houston got the crowd fired up as the limit of fish was put on the scales. The weight on the digital readout was ranging from high 12ís to near 14 pounds as the lively bass flopped in the basket. When the fish finally settled so did the scales at 13.41 pounds!!!! They had won the 2003 Jimmy Houston Tournament Trail classic by only a few ounces laying claim to one of the Ranger boats up for grabs!! Had they been Ranger Boat owners, they would of won an additional boat, but the $40,000 pursed they collected seemed to suit them just fine as Mr. Houston introduced them to their prize.

Jim, and Dan along with the 2nd and 3rd place finishers were gracious enough to do full interviews with the Oklahomabassfishing.com staff after the event describing their winning tactics used on brutally tough Lake Tenkiller and we will have them posted in the coming days.



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Click here to see the final Results





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