The 2023 National Bass Anglers Association (NBAA) is in the books and it was a great week at Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma. With over twenty Divisions represented from fourteen different states, there were 103 teams that were all looking for the same thing, enough fish to win the Ranger Boat package, valued at just under forty thousand dollars. As practice started at the first of the week, teams were already finding fish in several different stages throughout the lake. Some were moving in, some were about ready to spawn, some were spawning, and others were already done spawning and moving back out to deeper waters. But the reports were that most teams were not having a problem catching a limit, the problem was getting enough quality bites, to build the size of the daily bags. About half the teams entered into the optional, option pot and right at two-thirds entered the daily big bass pot for the week. This added roughly another $8,000 to the final payout. This event was a three-day cumulative event, so every fish counted and was extremely important.
Wednesday set the tone for what was to come. Lots and lots of limits and everyone had around the same weights. Most of the 79 limits on Wednesday weighed between ten to fourteen pounds. A total of 52 teams that had a double-digit weight going into the second day. The overall leader after Wednesday had 18-05 pounds and the Big Bass of the day was 5-09 pounds. Thursday was more of the same. A total of 77 teams of the 103 brought limits to the scaled the weights improved a little bit also. When the scales closed Thursday, 34-15 pounds was leading and a total of 58 teams had weighed at least 20 pounds on the first two days. Big Bass on Thursday jumped a couple of ounces to 5-11 pounds. The stage was set for the Friday crowning of a new champion. The weights were really tight and realistically speaking, probably everyone in the top twenty-five had a good chance to win on Friday.
Friday was another pretty day in Oklahoma but the rain was gone and the skies were clear and the wind picked up and made for a really interesting final day. Big Bass of the day dropped to 5-04 and the weights for the most part all were around nine to twelve pounds with very few quality bags on Friday. Only sixty-three limits were caught and only roughly a dozen or so limits over fifteen pounds. This really opened the door for several teams as they tried to work their way into the top twenty for a check or sponsor goodies. The biggest two bags of the week were weighed in on Friday. James and Gunner West weighed 19-15 and Larry and Phillip Harris weighed the biggest bag at 21-02 and finished just short of the win for a third-place finish.
James and Gunner West from Spiro, OK outlasted second place by just 15 ounces to claim the victory and the Ranger boat prize package with 49-01 pounds. Seth Daniel and Noah Belt, also from Oklahoma, finished second with 48-02 and collected cash and prizes totaling around $5700. Phillip and Larry Harris, from Tennessee, claimed third with 46-08 pounds and collected $3400 in cash and prizes for their efforts. Fourth place belonged to Tyler Fenger and Stephan Baker with 46-05 pounds and Greg Bowles and Grant Christensen had 44-12 pounds. Each year every Division has a Team Points Champion and each year they fish for an additional option pot for only the TOY teams and the highest finisher walks away with the entire pot. This year that pot was worth $2800 and the Michigan team of Jason and Jennifer Wilbur were the highest TOY finishers and claimed the $2800. The top twenty teams received cash and prizes that totaled roughly eighty thousand dollars. Not bad for a NO ENTRY FEE Championship.
You can be at the 2024 NBAA National Championship as well. Simply visit the website and click on “Start A New Division” and www.nbaa-bass.com will have everything you need to do in order to qualify for next years Championship. Thanks for all the teams who took the time to come to Oklahoma. We had a great week and met a lot of really nice people and look forward to seeing you again next year.
For Full results and more photos of this event CLICK HERE