At 5:30 a.m. while most of the rest of us were asleep Saturday morning, David Harrell motored into the back of Stowe Creek, cut off his motor on the edge of a grassbed and waited to catch a big bass. It was more than just a fishing trip. He was one of the 200+ contestants in the annual Majestic Big Bass tournament on Lake D’Arbonne.
He had missed a couple of big fish on the spot earlier in the week, so he thought it was a good starting point. Unfortunately, somebody else did too. And it didn’t bother them that he was already there, sitting on the spot with his boat’s running lights still on. They pulled up right in front of him about 10 yards away and started fishing at 6 a.m., legal starting time for the tournament. David was pretty aggravated, but turned and started fishing the other way.
On his third cast, a Goliath of a largemouth — 7.36 pounds — smashed his buzz bait and a couple of minutes later David’s disgust turned to joy. He slipped the fish in the livewell and then after other boaters in the area left, he lifted the lid, weighed it and decided he better head for the scales.
“I was so excited I could hardly breathe when I got her in the boat,” he said. “I don’t know who those other guys were, but if they wouldn’t have cut me off, I probably wouldn’t have caught that fish.”
As big bass of the tournament, hourly winner and fruit jar winner, the big fish earned him a $3,200 payday. A total of 204 anglers brought 373 big fish to the scales, including numerous five and six pounders. In all, 353 of those were released alive back into the lake.
David is pretty humble and actually said he was lucky to catch that fish. And as for his winnings, well… “I’ve been fishing this tournament for so long without winning any money that I guess with entry fees, gas, baits and all that, this will just about let me break even!”
Ross Cagle finished second in the tournament with a 6.52 lunker. Brandon Thrash had the big stringer of the event with five bass weighing 22.45 pounds. Luke Herring was second with 21.33. Alicia Holmes won the ladies division; Tanner Young won the 0-12 youth division and Taylor Kolb won the 12-16 youth division. A total of $23,030 was paid out, plus $2,000 donated to Xtreme Ministries.
Each of the 16 hourly winners claimed $400 prizes. Three fishermen — Sontas Mitchell, Ross Cagle and Ryan Hanson won TWO hourly prizes each. Hourly winners were:
David Harrell 7.36
Ronnie Atkins 5.04
Deon Young 5.91
Sontas Mitchell 5.74
Stewart Traxler 5.31
Ross Cagle 6.52
Todd Risinger 5.72
Brian Collie 5.39
Wesley Banks 5.17
Sontas Mitchell 5.14
Luke Herring 5.70
Todd Murray 6.15
Ryan Hanson 5.42
Ryan Hanson 6.15
Todd Musgrove 6.34
Ross Cagle 4.44
Tomorrow we will have all the winners, places 1-6, for each hour.