Sep 1, 2013
Big Seminole Bass Highlight Nories Frogfest
By Mike Pehanich
SWF traveled to Georgia for the first Nories Frogfest last week. It showcased two top bass waters and two top frogs!
Frogs walked, danced, plunged, plopped and, for all we know, may have even sang songs at Lake Seminole last Saturday, the second of the two-day, two-lake, two-frog Nories Frogfest tournament.
But mostly they caught bass! Lots of bass! Big bass!
“Many were surprised when Jack Tibbs and Duane Mock weighed in a 19-pound three-fish limit in the rain on Lake Eufaula during Week One (August 17, 2013),” said Wes Meadows, organizer of the event. “Some fishermen thought that total was insurmountable. But they topped it at Seminole!”
The team of Andrew Hurley and Niki Oglesby brought in the winning three-fish weight of 19.66 pounds on Seminole on Saturday (August 24) — a lofty 6.55-pound average led by an 8.11 pound largemouth that also earned a $600 bonus for second place in the Big Bass Side Pot competition. The $1,000 Big Bass first prize went to the team of Mason Brock and Clay Wells, who weighed in a lunker of 8.96 pounds.
Competitors received more than $27,000 in cash awards at the event.
Classic Frog Waters of the South
Lake Eufaula, also called Walter F. George Reservoir, straddles the Alabama/Georgia border; Lake Seminole lies just northwest of Tallahasee on the Georgia/Florida border. Both are impoundments of the Chattahoochee River and deemed classic frogging waters with their abundant natural cover and reputations for quality bass.
The Nories Frogfest combined the individual team catches from both the August 17 event on Eufaula and the August 24 event on Seminole for its 50 cash awards, which topped out with the $5,000 winner’s purse. Big Bass Side Pot awards (First Place $1,000; Second Place $600; Third Place $400) were awarded separately at each event.
Lake Eufaula anglers faced high-water, muddy conditions and an all-day rain but still managed to catch some impressive three-fish limits led by the 19-pound total of Tibbs and Mock. The boats launched from Lakepointe State Park in Eufaula, Alabama.
It was a noteworthy performance for Tibbs, owner of Strikezone Lure Company, who also became mayor of Eufaula last November. His catch strengthened his case for Eufaula as “Bass Capital of the Southeast.”
Seminole anglers enjoyed more benign conditions, characterized by overcast skies in the morning and intermittent sunshine from mid-day on. Anglers launched at Spring Creek Park Resort/Big Jim’s Oyster Bar near Bainbridge and Donalsonville, Georgia, and weighed in impressive numbers of big fish despite high and muddy water conditions.
Hurley and Oglesby took home $5,000 as Nories Frogfest overall winners. But Tibbs and Mock nearly matched their winnings with their combined $2,000 second place prize, $1,000 Biggest Bass prize from Week One, and $1,500 bonus award for using a froggin’ rod from RPM Rods, one of the tournament sponsors.
Sixty-six of the 102 boats in the Nories Frogfest competition weighed in three-fish limits. Many bass topped the five-pound mark, too, though many teams didn’t bother to register their largest fish individually for the Biggest Bass competition as bass of 8.96, 8.11, 7.52 and 7.50 pounds came to the scales in the first weigh-in wave.
Tournament regulations allowed anglers to use either the Nories NF 60 hollow body frog or the Nories Ebigaeuru popping frog-style lure. Norio Tanabe, proclaimed as the “Father of bass fishing in Japan,” designed both baits.
The frogs were in their element with mixes of lily pads, moss, arrowhead, milfoil, hydrilla and other vegetation on the classic frogging waters of Seminole and Eufaula.
Tournament anglers touted the “easy walking” capability and high hook-up ratios with both baits as well as the ease with which they could work the baits through thick cover with minimal hang-ups. (See this week’s SWF companion piece “Frog Talk: Frogfest Lessons Learned.”)
Munenori Kajiwara (firstname.lastname@example.org, 630-299-6508), U.S. distributor for the Nories, Marukyu and Ecogear tackle brands, first introduced the Nories products to American anglers through Lee’s Global Tackle (www.leesglobalbackle.com) and its owner, John Moy, a Japanese import tackle specialist in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, in 2012.
Among other tackle retailers carrying the Nories frogs today are: Sportsman’s Outfitters (Dothan, AL), Lakepointe Marina (Eufaula, AL), and West Side Bait & Tackle (Bainbridge, GA; phone order 229/400-1848). Nories frogs are also available on the websites of Land Big Fish (www.landbigfish.com), Anglers International Resources (http://www.fishingurus.com) and Last Chance Bait & Tackle (www.lastchancetackle.com).
For more information on Nories Frogfest, contact Wes Meadows, 229-416-5661.