Special to the News Messenger
After a year of no Big Bass Bonanza, the anglers came back in droves.
“I think East Texas really needed this,” said tournament director Harlen Lobley. “Our total number of entries was up from 2019, and our payout was over $200,000. This made a lot of people feel like ‘normal’ is almost back. It was a great tournament, and I’m so thankful we were able to put it back on.”
The even was held at Lake O’ the Pines Friday through Sunday, and the big winner was Keith Minter of Sims. But, not before some drama.
Rod Boyd of Hallsville took the lead on Friday morning at 10:38 with a 8.514 pound lunker. He went to bed Friday night and Saturday night with the lead.
But one bass on Sunday was able to knock Rod into second place when Minter rolled in at lunch time with a 9.385 pounder to win the 2021 Big Bass Bonanza!
Minter, a United States Air Force veteran, won his hour, the Top U.S. Veteran category, a Cherokee Wolf Pup RV from Haves RV Center, a Champion’s ring, and over $43,000 in cash for a grand prize total of $77,104.10.
Sallie McGrade of Longview took Top Female for the weekend with a 5.428 pounder, winning an additional $500.
Bryce Ratley of Hughes Springs won the Junior competition with a 4.290 pound bass. Winning $500.
Kyle Duncan of Marshall added to his BBB winnings by taking the Top Senior Title, and Top Former Champion categories, and finishing in the top 10 in 7th place. Each added $500 to his winnings from his 2016 Championship.
Hayden Gowen of Edgewood won the Top High School Angler competition taking home an extra $1,000. Hayden also took 10th overall.
For the third tournament in a row, Hallsville High School proved to be the Top Anglers. The Bobcat Top 4 Anglers combined to weigh-in 17.338 lbs. beating Harleton High School. The four-man team will split $2,000 and retain the traveling High School Challenge trophy.
TOP 10: Keith Minter, Simms (9.385 pounds, $77, 104.10); Rod Boyd, Hallsville (8.514 pounds, $25,650); Michael Davidson, Pittsburg (8.323 pounds, $13,4000; Tracey Griffin, Gladewater (8.294 pounds, $9,900); Daniel Rowe, Longview (8.131 pounds, $7,250); Bill Green, Diana (7.746 pounds, $6,900); Kyle Duncan, Marshall (7.725 pounds, $6,500); Raymon Maguire, Hallsville (7.581 pounds, $5,950); Bill Hawks, Belcher, Louisiana (7.411 pounds, $4,800); Hayden Gowen, Edgewood (7.332 pounds, $4.000).