Stockton Lake Hosts Second Missouri The Bass Federation Qualifier Tournament

Changing Spring Conditions Challenge Adult and Youth Anglers at First Joint Event

What’s the saying about the best laid plans?  Anyone familiar with scenic Stockton Lake knows it supports a very healthy population of all three native species of Missouri bass.  When this event as scheduled for the middle of May with a full-moon the following week, members began dreaming of site-fishing for big spawning bass in crystal clear waters on the main lake at Stockton.  As is often the case, Mother Nature had a different plan and after a cool early spring conditions changed dramatically in the days leading up to this final event.  Normal spring lake conditions with lake levels elevated about 3 feet was followed by a week of heavy rains raising the pool another 9 feet in 4 days!  This not only changed the color of the water but made much of the bank inaccessible, with a tangle of flooded bushes, floating wood, and sawdust/pollen debris in many pockets.

Stockton MOSAF High School Award Ceremony

These were the conditions that greeted our field of 15 boater and 13 co-anglers along with several High School and Junior teams that were holding their joint event with us at Stockton.  The weather continued to be a challenge with the first real heat wave of the season on Wednesday and Thursday with highs in the 90’s, raising water temperatures rapidly through the 70’s throughout the lake.  While the water clarity was changing constantly, the conditions were fishable on the main lake and throughout most of the river in practice.  Weather on Saturday was cool with an approaching front with clouds and thunderstorms complicating the event on Sunday.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature also has an evil ally in the form of the Army Corp of Engineers who changed the water discharge throughout the event making the river less fishable and requiring anglers to adjust their game plans.

Jared Knuth,  Boater First Place

While the Missouri TBF dreamed of a tournament with multiple fishing patterns producing big sacks, one pattern turned out to dominate the event and that was true for our winning boater, Jared Knuth. Jared is a past National Qualifier and no stranger to the leader board at these events and he put together the most consistent performance in the field.  He weighed the second biggest sack on day 1 with 5 fish for 11.53 and followed that up with a second day total of 12.70 for a winning two-day total of 10 fish for 24.23 pounds.  Jared put together the winning pattern quickly by flipping soft-plastic creature baits in flooded bushes near the dam and in mid-lake coves.  His bite required a steady approach with bites coming throughout the day.  He targeted bigger fish that seemed to be nearer the bank which required a strategic approach and skillful presentation.  He had several shorts each day with 5 keepers on Saturday and 7 on Sunday supplemented with a last keeper falling to a buzz bait in the cloudy overcast skies.

Dennis Maggart,  Boater Second Place

Finishing second in the event was Dennis Maggart who took advantage of the curves thrown by the weather to come back strong on day 2 and pass some less fortunate anglers.  Dennis began Saturday fishing up the river but after 5 hours with no bites he finally adjusted his plan and found cleaner water in the mid-lake area to scratch out a small 3 bass sack on Saturday that put him in 6th place.  On Sunday he continued his pattern of flipping green pumpkin creature baits in bushes and hardwoods near the back of spawning cuts.  This adjustment paid dividends in the overcast conditions and produced a 5 bass limit of 11.86 for a two-day total of 17.54.  He also landed the big bass on the boater side for day 2 with a 3.78-pound fish that bit his creature bait off a clump of hardwoods in about 3 feet of water.  In these tough conditions Dennis was fortunate to have a couple of great partners in the back of the boat in Jason Morisaki and Patrick O’Neal to help with lure recovery, boat salvage and fish netting.

Don Heiser, Boater Third Place

Rounding out the top 3 qualifiers for the event was Don Heiser.  As most of you know Don is one of our most accomplished anglers and that experience came in handy with the changing conditions at Stockton.  After a rough day of practice, he made some changes and immediately caught fish on Saturday with an early limit from flipping bushes of 10.93 pounds, good enough for third place going into Sunday.  He followed that up with a smaller 4 fish sack on Sunday for 6.44 but that gave him the margin he needed with 16.87 to hang onto 3rd place by a slim 2 hundredths of a pound!  Like all the top finishers Don was flipping bushes with a creature bait in the back of mid-lake coves and cuts.  Other anglers that had good performances and just missing out on the automatic qualifying spots were Brad Tyer, our reigning State Champion, with 16.85, Jess Stewart with 15.32, and Mick Maples with 13.83.  Big bass from Day 1, and overall big bass went to Jerry Lovell on Saturday with a 5.64-pound bass that fell for a green creature bait early Saturday in a green bush on a main lake point.

Billy Ray, Co-Angler First Place

Leading our Co-Angler field was Billy Ray, a repeat qualifier from our event at Lake of the Ozarks in March.  Billy was consistent with a day one sack of 9.85 to lead the field, to finish with a total of 12.51 pounds.  His sack was anchored by the big bass on the co-angler side on day one of 4.19 pounds.  Like the rest of the field Billy was flipping a soft plastic bait in the flooded bushes.  While this pattern seems obvious, co-anglers know that flipping these baits in tight cover while someone else runs the trolling motor is a whole different challenge.  Looking for open windows and less obvious holes that may have been missed by the boater requires a special skill and Billy proved to be the most proficient.

Gary Martin, Co-Angler Second Place

Gary Martin, Co-Angler Second Place

Finishing second was one of our most consistent and skilled co-anglers, Gary Martin.  He has proven to be a master at many techniques but really excels in flipping and that skill proved invaluable in these conditions.  Gary caught nice bags each day (5.30 on day one and 5.04 on day two) for a total of 10.34 pounds.  In addition to qualifying, Gary also took home big bass honors on day two for the co-anglers with a 3-pound largemouth!

Grant Simmons, Co-Angler Third Place

We are all excited to see that our final co-angler to qualify from the field is also our youngest and newest member, Grant Simmons.  While Grant may still be in High School, he was anxious to get on the water and learn more about tournament fishing. With the advice of two of our best boaters (Mark Harper and Don Heiser), Grant learned quickly and after a rough first day came in with the second biggest sack on the co-angler side of 9.4 pounds to charge into third place.  Following the lead of his boaters Grant flipped soft plastic baits into the bushes and used his experience landing fish from his kayak to boat his keepers and punch his ticket to the TBF National Semi-Final.   Finishing 4th in this event was John Kelley with 7.27 pounds, and since Billy Ray was already qualified from our first event, he will also be moving on to the TBF National Championship.

Angler of the Year

Since this is the last of Missouri TBF’s two national qualifiers we can now set our team for the TBF National Semi-Final and crown our angler and co-anglers of the year.  Our state team is made up the top 3 boaters and co-anglers from each event.  Each of the team members received a payout at their event and is eligible for a stipend to cover their entry into the National Semi-Final at Stockton in October.   Our boater team includes Brian Maloney, Andrew Capps, Ken Whitfield, Jared Knuth, Dennis Maggart and Don Heiser.  The Co-angler team is made up of Billy Ray, Jon Small, James Rice, Gary Martin, Grant Simmons, and John Kelley.

This year our angler of the year goes to Ken Whitfield.  After finishing 3rd at Lake of the Ozarks he was able to complete the task with a solid performance at Stockton to accumulate a total of 388 points.  This allowed him to lead a very tight field with Troy Ladehoff finishing just behind with 386 points and three other anglers (Robert Hime, Brad Tyer and Chris Dougan) at 384.  Ken is one of our hardest working and most analytical anglers and deserves this award.  His is a consistent threat at all our event venues and is a great ambassador for the Missouri TBF.

The co-angler of the year was won by Billy Ray.  Since joining our group a few years ago, Billy has quickly proven that he has the skills necessary to catch fish and stay in front of a loaded co-angler field.  Billy led the field with 2 strong events totaling 391 points.  This allowed him to outpace prior champions Jon Small (391 points) and Gary Martin (388 points) along with Clayton Sansoucie (388 points).

We would like to thank all our sponsors for their support this year; Ranger Boats, Lowrance, Humminbird, Minn Kota, Bass Pro Shops, Cabelas, Wholesale Batteries and Power Pole.   Most importantly we would like to thank our members who make all these event’s fun and enjoyable.

Stockton Lake – Qualifier Tournament #2

Your path to the TBF National Championship and MLF All American

Event Details

Day 1 & Day 2

Take off: 5:30 AM CDST, Stockton State Park Marina

Weigh in: 3:00 PM CDST, Stockton State Park Marina

Tournament Director: Tom Kaufmann


Stockton State Park Marina

18610 2000 Rd, Dadeville, MO 65635

(417) 276-5329


Orleans Trail Resort, 15828 S 1525 Rd, Stockton, MO 65785

(417) 276-3566

Off Limits & Additional Information

Off-limits diagram to be posted.

Must be a member of Missouri TBF to compete. Contact: Chris Dougan or Dennis Maggart to become a member. A Missouri fishing license is required. Catch limit: 5; Size limit: 15 inches on all Bass.

Lake of the Ozarks Welcomes Missouri – The Bass Federation Anglers

Transitioning spring weather means fish are on the move!

Author: Dennis Maggart

Mid-Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks hosted the first Qualifying tournament for the Missouri TBF’s 2022 season on March 19th and 20th at the Coffman Beach Ramp. Weather this time of year can always be sketchy, and while practice conditions were tough the weather for Saturday and Sunday could not have been better for this early time of year.  Twenty boaters and nineteen co-anglers took off at 7:00 AM each morning to cool morning temps that hovered around freezing but warmed up throughout the day.  While we had some rain showers on Friday, they did not generate any run-off which kept the lake about 5 ½ feet below normal pool with fairly clear water conditions.  In parts of the lake the warmer water was causing the lake to turn over complicating the pattern for some anglers but overall, the lake was in classic early spring condition.  Water temps varied based on the area of the lake but ranged anywhere from 42-50 degrees in most parts with cooler night-time temperatures keeping the fish lethargic early. 

Saturday mornings temperature was a chilly 32 degrees with a plenty of dampness from the Friday rain still in the air.  A cool morning breeze turned into a stout breeze from the north just before noon but then swung around to the West to allow for a pleasant afternoon of fishing with bright sun.  Day one results were impressive with boaters weighing 59 fish for 137.95 pounds and co-angler adding another 46 fish for 103.88 pounds.  Nine boaters posted limits with Andrew Capps leading with 14.79 pounds followed by Ken Whitfield with 14.57.  On the Co-Angler side James Rice lead the way with 12.05 pounds with only 3 fish.  He was followed closely by Jon Small with 5 fish for 11.59.  On Sunday clear skies made for a cool start with frost on low lying areas but calm winds and bright sun warmed the anglers and the fish up quickly for the last day of the event.   The cooler night did seem to slow the bite down for most of the anglers along with some increased boating pressure.  Day two results showed boaters bagged 46 keepers for 109.01 pounds while the co-anglers chipped in 35 fish for 84.16.  Equally impressive was for the two day event the MO TBF and our anglers returned 186 bass back to the lake alive for a 100% survival rate!  Second day stars on the boater side were Brian Maloney with 5 for 15.48 and Carl Metz on the co-angler side with 12.46. 

Brian Maloney, Boater First Place

Winning the boater side was the home-town favorite Brian Maloney with a 10 fish limit for 27.93 pounds.  Brian kept his approach simple with a jerkbait in shallow water on secondary points.  Having plenty of options on this lake he made a modest run each day to avoid tournament pressure and find the size fish he knew it would take to win the event.  He also added big bass on the boater side on day two to anchor his sack with 5.65 pounds.  Brian not only received two checks but also is now qualified for the TBF National Semi-Final with a stipend to cover his entry fee! 

Ken Whitfield, Boater Second Place

Following just behind Brian in second place was Ken Whitfield.  Falling just short of a limit with 9 fish for 23.67 pounds.  Ken also primarily threw a jerkbait but supplemented it occasionally with an A-rig and jig.  He also ran to find water with the right temperature and water clarity to make these techniques work for a better quality of fish. 

Andrew Capps, Boater Third Place

Finishing 3rd in our final guaranteed qualifying slot was local stick Andrew Capps with 8 fish for 23.32 pounds.  Like the other top guys, Andrew threw a jerkbait and A-rig to sack his keepers in the mid-lake area.  Cashing our final check in 4th place was Tom McGovern with 9 fish for 22.17 pounds.  Tom stayed a little closer to take off but added a wobble head jig to his arsenal to add a few key bites.  Also putting nice sacks on the scale was Chris Dougan (8 for 17.7), new-comer Chance Scott (8 for 17.13) and Troy Ladehoff (10 for 16.93).

Jon Small, Co-angler First Place

The co-angler field was led by perennial contender Jon Small.  Showing his consistency by bringing 10 keepers to the scale for total of 21.44 pounds.  Jon primarily used his jerkbait in traditional LOZ colors to produce lots of shorts and plenty of keepers to put him on top of a very strong co-angler field.  His bite was very shallow and required a subtle action to produce bites, often on the pause.

Billy Ray, Co-angler Second Place

Finishing second was another one of Missouri TBF’s consistent anglers, Billy Ray.  Billy said he had 2 great boaters who put him around fish each day.  He was put in a the right position to throw his finesse jig fishing the back of coves on day one and chunky points on day 2. 

James Rice, Co-angler Third Place

Completing our 3 man state co-angler qualifiers was James Rice.  James had 6 keepers but they were the right ones totaling 19.15 pounds, anchored by the big bass of the entire event at 7.07 pounds!  James used a jig to catch all his fish on a variety of chunk rock and wood.  The big fish came tossing his ½ oz green and purple jig on a laydown in about 10 feet of water. 

Several other co-anglers had a strong event with Carl Metz (7 for 18.5), newcomer Jordan Yakel (8 for 17.79), Josh Lippencott (8 for 17.1) and Jasen Morisaki (6 for 15.51) with second day big bass of 6.35 rounding out the field.

2022 MO-TBF Lake of the Ozarks Qualifiers: Left to right – James Rice, Billy Ray, Jon Small, Brian Maloney, Ken Whitfield, Andrew Capps

Upcoming Qualifier Tournament

While everyone had a great time at Lake of the Ozarks the Missouri TBF has one more Qualifier left on our 2022 schedule.  The second half of our state team will be filled at Stockton Lake on May 14th and 15th.  This should be a great event, with a full field and lots of opportunities to fish the type of water you want.  The timing of the tournament should also have the fish in pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn stages based on the area of the lake you choose.  This event will also be the last opportunity for anglers to get points towards the AOY award and we expect the competition to come down to the wire again.  Our Tournament Director has guaranteed great weather again so please get your entry in early and plan on attending. 

The MO TBF Board would like to thank all our sponsors for the support of this event, Ranger Boats, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Lowrance, TH Marine, Berkley, Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s, Wholesale Batteries and Power Pole. Finally, the Board would like to also thank all the anglers for their participation and support of the Missouri TBF.  Many of our clubs are also beginning their seasons to pick their club champions, which will fill out our field for the TBF National Semi-Final hosted by the Missouri TBF at Stockton Lake on October 1st and 2nd so good luck to everyone!

Lake of the Ozarks up first for Missouri – The Bass Federation Qualifier Tournament Series

Some of Missouri’s best boaters and co-anglers will compete at Lake of the Ozarks for three places to advance to the 2022 TBF Missouri/Kansas National Semi-final and the opportunity to advance to the TBF National Championship for up to $125,000 for Boaters and $35,000 for Co-anglers.

January 2, 2022

ROCKY MOUNT, MO – Missouri TBF has chosen Lake of the Ozarks to host its first tournament qualifier in 2022. The 2-day event on March 19 & 20, 2022 will launch out of Coffman Beach. Entry fees are $150.00 for Boaters and $100.00 for Co-anglers with a 60% angler payback, paying 1 place for every 5 entries. The top three boaters and co-anglers from the event will advance to the TBF National Semi-final at Stockton Lake on October 8 & 9, 2022.

Lake of the Ozarks is arguably the top bass tournament destination in Missouri. The March date for the event should provide the opportunity for some big bags at weigh in. Now is the the time to join Missouri – TBF and put yourself on the path to qualify for the TBF National Championship and MLF BFL All American.

The second tournament qualifier event for Missouri TBF will be held at Stockton Lake, May 14 & 15, 2022.

For additional information on joining Missouri – TBF and the 2022 Missouri – TBF Qualifier Series please reach out to Dennis Maggart or Chris Dougan.