Terry Thomas of Nixa, Missouri, took first place, $2,967, plus 50 CITGO Challenge Points for winning the Red Man Plains Division qualifier held Sunday on Grand Lake. Thomas brought in five bass totaling 26 pounds, 12 ounces, to top a field of 185 anglers competing for $10,712.
Thomas flipped a brown/orange jig and saltcraw to willows for his limit. Second place and $1,484 went to Roger Dial of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, for five bass weighing 21 pounds, 7 ounces. Dial flipped willow trees with a chartreuse, willow leaf spinnerbait. Third place and $871 went to Jeff Tipton of Afton, Oklahoma, for five bass weighing 20 pounds, 9 ounces. Tipton fished bluff points with a white spinnerbait. Dean McDonald of Columbus, Kansas, took fourth place with five bass weighing 17 pounds, 3 ounces, worth $558. McDonald fished lay-downs with a spinnerbait and a brush hog. Fifth place was a three-way tie and $470 went to Jerome Wieberg of St. Thomas, Missouri, for four bass; Darryl Ziegler of Omaha, Nebraska, for five bass; and Dave Gatlin of Lincoln, Nebraska, for five bass, weighing 16 pounds, 6 ounces. Wieberg fished steep rock banks with a crankbait. Ziegler fished shallow wood and rock with a crankbait and a jig-and-craw. Gatlin fished shallow bushes with a green-pumpkin brush hog.
Rounding out the top positions were: (8) Bert Quimby, Grove, Oklahoma, five bass, 16 pounds, 3 ounces, $353; (9) Danny Barnes, Webb City, Missouri, three bass, 15 pounds, 10 ounces, $294; (10) Wayne Diffee, Oakhurst, Oklahoma, five bass, 15 pounds, 7 ounces, $243.
Keith Wagner won the Abu Garcia Big Bass Award of $1,000 for a 8 pound, 6 ounce bass.
Scott Stephenson of Topeka, Kansas, is leading the Mississippi Division Ranger Millennium big bass race with a 7 pound, 12 ounce bass. The Ranger boat owner who catches the largest bass in each Red Man division over the course of the season, will qualify to enter the Ranger M1 Millenium tournament.
At the completion of the six Red Man qualifying events, the top 30 anglers, determined on a basis of pounds and points, will move onto Regional Championship competition. There they will compete against the top 30 fishermen from three other divisions for a Dream Rig consisting of a Chevy truck and a full-rigged Ranger bass boat powered by an Evinrude or Johnson outboard (only two divisions compete in the Western Regional for a fully-rigged Ranger bass boat) and a spot in the Red Man All-American in Hot Springs, Arkansas, May 8-13, 2000, where the winner will receive $100,000.
The rookie advancing farthest along the Red Man Trail will win the Old Milwaukee NA Rookie-of-the-Year Award.
All Red Man tournaments are catch and release events. Operation Bass historically maintains a 98 percent live release rate throughout the tournament season.