Tennessee Bass Federation's East Divisional Tournament wrapped Saturday in Lenoir City, and TBF director David Daniel said he could not have been happier with the result.
"It went outstanding," he said. "We could not have had a better tournament. All the anglers were happy. Just about everybody caught fish."
Daniel said part of what made the tournament a success was the location.
"We could not ask for a better place," he said. "Great community. This ramp area is one of the easiest places to have a tournament. It's not a steep ramp, it has plenty of parking, easy in, easy out. It's just a great place to have a tournament."
Mark Pirkle led the tournament after day one, catching four fish weighing a total of 9.11 pounds. Pirkle said he was surprised that nobody brought in more and expected that to change in day two.
Daniel said after day one he felt the tournament was wide open because nobody had truly separated themselves from the pack. As it would turn out, both Pirkle and Daniel were right.
On Saturday, it was John Talton, of Chattanooga Bass Club, who would grab the lead with five fish weighing 10.99 pounds. The total of 16.11 pounds was good enough to lift Talton from 17th to first.
"It was tough," Talton said of the fishing conditions on Fort Loudoun Lake over the weekend.
Clarence Johnston Jr. made an even bigger leap on the last day, catching 11.77 pounds of fish for a 14.86 total and a jump from 34th to second.
Brandon Sims, who finished fourth overall, came away with the big fish of the tournament, his catch weighing in at 5.12 pounds. The catch helped lift his team, Sparta Bass, to the No. 1 spot with 34.66 pounds, just 1.36 more than second-place Harrison Bassmasters Federated Club.
"That was great to be able to do my part on helping them get that," Sims said. "This event was a team event."
Sims said he caught the fish using a 3/8 ounce jig in the Ish Creek area. His finish was good enough to put him on the TBF state team.
"It's my first time to get to come to this event, and then I get to move on," he said. "That's the reason I joined our club was to get the chance to move on."
Others making the state team were third-place Doug Long, fifth-place Steven Rogers and Pirkle, who finished sixth.
Daniel said he was happy with the results and felt the state team would be a strong one this year. "These guys, they worked hard to get where they're at," he said. "These winners are all good fishermen."
Clayton Pangle, of the Loudon County Visitors Bureau, said he was pleased with how things went as well.
"I thought it was really professionally run," Pangle said. "It went off very smoothly. The president of the organization really set the tempo when he gave instructions registration night. Folks were good fishermen, but they were also good stewards of the TVA launch ramp area."