2018 Day One Top-10 Shown: Lippincott/Treffery, McBroom/English, Marlow/McMannis, Ratchford/Ratchford, King/Gross, Campbell/Whitney, Cooper/Cooper, Ohl/Hall, Mokuahi/Kassman, Smith/Wilson
The Nixon's Marine Invitational is held each year on Moses Lake, in Washington. This is one of the premier lakes in the state and it is held at the perfect time of year for the big largemouth and smallmouth that swim in the lake.
The event regularly attracts the best-of-the-best in the state and features a $10,000 payday.
For 2018, the event blasted off on May 5 -6.
UNIQUE Tournament Format
The tournament is a two-day event; but, has a unique format as only the top-10 make the 2nd day cut and the weights start over at zero and the top-10 compete for the $10K.
This adds strategy as anglers want to catch enough to fish another day; but also, they don’t want to catch everything in their areas and have nothing left on the final day.
Since the weights are typically high, anglers can never be too safe.
This year it took 19.34 pounds to make the final field cut.
To give you a better understanding of the quality of fish in the lake, 36 of the 88 teams brought in excess of 17-pounds to the scales.
1st Place - $10,000
Justin Campbell and Travis Whitney
Campbell and Whitney had a solid bag of 19.95 pounds on the 1st day and had the 6th highest bag to qualify for Sunday.
They knew that wouldn’t be enough on the final day and changed their focus from smallmouth to largemouth.
“This was one of the times where we swung for the fences and it actually worked,” said Campbell. “We caught all of our smallmouth the first day on beds and decided we would target largemouth on Sunday to go for the win.”
“Instead of looking for bedding fish we started off flipping reed lines and were able to catch two five pound largemouth to get us going. Then we decided to target bedding smallmouth again to fill our limit and were able to catch three in the three-pound class. That wouldn’t be enough for the win, but they were not done.
“We saw a big largemouth cruising down the bank and I threw towards it and she ate it right away. It ended up being our biggest fish, a 5.69 that we caught in the final hour. This catch was enough to push them over the top and take the win.”
This team has fished the event for the last five years. They have had success and made the final day cut; but this was their first win. Their 21.40 pounds was good enough to take home the biggest prize in Washington bass fishing.
2nd Place – $5,400
Dave Marlow and Steve McMannis
Marlow and McMannis were the most consistent; but unfortunately, that doesn’t matter in this format. They weighed in 20.83 and a nearly identical 20.89 on the 2nd day.
The team has had great success during this event over the years, but, will have to wait another year for a chance at the win.
“This was the 4th time finished 2nd and we have also finished 3rd. One of these years we are going to win it,” said McMannis.
Besides having nearly identical weights both days, they also had the same mix of smallmouth and largemouth each day with three smallmouth and two largemouth being part of both day's final catch.
“We spent time fishing for smallmouth each day on beds,’ he said. “It is a rare year in this event where the smallmouth are not spawning. It was tough to see the beds the first day, because it was overcast. We also tried to find stretches of beds that haven’t been pounded on by everyone else.”
Their largemouth both days came by flipping reeds and docks.
“About half came from docks and the rest were on reeds,” added McMannis.
Big Bass of the Nixon's $10K Invitational
In this big money event, the big bass award also comes a giant payday. This year, Spokane’s Joe Choiniere was the angler who took home the plaque and more importantly, the $4,050 prize.
Fishing with Dan Rice, Choiniere landed a 7.14 largemouth that took top honors.
“I was flipping a big mop jig with a Reaction Innovations Double Wide Beaver trailer to docks and halfway back from a smaller dock she ate it,” he said and added that there were no visible beds nearby.
The Moses Lake Invitational regularly attracts the best teams in the state and this year was no different. Eighty-eight teams were all vying for the $10,000 first prize and bragging rights until next year’s event.