This winter I will be publishing a series of articles entitled the “Ohio Bass Tournament Spotlight”. Each article in the series will feature one of Ohio’s top tournament circuits, and will include a Q & A with that circuit’s director. In the spotlight this week is Team Bass Xtreme (“T.B.X.”).
T.B.X. is an organization that runs five regionally located team circuits around Ohio, as well as an “individual” series where boaters compete against each other without the help of a co-angler. T.B.X. was founded by Phil Carver, a seasoned tournament director who has been running tournaments in Ohio for nine years. T.B.X. is a 100% payback circuit, and hosts a season-ending Classic that pays big prizes. With almost 40 tournaments on the docket for 2012, chances are there will be a T.B.X. event held on a lake near you this season. You can visit the T.B.X. website at www.teambassxtreme.com.
In a recent interview with Ohiobassblog, Carver answered questions about what makes T.B.X. a great choice for any tournament angler.
Ohiobassblog: What are some of the aspects of your tournaments that contribute to T.B.X.’s great reputation amongst Ohio tournament anglers?
Phil Carver: I believe there are a number of factors that contribute to the success of our circuit. The most important is that we strive to be a 100% live-release organization. We are always expressing to our anglers the importance of handling their catch, and we have an awesome weigh-in setup to allow us to limit fish handling and thus keep the stress levels on the fish to a minimum. I invite everyone to stop by any of our Central Division events and see for yourself just how much effort we put into our processes.
Another advantage of fishing T.B.X. is that we offer five different divisions for anglers to choose from. These divisions fish lakes that are located in different geographic areas around the state, so chances are, there is a T.B.X. circuit that fishes a “home area” of lakes close to you! With rising fuel costs and a down economy, we are able to offer Ohio anglers professionally run events without the expense of excessive travel. In addition to minimizing travel costs for our anglers, we feel that these “home areas” make our events more competitive. Competitors have the opportunity to compete on waters that they are familiar with, and because the lakes are local, pre-fishing is more convenient.
Anglers who fish our events also have the opportunity to compete in our annual T.B.X. Classic event, which we always hold on an Ohio lake. The event is two days long, and is held on a weekend to help accommodate anglers who can’t take time from work to fish during the week.
Ohiobassblog: Can interested teams still sign up for your 2012 circuits?
Phil Carver: Absolutely! We begin accepting membership applications for our Team Series as well as our Elite Series on January 1st every year. Interested anglers can complete a membership application by visiting our website at www.teambassxtreme.com. We also accept memberships on-location at any of our events throughout the season (the only exclusion would be if we have a full field participating in the event).
Ohiobassblog: Are there any exciting changes to this year’s format that you would like to share?
Phil Carver: There are. First is that we recently gave our website a face lift. We still have a ton of work left to do, but I can guarantee that it’s now faster to navigate and more appealing to everyone. We are working on setting up a system to allow us to post event results and pictures in a more timely fashion for the 2012 season as well.
Second is that we anticipate paying out a LOT of prizes at our T.B.X. Classic this year. Last season we awarded those anglers who qualified for the Classic with over $18,000 in cash and prizes. This season we have a total of five divisions scheduled for our Team Series, which should boost this year’s Classic payout above and beyond 2011. We plan to announce the location of the Classic as soon as sponsors for the event are set in stone.
Ohiobassblog: What kind of participation do you anticipate for the upcoming season? Which of these events do you see bringing in the biggest bags?
Phil Carver: We limit our fields to 60 teams in our Team Series events. This will be the second year for most of these divisions, and we anticipate that the number of participating teams will increase this year. I believe the word is out that we run a great event. I’ve received many emails and phone calls from anglers looking to participate this season.
To answer the second part of your question, I believe that the Clear Fork Reservoir events will again produce the largest weights for the upcoming season. Then I would have to say that it will be followed by the Burr Oak Lake event.
Ohiobassblog: You are also hosting a number of open tournaments this year. Tell us about them.
Phil Carver: Our open events are set up to allow anyone looking to fish a tournament the opportunity to do so without being a member of a club or circuit. These events offer some great payouts, as well as awesome prizes for everyone to enjoy!
The open event that I personally enjoy the most is our annual Father’s Day Open. This event just seems to put a smile on everyone’s face. There is always a great diversity of anglers who participate in the event, and although we see a ton of new faces every year, we also see a lot of teams who come back year after year. These are usually the teams consisting of family members, whether it be father-son or father-daughter. These folks are out to have a great time and experience a nice bonding experience, which we are so happy to provide them with.
Last season we also hosted our Xtreme Bucks Ultimate Two Day Open on Alum Creek Lake. This year it will be held on Indian Lake, and can pay up to $4,000 to the winning team if we get a full field. We expect to see a full field this year…who wouldn’t want to win $4,000!
For a complete listing of T.B.X. sponsored open tournaments, check out our website.
Ohiobassblog: Finding great sponsors to back you is an important factor in offering a successful tournament circuit. Who are your sponsors?
Phil Carver: We are fortunate to have some unbelievable companies supporting our circuit. Currently Boat Boys, which has locations in Newark and on Buckeye Lake, is our biggest supporter. They offer Skeeter and Xpress boat packages. Our anglers really benefit from the support that Boat Boys provides T.B.X with. As part of their sponsorship program, anyone who purchases a new Skeeter from Boat Boys will receive paid entry fees for the 2012 season in the division of their choice.
R&R Bait and Tackle, located in downtown Columbus, is another major supporter of T.B.X. They have been such a great company to deal with, and have been a sponsor of ours for a number of years. They offer all of our members a 10% discount on all purchases in their store.
Our other fine sponsors include Hookerz Tackle, Bass Bombs Custom Tackle, Venom Lures, Warrior Baits, and the Bay View Inn at Rocky Fork Lake. All of these sponsors offer our anglers great products and discounts.
I can’t stress enough how much the support of these sponsors benefits our circuits. Without their help, we could not offer the great angling experience that we do. These companies truly believe in our anglers, and are willing to take money and products out of their own pockets in order to show their support. In return for their generosity, our anglers always try to do business with our sponsors, if possible.
Ohiobassblog: Your T.B.X. Elite Series has become very popular. Can you tell us a little about this format?
Phil Carver: The T.B.X. Elite Series is a circuit that caters to those anglers who like to compete on a one-on-one basis. The events are set up for boaters only, without non-boater or co-angler participants. For the 2012 season, the Elite Series schedule consists of eight events, held on five different lakes. In the past we rotated between three lakes, and we feel that the addition of new waters to the schedule will create a new level of excitement and parody amongst the field. Events are held on Sundays from safe light until 12:30 p.m., which allows anglers to get home at a decent hour to spend some time with their families.
Ohiobassblog: What is your favorite public body of water for bass fishing here in Ohio?
Phil Carver: My personal favorite has to be Indian Lake. There’s just so much water and so many secluded areas that allow me to sneak away and feel at one with nature. It also offers a variety of cover and structure to choose from – rip rap banks, wood, docks, seawalls, and let’s not forget about the giant pad fields. Fish can be caught just about anywhere!
Ohiobassblog: What is the largest 5 fish limit you have every weighed in an Ohio tournament?
Phil Carver: I was fortunate enough to weigh in a 5 fish limit at Clear Fork Reservoir during an evening tournament in 1993 that weighed almost 27 pounds! Believe it or not, weights this large are not all that uncommon on this awesome body of water.
Ohiobassblog: What is the largest bass you’ve ever caught in Ohio?
Phil Carver: My largest bass weighed 7-11, and was caught at Clear Fork Reservoir.