The highly anticipated 4th Annual Berkley Big Bass Tournament was full of excitement October 17&18, 2009. Taking place on the pride of Texas Parks&Wildlife's Lake Fork, known for its big bass, new participation records were set. Thirteen places were paid each hour over the two day course for a total of 182 hourly winners! In a addition to the hourly paybacks the two grand prizes were awarded – a Skeeter SX200 powered by a Yamaha 200 for the biggest bass over the slot, and a Skeeter SX190 powered by a Yamaha 150 for the biggest bass under the slot. In the end, there was a tie for the biggest bass overall! Lake Fork Marina has been the host of this tournament since it began four years ago. It is a big bass tournament with a twist. Being a specialty tournament, only Berkley products could be used. The event has continued to grow each year and set new records this year with 747 contestants. Each morning of competition started out chilly, in the low 40's with temperatures rising under blue bird skies to around the 70 degree mark. With all of the recent rains over the watershed, the gates at the dam were open and the water had a steady current keeping the bass unsettled. Additionally, there were many reports of difficulty getting to the backs of coveted coves due to water hyacinth. The covey of anglers were not daunted. At 8:00 Saturday morning the scales opened, and the mark to beat was made by Jimmy Callahan of Colleyville, TX with an 8.96 lb bass. The next five hours of the tournament, only bass under the slot were weighed.On Lake Fork, bass ranging from 16" to 24" are protected and illegal to possess. Only bass under 16" or over 24" are considered legal. It wasn't until the last hour on Saturday that another bass over the slot was weighed. Bob Roberts of Longview, TX weighed in an 8.96 lb bass and the tie for biggest bass was underway!At 8am Sunday, the scales were opened again for the start of day two. Robert Eaves won the 10:00 hour with the third bass over the slot brought in weighing 8.12 lbs. At 1:00, the last bass over the slot was registered by Bobby Bullard of Granbury, TX at 7.76 lbs. Two different anglers brought in the heaviest bass of the tournament! The tie had to be broken to determine the winner of the Skeeter SX200/Yamaha 200 bass rig. "We had a tie situation a few years back that resulted in a one hour fish off, and when neither angler caught a fish during the hour, they both decided to flip a coin for a brand new Skeeter." explained Chad Potts, tournament director. "To remedy the situation if it ever happened again, we put a new tie breaker rule in place that made the decision come down to the angler's second fish." According to the rule, whichever tying angler weighed in the next heaviest bass would win. Bob Roberts had only weighed in one other fish over the course of the event weighing 1.66 lbs. Jimmy Callahan, however, never weighed in another fish so the new boat was won by Bob Roberts!Roberts was already a Skeeter / Yamaha owner. When presented with his grand prize, he said "My wife will be happy – no she can have her own boat too!" Chad invited Mrs. Roberts to the stage, where the happy couple kissed and sealed the deal.There were a whole lot of bass under 16" weighed in, and the second Skeeter / Yamaha was awarded to the angler who weighed the biggest in that category. Jimmy Qualls of Euless, TX won this boat with a 3.08 lb bass he weighed in on day two during the 9:00 hour. Jimmy caught his fish using a Texas rigged Berkley Power Hawg. He knew it was a good one as soon as he got in the boat. Jimmy Qualls stated, "Short & Fat is the perfect combination for these under fish. I knew if it was under 16 inches then it could be heavy enough to win the boat." Jimmy continued, "I can't believe it's over and I get to take that boat home. It's been a really long few hours waiting on the scales to close, but, it's official. I'm pumped!" Berkley representative Andrew Marks addressed the crowd at the conclusion of the ceremonies. "We'd like to thank all of you for coming out to Lake Fork and participating in our tournament. For Berkley, it is the marquis event, and the biggest specialty tournament of its kind. In fact, thanks to all of you, it is so successful that we are now branching out and having more Berkley tournaments in other parts of the country. By having tournaments such as this, it gives us at Berkley an opportunity to meet you – the anglers using our products, and get feedback about the baits from you. It helps us become a better manufacturer, continuing to give you better products."Chad Potts, tournament director for the event, let everyone know that plans were already underway to make next year's 5th Annual Berkley Big Bass tournament even better. "Among other things already in the works for next year, we are opening up a Youth category. It will give the kids an opportunity to compete for separate trophies and prizes. Stay tuned to www.BassChamps.com for more details and tournament dates!"