By Don Lowe 

Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees will be overflowing with more than 1,000 anglers hoping to take home a grand monetary payday of $100,000 for reeling in the biggest bass at a two-day competition next month during the Big Bass Bash presented by Honey Creek Outdoors. 

Donnie Crain, president of Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, indicated that participants in this extravaganza are “in large part, amateurs or former pros who no longer fish the main tournaments. And the biggest fish wins.” 

For the most part, Crain noted competitors in this large tourney field will mostly be “every day, casual anglers.” 

Along with the grand prize winner, Crain said, “The second-place overall finisher gets $15,000 and third place wins $10,000. Other prizes vary by places. There are 160 bi-hourly payouts (20 places paid at the following time slots: 6-8 am, 8:01-10 am, 10:01 am-12 pm and 12:01-2 pm).” 

Determining the overall champion is cut and dried, and Crain said, “It’s simple. Biggest bass wins for the top prizes. The fish are weighed at Wolf Creek Park, Southwinds Marina and Hammerhead Marina. 

“The Big Bass Bash is put on by Midwest Fish Tournaments. Aside from Grand Lake, there are two similar events at Lake of the Ozarks during the spring and fall of 2022.” 

There are always several businesses and organizations that graciously get involved to help make events like this happen, and Crain saluted some of those, including Midwest Fish Tournaments, the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA), the City of Grove, the Grove Convention & Tourism Bureau, Honey Creek Outdoors and Cherokee Casino-Grove. 

As for what makes these waters in Northeast Oklahoma such an attractive location for tournaments of this size, Crain said, “Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees offers great fishing, first and foremost. 

“The large size of the lake allows many people to participate and enjoy the fun. It is also an opportunity for many to fish the same waters where the pros fish.” 

Ultimately, what makes Crain most proud to be a part of this is the format. “It is a great event that young and old all can truly enjoy. 

“Plus, anyone can be the big winner. All it takes is the right person, at the right spot, catching the right fish at just the right time. It just doesn’t get any more fun than that.” 

The combination of competitive fishing at a venue that is nothing short of perfect helps create an ideal setting for all those from the Four-State Region who venture to Grove for this event.

Big Bass Bash Fishing Tournament
Fast Facts 

What: Big Bass Bash presented by Honey Creek Outdoors   

When: Saturday, May 21, and Sunday, May 22, from 6 am-2 pm. Weigh-ins take place both days at various locations. Awards ceremonies also both days at 3 pm at Wolf Creek Park.    

Where: Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, Grove, Oklahoma.  

Why: Anticipating more than 1,200 anglers
competing to be the $100,000 grand prize winner with
more than $194,000 total payout in prizes.

How to Enter: For online and printable entry forms and contest rules visit  Enter online until Saturday, May 21, at 7 am. By mail, the deadline to enter is Monday, May 9, and entry can be sent to Midwest Fish Tournaments, PO Box 8564, St. Louis, MO 63126. There’s also an in-person registration Friday, May 20, at Cherokee Casino-Grove from 12-7 pm. 


See more photos in the April 2022 print edition of Show Me the Ozarks Magazine