2023 District 8 National Semi-Finals Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota

When District 8 Semi Final host Nebraska announced that the National Semi Finals would be held on Lake Okoboji September 22nd-23rd anglers were filled with excitement. Lake Okoboji is located in the NW corner of Iowa and is debatably the best fishery in the Midwest stacking up nationally against many juggernauts.  20lb bags are common on Okoboji anytime of year and 25lb+ bags are not a rare occurrence.  Often 20lbs at Okoboji will not make the top 5! Lake Okoboji consistently proves itself as the best fishery in the state. Okoboji provides a unique opportunity for anglers to spread out between  the deep and clear water in West Okoboji or the shallower and more stained lakes consisting of East Okoboji, Upper and Lower Gar. 20lb+ bags can come out of every lake in the Okoboji chain making it an appealing destination to all anglers and fishing styles.

This event at Okoboji proved no different. On Day 1, Nick Siepker  had the big bag of the event with 26.92lb and held the lead over Chard Garton who weighed in 23.01lb. Rounding out the top 3 was former college angler, Charlie DeShazer bringing in 21.40.  This event was nowhere near from over as many anglers crossed the 20lb mark and were hot on their heels going into day 2.

  1. Kent Priel – 21.40, 1998 Bassmaster Classic Qualifier
  2. Jared Knuth – 20.60, 2013 Bassmaster Classic Qualifier
  3. Hunter Suchsland – 20.25 – 2023 Bassmaster College National Championship, 10thplace finisher

Strong storms moved in overnight, but cleared just in time for takeoff and showed back up for a wet weigh in!   The weather definitely changed the game for day 2 as there was a lot of movement up and down the leaderboard.

On Day 2, Charlie DeShazer brought in 17.52 to finish 6th overall.  Joe “The Zark” McKay came charging from behind weighing 24.89lbs anchored by a 7.78lb largemouth to finish 5th overall.  Hunter Suchsland stayed consistent and brought in 19.53lbs to finish 4.  Jordan Hirt, the 2022 Bass Federation National Champion weighed 19.92lbs to finish 3rd overall.

At the end of Day 2 it came down to the wire! Nick Siepker weighed only 15.28lbs leaving the door open for Chad Garton.  Chad also had a slower day weighing  in 18.43lbs. Chad’s two day total was 41.44lbs.  In the end only .76lbs separated the two anglers, but Garton was unable to close the gap with Siepker’s two day total weighing 42.20lbs and winning the District 8, 2023 Semi-finals.

On the co-angler side, Iowa High School State Champion Ways Raasch won District 8, 2023 Semi-finals with 31.57lbs, besting the closest angler by over 2.5 pounds!

2. Hunter Fry – 28.96
3. Mark Moorman – 27.67
4. Jon Small – 25.98
5. Hunter King – 25.97
6. Brad Rockford – 24.98

The following anglers were the top placing finishers in their state and will be going to The Bass Federation National Championship in 2024.

Angler: Nick Siepker
Co-Angler: Mark Moorman

South Dakota
Angler: Troy Diede
Co-Angler: Terry Laverack

Angler: Joe “The Zark” McKay

Co-Angler: Ways Raasch

We would like to thank TBF Nebraska as they were the host state for this year National Semi Final.  We would also like to thank Bob Harris with South West Iowa Fishing Team for providing his equipment and announcing skills. In combo the pair put together an excellent National Semi Final that left anglers impressed and looking forward to next year.  Special thanks to all anglers who fished with Iowa in our inaugural year. Iowa TBF was formed quickly  in 2023 and was announced after most anglers already had there year planned out. We look forward to growing this state chapter in the years to come and with your support the sky is the limit. Until next year it is time to cheer on our anglers that will be representing Iowa at the TBF National Championship in spring of 2024. Congratulations to Joe McKay and Ways Raasch for qualifying and we look forward to cheering you both on at Nationals in your pursuit of winning the Living the Dream Package!