Terry and Cole Stewart, the father and son team from Jackson, Miss., carried their first day lead to championship trophies and a new $26,200 Ranger fishing rig Saturday afternoon as winners of the American Crappie Trail Ouachita River tournament. The duo caught a two-day total of to break the 20 pound mark in tough conditions, something most folks didn’t think would happen. Their two seven day limits weighed 20.35.
It couldn’t have come on a better stage for the duo, former residents of the Monroe area. Among a large contingent of friends and family on hand for the weigh-in were Terry’s 85 year old aunt Georgia May Gritzmacher and 89 year old uncle Bill “Sonny” Stewart, both of Monroe.
“Man, I think it was a lot on them,” Terry said. “They’ve been putting up some special prayers for us this weekend and we give the credit to the man upstairs.”
The duo won the tournament fishing on the lower end of Bayou D’Arbonne, mostly with double minnow rigs. We’ll share more details about their approach and how they caught them later this week in lakedarbonnlife.com
The Stewarts won their fist ACT tournament last year on Sardis in Mississippi and are now the only two-time winners on the ACT.
Tim Blackley and Paul Turner came in a close second with . They were not as happy as if they would have won, but wished the champions the best. they had two limits weighing 19.53 and won $6,850.00.
“Hey, these guys are among the best of the best,” Blackley, a legend in the sport, said. “It’s great to see a father and son team come out on top and they deserve it.”
James Morgan and his son Chuck led the Local 318 contingent of fishermen with 17.59 for an eighth place finish and won $1,600. Nick and Jock Young finished 17th and Ken Myers and Mark Taylor were the other locals in the top 20 in 19th place.
Anglers had a tough time on the river after thunderstorms to the north raised the river level by nearly a foot between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. A lot of areas that were producing good fish also turned muddy and the fish didn’t like it. There was also a ton of boat traffic and anglers fishing in river lakes and all the way up Bayou D’Arbonne to the spillway found themselves competing with lots of local non-tournament anglers today. That wasn’t unexpected, but made Day Two a tough one.
The top 30 are listed below. Hats off to Matt Morgan and the American Crappie Trail for a great tournament and circuit. This is a classy group of anglers and as more than one said from the weigh-in stand, “it’s a family of fishermen and great men and women”. The circuit has one more stop this year at Truman Lake before they begin their 2019 tournaments with their national championship.
That may well be the biggest tournament to ever hit this area, hosted on Lake D’Arbonne March 28-30, 2019. To get there, you have to qualify through regular tournaments like the ACT Ouachita River event.
Sponsors of the touranment include Rockport Rattler Lucas Oil Outdoor Line Lucas Oil Marine Products Protect The Harvest B’n’M Poles Engel Coolers General Tire SuperClean Mid-State Seed Midsouth Tackle Company Frontier Metal Ranger Boats Evinrude ABERNATHY’S HARLEY DAVIDSON Tti Blakemore Fishing Group Power-Pole Total Boat Control Rod Sox “The Original” American Angler Driftmaster Rod Holders ProBuilt Jigs Crappie NOW Bobby Garland Crappie Baits Grizzly Jig Company Charlie Brewer’s Slider Company Skipper’s Jigs and West Monroe, Louisiana