Grab a cup of coffee. This is a long one.
It’s Crappie Masters week on Lake D’Arbonne. And there’s more to the week than you may know. For instance, there are actually THREE important crappie tournaments of note on the lake this week. And by the way, if you want a fishing report, just keep reading…
But first: Battle One, a made-for-TV tournament featuring three local teams of crappie fishermen all using different fishing techniques. It’s being filmed for Crappie Masters TV. Crappie Masters American Ethanol wrap team Terry Richard and Kent Williams will be long-lining the lake Wednesday. Long-lining consists of trolling your lure behind the boat at a specific speed so as to keep the bait at the right depth to catch crappie.
And even though they don’t fish together as a team on the tournament trail, former guide J.C. Morgan and current guide Nick Young will be in the front of the same boat spider rigging. Spider rigging consists of using eight poles spread out around the front of the boat like spider legs. Each is baited with one or two lures and positioned to catch fish at more than one depth. The third team will be long-time crappie ace Bobby Phillips and Drew Tyner of the Honey Hole. They will be single poling. That means each of them will have only one pole, hold it in their hand and fish close to the old fashioned way. With water conditions like they are and most fish still deep, that puts them at a disadvantage for sure. But I wouldn’t them out.
And you’ll be able to find out about the winners right here on lakedarbonnelife.com
Editor’s note: There was almost a fourth team, but I couldn’t find anybody to fish with using a cane pole, red and white bobber, a shiner on a No. 4 gold hook and using a 10-foot tomato stick for a depth finder. Oh well…
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Battle Two — This one comes on Media Day Thursday. Local and area media folks have been invited out to cover a crappie fishing tournament featuring First Reponders. These guys will get to fish with some of the best Crappie Masters pro teams Thursday morning with a weigh-in at around 10:30 a.m. The public is invited to watch at D’Arbonne Pointe!
The distinguished First Responder field includes Union Parish Sheriff Dusty Gates, Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office Commander Steve Williams; Farmerville Fire Chief Billy Jung; West Monroe Fire Chief Todd Smith; Lincoln Parish Fire Chief Kevin Reynolds; and LDWF enforcement agent Sgt. David Harrell. This could get pretty serious. You guys better all make sure and have your current fishing licenses!
These guys will have some awesome guides — Terry Richard/Kent Williams; Kevin Jones/Billy Don Surface; Charlie Bunting/Travis Bunting; David Cox/Steve Hockett;
Josh Gowan/Alex Rude; and Dan Dannenmueller/Sue Dannenmueller Afterwards, the special guests will be treated to a crappie fish fry courtesy of the Union Parish Tourist Commission and J.C. Morgan, who supplies fresh crappie filets each year.
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Battle Three — the big one for the money. Ca$h and prize$ worth almost $40,000! That’s the big one Friday and Saturday out of D’Arbonne Pointe. Weigh-in for the Crappie Masters Louisiana State Championship will begin around 3:30 p.m. each afternoon. Contestants must be in line by 4:30 p.m., in case you are interested in seeing what’s going on.
And don’t forget the Kid’s Rodeo (uh oh…that makes four, doesn’t it?) Saturday at D’Arbonne Pointe. It’s free. BYOP (Bring your own pole) and bait. Registration is from 8-9 a.m. and fishing is 9-10 a.m. It’s for kids 15 and under.
Wait, there’s more. I told you we had a fishing report. Here’s the best insight I can give you into the crappie fishing on Lake D’Arbonne right now. It’s been a weird year so far. But Saturday, 28 teams fished in the Crappie Fishermen United of Louisiana club tournament on the lake. Conditions: nasty weather, rising muddy water, cold.
Tim and Randy Mallou won with seven fish weighing 11.23 pounds. The big un? 2.77 pounds. That’s right. Yes, for mathematically challenged anglers out there, that’s ALMOST THREE POUNDS! Wowzers. Second place went to Travis Lepley with 10.47 pounds and another big un, 2.52 pounds. No wonder fishermen want to come from all over the country for D’Arbonne crappie! Speaking of just that, guess who came in third? Paul Turner of Tennessee with 9.98 pounds. Paul rolled into Farmerville late Friday night and hasn’t seen the lake in a year since winning the Crappie Masters tournament here in 2017. He’s never seen the lake under these kinds of conditions.
The majority of fish are still deep. A lot of them are still hanging close together and it seems the big ones are close to some sort of structure out of the current for most of the time. Amazingly, a lot of fish are hanging right where they normally would in more normal conditions. The exception to that is they are still a bit deeper than normal. They should start to scatter any day. Some may even head to shallower flats but very few are headed shallow to spawn that we’ve heard about. Water temps are coming up some and by the weekend they would really be up, if not for another little friendly two inch rain predicted for Wednesday.
What color are they hitting? You got to be kidding. Nobody’s talking about that, and if they do, you’ve got about as much chance of getting the real news on CNN as you do out of one of the tournament fishermen this week. But here’s a hint. Shiner sales on the lake will be high…
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One final note. This photo below doesn’t look very impressive right now, but these two seats? Every entrant in the Crappie Masters tournament wants to sit in these seats. They are the the Millennium Marine hot seats. Saturday as the top ten from Day One begins to weigh in, the leaders at the time get to sit here. If somebody passes their two-day total weight, then they get to sit there as the new leaders.
The key is to be sitting here AFTER the last fish has been weighed. That means you are the winner! By the way, they are comfortable seats, but it’s been my experience that whoever is sitting in them when they win don’t stay there long. They are usually airborne fairly quickly celebrating their win.
You want more? Here’s a quick look at some more of the details about the tournament and who’s bringing it to you.
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It’s time to get your crappie on. And we’ll be bringing you lots of news about the tournaments this week. It wouldn’t be possible without our sponsors.