This is the first of a two-part series:
There’s good news for Lake D’Arbonne crappie fishermen:
Some lucky (well, good & lucky) crappie fishermen will be able to find a little financial relief four days after TAX DAY, 2015. That’s because Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters is headed to Lake D’Arbonne for its first-ever professional crappie tournament on the Union Parish Lake on April 18, 2015. This is a big deal for Lake D’Arbonne and our entire parish, area and state!
The format for the tournament will be unique. Tentative plans call for anglers to be able to fish any one of three area lakes — D’Arbonne, Claiborne or Caney. Weigh in will be in a central location, probably Ruston. While the field will draw fishermen from around the country,
it will also be a chance for local and area crappie fisherman to show their stuff.
In fact, according to Crappie Masters President Mike Vallentine, most of the organization’s tournaments are won by locals. I expect that to happen here.
Crappie Masters pays out over 100% of the entry fees back in cash and prizes. If we have a 50 boat turnout then the payback will be around $12,000.00 in cash and prizes. The entry fee for a one day national qualifier is $200.00 per boat with two fishermen. I expect that the field will be much larger than that and this first ever big pro tournament will draw one of Crappie Master’s larger crowds.
That entry fee is pretty steep for a couple of crappie fisherman, but the rewards for the winners are great. And we’ve got some great crappie fishermen in this area. It will be interesting to see how they fare against the “pro” fishermen who fish tournaments all the time around the country. There’s more than money at stake — local crappie fishermen will want to make a good showing.
Here’s an interesting fact I got from Vallentine while visiting with him last week here in Farmerville: Nearly 60% of the Crappie Masters tournaments are won by locals.
Here’s a brief rundown on what Vallentine says Crappie Masters is all about.
“It’s a crappie fishing tournament trail with a goal of providing a professional crappie fishing trail for crappie anglers and to provide a crappie trail that grass roots anglers and families can enjoy and compete for great prizes. Our goal is to promote, enhance and preserve our outdoor heritage and specifically crappie fishing. They promote national sponsors, local sponsors and area lake sponsors that want to share products, services and lake tourism areas.
“Crappie Masters holds various activities other than tournaments in an effort to promote crappie fishing, tournament fishing and our outdoor way of life. Crappie fishing seminars and classes are an example. At each tournament, Crappie Masters holds a free kids fishing rodeo where kids fish for fun and prizes. Prizes and sample packages from sponsors ensure each child goes home with something.”
You can learn more about Crappie Masters and keep up with tournaments and results at http://www.crappiemasters.net/home/
Tomorrow: How Crappie Masters got its start; how they ended up on Lake D’Arbone, Vallentine’s impression of our area lakes and more…