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Lake life

Reminder: Spring bringing Crappie Masters

It’s still four months away, but it might be a good time to ask Santa for an entry fee to this event and maybe he’ll bring it to you for Christmas!

Some lucky (well, probably good & lucky) crappie fishermen will be able to find a little financial relief four days after TAX DAY, 2015. That’s because 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! It’s also Crappie Masters first visit to Louisiana!

The format for the tournament will be unique. 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' Mike Vallentine on his recent visit to Farmerville

Crappie Masters’ Mike Vallentine on his recent visit to Farmerville

Crappie Masters pays out over 100% of the entry fees back in cash and prizes. If they 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.

I’ll admit, that entry fee is pretty steep for a couple of average 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 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/

blcrappieCrappie fishing  report: This time last year, crappie anglers were reeling in dozens of fish, but right now, it’s a little slow. There are quite a few folks fishing and some having good results, but many of the fish are small. Most of the fish are being caught around the bridges with action a little better (but more fishermen as well) at the Bernice bridge. Don’t panic. Every year is different. Things just aren’t right yet. The big D’Arbone winter bite is still ahead. I’d bet my favorite B’n’M Duck Commander Double Touch crappie rod on it.



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