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Lake life

Richard & Rayner are Crappie Masters!

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Crappie Masters Champs Casey Rayner and Terry Richard

“Show Me” State anglers from Missouri dominated the top ten of the Louisiana State Crappie Championship on Lake D’Arbonne after Day One. On Day Two, West Monroe’s Terry Richard and Casey Rayner decided they had better show the home lake crappie just who was boss.

They did. In a big way.

The locals moved from third to first to win the first ever Louisiana State Crappie Masters championship with back-to-back seven fish limits weighing an awesome  28.0 pounds to master the field. That included pocketing a $6,000 first place check Saturday afternoon at D’Arbonne Pointe in Farmerville.

So how did they feel?

“First, it’s a shocker,” said Richard. “I just knew somebody was going to blow us off the stage up here. “It’s amazing. There are so many good people around here pulling for us. We have a lot of great local sponsors and no matter what we did, people were happy for us. We got all kinds of encouragement after yesterday.”

“It is great,” Rayner added. “It’s just awesome. That’s it. That’s all I’ve got.”

Needless to say, as the anticipation of naming a winner grew, they were among the favorites of the approximately 400 fishing fans who showed up for the weigh-in.

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Josh Chipman and Josh Gowan

New Farmerville resident Josh Gowan, who has set up a crappie guide business on the lake, and partner Josh Chipman of Missouri, finished second in the tournament with 27.54 pounds for two days. They won $3,500 for their efforts. TV host Karl Kalonka and traveling pro Tim Blackley were third with 26.65 and won $2,500.

The comeback of the day was by father-son Arkansas anglers and Denali Pros David and Steve White. They started Day Two in 32nd place, but brought in the big stringer of the tournament — 7 fish weighing 15.43 pounds. They would have moved up even further, but the first day they left two of their biggest 7 fish in a front overflow livewell that they forgot were there.

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David and Steve White

First day leaders Kevin Jones and Billy Don Surface slipped to 18th after the second day. Big fish of the tournament was caught by Greg London of Arkansas at 2.53 pounds.

Back to the winners. Richards and Rayner are no strangers to crappie fishing tournaments. They are well known for their prowess in the area and it’s no surprise to those that know them. But more than their knowledge of the lake and ability to fish different techniques, it was an intangible that led them to the win.

“The key was persistence,” Richard said. “We knew the fish were there, but sometimes there was a long time between bites. We just had to be persistent. The first day we started up near the Hwy. 2 bridge on a ditch on the outside edge of the channel with double minnow rigs probably two feet off the bottom. But we weren’t catching the kind of fish we needed, so we changed the boat setup over to long lining and headed for a flat north of the Hwy. 33 bridge. That’s where they won the tournament.

“We found some really good ones there late Saturday morning, but our biggest fish was dying and we went ahead weighed in about noon (almost four hours early). We started back in that same place this morning and we culled 1 3/4 pound fish all day.”

There is a penalty for weighing in dead fish in the tournament so they did not want that to cost them on Saturday. On the flats, they pulled curly tail crappie lures on B’n’M poles and actually fished more shallow than most of the anglers. They were fishing in 12-14 feet of water finding fish 7-8 feet deep. Also key to their victory was being able to sync their Motor Guide trolling motor with the Lowrance electronics and stay in the precise areas they wanted to fish. They are also sponsored locally by the Honey Hole and Catfish Charlie’s.

Seventy-five teams fished in the event with the average fish weighed in a 1.60 pounds. It was an amazing showing for the crappie on D’Arbonne.

We will have lots more on the tournament and how the contenders caught their fish in the coming days on lakedarbonnelife.com.  Stay tuned.

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Big fish winner Greg London with his 2.53 pound D’Arbonne slab

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 Lot of things going on today! This just in:

HOUMA, La. –– Tyler Stewart and Nick Joiner from the University of Louisiana-Monroe led wire-to-wire to take the title at the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Central Regional presented by Bass Pro Shops on the Atchafalaya Basin with a three-day total of 42 pounds even.

On Championship Saturday, the duo put 14 pounds, 14 ounces in the boat to officially pull away from the field. They entered the final frame with just over a 4-pound cushion, and with the help of the second biggest limit of the tournament, Stewart and Joiner bested the competition by an 8-pound, 11-ounce margin.

Gunner Durrett and Austin Watkins of Louisiana Tech tried their best to catch ULM, but after boating 11 pounds on the final day, they came up short. With a three-day total of 33 pounds, 5 ounces, Durrett and Watkins relied on flipping patches of reeds in the 70-mile area of the Atchafalaya Basin.

*****

And as always on Sunday, we leave you with a Bible verse, about carefully choosing the Master of your life:

Matthew 6:24  “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

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