First, the good news. Crappie Masters President Mike Vallentine officially pulled out of town Sunday morning, but as a going away present, we got confirmation that it won’t be the last visit.
Mark your calendars for Feb. 24,25, 2017.
Crappie Masters will be back! The Louisiana State Championship will return to Lake D’Arbonne in Union Parish! Slab City.
There were almost 1,000 crappie that averaged 1.60 pounds weighed in at the Louisiana State Championship by Crappie Masters Friday and Saturday.
The good news is that well over half of those big fish were kept alive all day in aerated livewells and were in good enough shape to be quickly released back into Lake D’Arbonne following the weigh-in. There’s no way to know the survival rate of the fish, but with cold water temps, it is probably pretty high. Probably two to three times that many more fish were caught and released on the lake as these top anglers culled down to their seven fish limit. Although crappie populations are in great shape, it’s always good to see outdoor resources conserved. We applaud the effort.
Many of the fish were stressed, but they went to a good cause, too. Donnie Vocker and his crew from Hunters for Heroes were on hand to ice down the fish, filet them and they will be served to veterans at the upcoming Heroes event on Lake D’Arbonne associated with the Chamber’s King of Kings tournament (We’ll have more on that later this week!). It was a great week for businesses in our area, too. Economic impact of the event is estimated at $750,000. With all the great press, that value could go up even more.
How’s this for an endorsement:
From Karl Kalonka, TV host , Krappie Kings TV:
“I just can’t say enough about how good Lake Darbonne really is for both numbers & average size of crappie; easily in the Top 3 crappie lakes in U.S.A. #darbonnepointeresort #farmerville #krappiekings @strikekinglurecompany @bnm_poles @jlmarinesystems #monstercrappie #bestcrappielakes
One more note:
Social Media “blew up” more over this Crappie Masters tournament than at any other CM tournament, Mike Vallentine told me. It was unbelievable, he said. The number of posts of local coverage were unprecedented and the “shares” of anglers to friends back home on Facebook was so broad you couldn’t even measure it. Facebook, videos, local newspaper, radio and TV and, of course, lakedarbonnelife.com, set the bar high for other areas to try and match. Slab sized coverage!
Vallentine would have enjoyed a few more days in Farmerville, but he was headed home to Missouri for a day before loading up the CM gear and heading to the South Carolina State Championship March 4, 5, 2016 on Greenwood Lake, Greenwood, South Carolina.
Below, a few more closing shots from the weekend’s activities: