Remember when crappie fishing meant a cane pole, minner bucket and maybe, just maybe, if you were a city slicker, you might even have had a trolling motor on your 14-foot aluminum john boat. Don’t lie. It hasn’t been that long ago…
Well, welcome to 2017. We’re on crappie overload. And to me, that’s a good thing. Got a minute? Get a pen. We’ve got four nights of Crappie University coming up just over an hour away and two major professional crappie tournaments making house calls in our backyard on Lake D’Arbonne this spring. We also have several local crappie club tournaments and events like the Hunters for Heroes crappie event coming up. They’ll all be here before you can ask, “are those azaleas about to bloom?”
Here’s a rundown of the biggies. We’ll have more details on each one in upcoming writeups. This is just to help you fill up your spring crappie calendar.
Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) is offering a continuing education course with a new hook, literally, for anyone interested in crappie fishing, from beginner to veteran. Crappie University and taught by a team of expert crappie-fishing instructors, the 8-hour course encompasses four 2-hour night classes and costs $89 per person. The enrollment fee covers all course materials, including samples of crappie lures and jigs.
The BPCC Crappie University begins on Tuesday, Jan. 31, and then continues on the Thursday night dates of Feb. 2, 9 and 16. Class times are 7:30 – 9:30 p.m., and all four classes will be held at the Margaritaville Resort Casino Theatre in Bossier City, La.
“Crappie fishing is no longer just a cane pole and bobber sport, and the pursuit of this sport fish has never been more popular,” said Crappie University’s founder Gary White. “Across the country, the crappie is gaining on bass as the number one sport fish. Crappie University is not a seminar, it’s an accelerated course in the strategies and techniques for becoming a better crappie angler. Our instructors are the best-of-the-best on their respective topics.”
Instructors include Jay Stone and John Godwin of West Monroe, Steve Danna of Farmerville, Gary Dollahon, regional host on Barry Stokes’ FOX Sports Outdoors television show, and Barry Morrow, a full-time crappie guide in Oklahoma and Missouri. To enroll in the 2017 Crappie University at the Margaritaville Resort Casino Theatre in Bossier City, call the campus at 318-678-6015. For more information about Crappie University, visit http://www.CrappieUniversity.com.
Crappie Masters Louisiana State Championship
Not many things have brought as much excitement to Lake D’Arbonne the past couple of decades more than our local tourism leaders bringing Crappie Masters to the area. And they’ll be back February 24 & 25 for the second annual Louisiana State Championship.
There will be lots of local and regional fishermen trying to parlay their home-lake knowledge into a pro payout and there will be anglers from seven or eight others states hitting the lake as part of their pro trail competition.
There are big payouts, lots of fun and hopefully, the lake will show out with some big pre-spawn slabs like it did last year. For more information, check out their website, http://www.crappiemasters.net/home/
American Crappie Trail
D’Arbonne will also host one of five national tournaments on the newly formed American Crappie Trail on March 31- April 1. The fish will be moving out into shallow water for spawning for the most part by this time and it could take another big catch to win this one as well. This new tournament circuit is paying cash prizes and the winner will also receive a new Ranger fishing boat, according to tournament director Matt Morgan, a veteran of competitive fishing. Morgan is also the current Crappie Masters National Champion.
Other 2017 tournament stops for the American Crappie Trail include Granada Lake in Mississippi, Kentucky Lake, Sardis Lake in Mississippi and Truman Lake in Missouri. The group’s new website is http://www.americancrappietrail.com/
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There’s one more BIG event that is a LITTLE bit more low-key, but always fun. For the third year in a row, a group of local and area crappie fishermen will serve as hosts for a group of Hunters for Heroes veterans on Lake D’Arbonne. The tournament will be held Saturday, March 25.
The past two years, it has been in conjunction with the Chamber’s King of King’s tournament, but that event has been discontinued. The veterans’ gathering will contine and be based out of the State Park once again. The details are still in the works for this new version of the tournament.
As Hunters for Heroes organizer Donnie Vocker says, “This is all about the veterans”. Amen to that
While you’ve got your calendar out, here’s another one, but it’s not about fishing. It’s about hunting. Saturday, February 4th, the 2017 Union Parish Sportsman Banquet will be held at the Willie Davis Recreational Center. Tickets $25 each or $200 for a table of 8. Doors open at 5pm. Banquet starts at 6pm. Dinner at 7pm. The program includes Awards presentation, Outdoor Legends 2016, Big Buck places and several others TBA.
Winners of raffle and auction items will be announced during the banquet. If you or your business would like to donate a raffle or auction item please contact us in case we miss you or your business. For info or tickets Contact Peyton McKinnie 318-557-7173; Lum Farr 318-914-3947; or Dump Patrick 318-245-0668.
One question: When am I going to find time to JUST GO FISHING?????