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Lake life

Windshield Time

“Windshield Time”. That can get to be a bad thing.

When you cover 10 different states setting up and putting on nearly 20 professional crappie tournaments you get a lot of “windshield time”. That isn’t all bad, except…. well, I’ll let Mike Vallentine, president of Crappie Masters, tell you about it.

“I love what I do,” he says, “Being around all these great people. We are blessed to be associated with so many good people. But the worst thing is the windshield time. There is always something you need to be doing and you can’t get anything done while you are driving. It’s very tiring at times with all the travel. We actually have to visit each tournament site at least three times per year to set everything up, promote and run the tournament.”

With only one regular season tournament left, Mike is really looking forward to the Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 8.07.49 PMCrappie Masters National Championship. It will be held within driving distance of Lake D’Arbonne Country this year out of Greenville, Mississippi on Sept. 20-23. Anglers who qualify for the event can fish Lakes Washington, Lee, Paradise, Ferguson, Whittington & Chicot, That really makes it interesting.

Crappie angers in this area have several reasons to keep up with the circuit. There are dozens of anglers from this region who fish the events. This year, the American Ethanol Sponsored Team of Casey Rayner and Terry Richard of West Monroe are currently ranked seventh in the overall standings. Not bad for their first full year on the tour. Crappie Masters will also be back on Lake D’Arbonne for their Louisiana State Championship Feb. 23-24.

We caught up with Mike this week and got his latest thoughts on the tour. Here’s what he had to say:

“The year is flying by,” he said. “We have lots of new teams, higher turnouts and very competitive tournaments. One of the biggest changes I see is the technology on and off the water. You have to get the information out there fast now. If you are not quick to report results or new product information from sponsors then you will be old news. Electronics on the water has also changed the game. Humminbird has made it possible for everyone to find fish fast now.”

Perhaps the most exciting thing of all for Mike is seeing the culmination of the efforts when fishermen bring their catch to the scales.

“Our weigh ins are so exciting. When you have Brian Sowers on stage running the show plus everyone chasing the most coveted prize in crappie fishing, the Crappie Masters National Championship, the intensity grows as the weigh in proceeds to the end,” he said. “We hold back the top 10 from Day 1 so you typically see the larger weights coming in at the end. You cant beat watching someone achieve a dream come true.”

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