Nobody I know would have ever imagined how sculling a 14-foot aluminum boat down the lake fishing for white perch with a cane pole, a red & white bobber, and a styrofoam bucket full of minners could have become a professional sport offering hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and prizes.
But it has happened. Right in front of our eyes. And by “our” eyes, I mean it has spawned right here in our backyard in Lake D’Arbonne Country. Like a giant school of slab cappie swimming under the Humminbird Helix and lighting up the screen on a bright spring morning. And yes, it has even caused us to finally give in and call them crappie instead of their proper area name, white perch.
In the spring of 2018, Crappie Masters will again be holding it’s Louisiana State Championship on Lake D’Arbonne. But that’s just the start of things. In the summer of 2018, the American Crappie tour will be hosting one of its five qualifying tournaments on the Ouachita River and then following up in the spring of 2019 with it’s three-day National Championship on Lake D’Arbonne. Believe me, that will be the biggest fishing event to ever hit this part of the state.
“There’s only one way to make the National Championship and that is to qualify through the five regular season tournaments,” says ACT director Matt Morgan. “And folks in your neck of the woods have an unbelievable, maybe a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to qualify for that event. You have a regular season tournament on the Ouachita River that should be in the peak of big crappie season. Then you’ve got a tournament on Ross Barnett and another on Grenada Lake where fishermen from this region can compete fairly easily.”
Both of those Mississippi events are about a two-hour drive away.
“Here’s the deal, unless you finish in the top five or maybe 10 in one of those events, it will probably take three tournaments to get enough points to make the Championship,” Morgan said. “And you have to make it. We don’t send out an invite for that unless you earn it. If you want to fish D’Arbonne in the spring of 2019 you are going to have to travel and fish a couple of other lakes.”
Here’s another deal. While the best crappie fishermen in America are fishing the pro circuits and taking home a good share of the cash money, it is also a regular occurrence for local fishermen to grab top spots in these tournaments, often winning the top prize.
The entry fees are high. But so are the rewards. So if you aren’t still using that cane pole, bobber and styrofoam bucket, this might be your chance to do something really special.
Here are a couple of incentives: Besides regular tournament winnings, the winner of the national championship takes home a 518 Ranger and 150 horsepower Evinrude worth $40,000 plus other prizes. The Angler of the year team nets a Ranger boat with 115 horsepower motor worth $25,000.
Feel the tap?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
NOTE TO lakedarbonnelife.com readers:
We will be taking off a few days and be back at you Tuesday, Oct. 24, just in time for Trick ‘r Treat...