Question: Which two words changed the “landscape” of Lake D’Arbonne crappie fishing more than any others in recent years?
Tick… Tick… Tick… Time’s up.
Answer: Crappie Masters
When the first Crappie Masters national pro tournament came to Lake D’Arbonne in 2015, not many people around here knew what to expect. Likewise, many the the 100 or so anglers who came to fish in the event didn’t know what to expect about Lake D’Arbonne.
Both had heard good things about each other. After they met, neither have been disappointed. The tournament opened to door to unprecedented national attention on the 16,000 acre lake right here in Union Parish as well.
In just over a month, round four of that “fishing friendship” will continue.
Lake D’Arbonne will be the host to the 2018 Crappie Masters National Qualifier Louisiana State Championship on Feb. 23 & 24. The event is hosted by the Union Parish Tourist Commission, Ruston Lincoln Parish CVG, Farmerville Chamber of Commerce and City of Farmerville.
“It’s just around the corner, that’s for sure,” said Mike Vallentine, President of the Missouri-Based Crappie Masters organization. We were able to catch up with him this week while he was in town putting up wanted posters. That is, “fishermen wanted” posters seeking area anglers to give the event a shot. It doesn’t come cheap — the entry fee is $325 per team for two day’s fishing. But the rewards are enticing.
“If there is one thing I want everybody to understand, it is this. The tournament is open to everyone. Come on out and fish. Two of the first three events were won by local teams. A lot of the top 20 are always local fishermen. You won’t know how good you can do unless you try.”
The 2017 event paid out more than $34,000 in cash and prizes to the top teams in the 97-team field, including $8,000 to the winners.
Last year’s event was won by Paul and Elizabeth Turner of Missouri. The inaugural event was won by West Monroe’s Jay Stone and John Godwin and year two champions were Terry Richard and Casey Rayner of West Monroe.
And this year’s event will be won by… well… it will be a few weeks before we know that.
Could it be you?
To get all the details about the tournament and information on how to enter, click on