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Lake life

Crappie Masters title on the line

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There’s another big national crappie tournament with plenty of local interest coming up this week — the Crappie Masters National Championship on Truman Lake out of Clinton, Missouri. It won’t be close to us, but it has major implications for our area with the huge interest in this crappie trail.

” This is  my 6th year doing this and it seems more exciting now than ever with higher participation and more money involved,” said Crappie Masters president Mike Vallentine. “Teams are traveling more to fish and chasing the points races. It’s fun stuff.”

Screen Shot 2018-02-24 at 5.56.19 PMMike says he’s expecting 160-170 boats in the National Championship. Payback is close to $100,000.00 in cash and prizes for the Championship. First place will take home a whopping $30,000.00 cash plus incentives like a $2000.00 bonus if they are using E10 fuel in their boat during the Championship. The fishing should be incredible with the water cooling off some. Truman is known for catching good numbers and decent size.

There are some area fishermen expected at the tournament including Terry Richard, Tim Elrod, Gary Davis, Larry and Sonya Ponder. Others have qualified but have not registered at this point.

” We are all set up and ready for the 2019 Louisiana State Championship on D’Arbonne next spring,” Mike said. “The dates are Feb. 22 & 23.  I look forward to getting back next year with the lake conditions and weather being more stable. Last year was not the norm for fishing Lake D’Arbonne so hopefully we will see it in 2019. This tournament has grown and will continue to because everyone wants to come back. Great hospitality, food, and fishing.”

Besides that event, Crappie Masters is looking at other future tournaments in the area and may also expand it’s events to the Ouachita River. You might even expect a national championship here one day in the not-too-distant future. Mike wouldn’t comment because things are not finalized, but he did say “I hope to have a growing presence in Northeast Louisiana.”

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Mike Vallentine talks crappie with the News Star’s Greg Hilburn while Farmerville Mayor Stein Baughman talks up D’Arbonne on TV at a recent Crappie Masters Media Day on D’Arbonne.





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