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Lake life

It’s Crappie Masters week!

This week’s Crappie Masters tournament is going to be full of fun, excitement, crappie thumping and, for one group of youngsters — a chance of a lifetime. So I know there are bass pictured above, but bear with me.

Mike Vallentine always starts off the “official” activities of the Louisiana State Championship on Lake D’Arbonne on Thursdays with a “Media Day”. I’ve been involved with Mike, several volunteers, the Union Parish Tourist Commission and the Union Chamber to put on the event every year CM comes to D’Arbonne. It’s designed to get media to come out and see what is going on so they can let the public in on it.

The past couple of years a hard-working group of locals has worked together to put on this event with quite successful results. The coverage on social media has been outstanding. Media Day involves several teams of Crappie Masters pros and special guests in a one-big-fish-takes-all Thursday morning tournament. Two years ago, it was a Celebrity Fish-Off featuring folks like John Godwin and Katie Knight. Last year, it was a Law Enforcement/First Responder Showdown and this year, well, it’s going to be special again.

The future of our outdoors rests in the hands, or I should say rods and reels, of our young folks. And that’s who will be getting a once-in-a-lifetime chance to spend half a day in the boat with one of America’s top crappie teams. Move over prep baseball and basketball. Fishing is taking center stage. We will have a competition between five area high school fishermen representing themselves and their schools. They are Avery Pilgreen of Ouachita Christian, Tyler Dendy of D’Arbonne Woods, Jayce Bryan of Downsville Charter, Ian Carter of Union Christian and Hayden Savage of Ruston High. These anglers fish on their high school bass teams, but this day, they’ll be learning more about the ins and outs of crappie fishing.

The way it works is that they will be put in the boat with one of Vallentine’s top teams and taken on a fishing excursion. They’ll bring their biggest fish to the weigh-in at D’Arbonne Pointe at 10:30 a.m. and we’ll see who the winner is. PS — bring your rainsuits… There’s no doubt who the winner is already in my book. It’s all five of them, just because they are getting to do it. And the folks they are fishing with and the sport in general will win, too. And as for media coverage, look for this to get blown up on social media which will give the whole event and these fishermen the attention they deserve. A tip of the hat to Peyton McKinnie for pulling the field together for this event.

Following the weigh-in, the Union Parish Tourist Commission will treat the fishermen and special guests to a fish fry and a meet and greet time.

Stay tuned to lakedarbonnelakelife.com during Crappie Masters week for exclusive writeups, information and insight into this big pro fishing event. And if you get a chance, come out to the weigh-ins at 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It’s quite a show. Feel the thump.

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It’s going to be a perfect week for the fish. For the fish, I said. Wet. Temps? Nippy during practice and then warm the two days of the tournament. As for the lake level? It’s a foot and a high now. There could be a total of 3 to 4 total inches of rain this week, which should put a little more current in some areas of the lake. That won’t mess things up too bad unless the powers-that-be decide to open the controversial tainter gates. That kind of sudden current could mess the catch up for many. We shall see.

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One more thing… It’s going to be a great week for fishermen too. If you want a sneak peak into what will be caught by what may be 100 teams of pro crappie anglers this week you need look no further than this past Saturday’s fishing. The Crappie Fishermen United of Louisiana held a tournament on D’Arbonne that was fished by 28 teams in some pretty nasty conditions.

Six teams weighed in at least one fish over two pounds and the winning seven fish stringer brought in by Chad Callender and Kyle Cummings weighing 13.85 pounds was quite impressive. In case your math skills are slow to get crankin, that’s almost a two pound average per fish.

Lance Billberry / Heath Rogers finished second with 13.10 and Scott Johnson and Jason Thomas were third with 12.07.

Callender/Cummings
Bilberry/Rogers
Johnson/Thomas

The rain may put a rise on the lake going into the tournament. Weather conditions may slow down some of the anglers. But somebody’s going to find them and find them big. Look for 27.5 to 28.5 pounds to win it with a slight possibility of a 30 pound stringer (2 days of 7 fish limits).

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In case you are interested and have $350 you want to bet on your crappie catching ability, it’s not too late to sign up for the tournament at http://www.crappiemasters.com or you can find out more by clicking on the link at the bottom of this writeup.

Stay tuned to lakedarbonnelakelife.com during Crappie Masters week for exclusive writeups, information and insight into this big pro fishing event. And if you get a chance, come out to the weigh-ins at 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It’s quite a show. Feel the thump.

http://www.crappiemasters.net/home/2014-bass-pro-shops-crappie-masters-tournament-schedule/tournament-details/350-february-22-a-23-lake-darbonne-farmerville-la-louisiana-state-championship

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