At the start of the High School fishing showdown during Thursday’s Media Day for the Crappie Masters Louisiana State Championship, OCS fisherman Avery Pilgreen was paired with pro anglers Dan and Sue Dannenmueller.
Dannenmueller asked Avery a little bit about what he knew about where the fish were biting and then asked the OCS student where he would like to go fish.
“Anywhere you think we need to go fish,” was Pilgreen’s answer. Good answer.
The Dannenmuellers, known as the Crappie Mates team on the tournament trail, led Avery to some good crappie and his three-fish limit won first place in the event. They fish weighed 5.22 and included a 2.14 crappie. Dan is the publisher of “Crappie Now” fishing magazine and a veteran of several pro crappie tours. Some of Crappie Mates’ sponsors include Ranger Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Bobby Garland, Garmin, Power Pole, Road Runner Lures and B&M poles.
It was a tight race. Hayden Savage of Ruston High was right behind in second place with 5.09 pounds, including a 2.02 crappie. He fished with local pro Terry Richard of West Monroe. Jayce Bryan of Downsville Charter was third with 4.91 pounds including a 2.01 slab. He fished with pros Billy Don and Vicki Surface. Tyler Dendy of D’Arbonne Woods, fishing with pro Charlie Bunting, was next with 4.83 pounds and a 2.25 slab, the biggest of the event. Ian Carter of UCA was next with 4.41 and a big crappie at 2.22. He fished with Jay Dan Reeve.
Don’t overlook this! All five anglers caught a crappie weighing over two pounds and had a three fish limit plus more. And they did that in a pouring rain with the temperature at 44 degrees and a stiff south wind bobbing them along. And in less than three hours fishing time with a full moon, rising waters and just an overall nasty bite in the air. At it’s worst, Lake D’Arbonne crappie showed out.
Friday and Saturday are the main event as approximately 90 teams will view for cash and prizes that could top $40,000. Weigh-ins will begin around 3 p.m. each day at D’Arbonne Pointe with all anglers required to be in line by 4 p.m. Each angler team can weigh seven fish per day with total weight for the two days determining the champion. In the two day event, they’ll be battling just about every element Mother Nature can throw at them, with temps ranging from 45 Friday up to 70 or higher Saturday, not to mention winds of up to 18-20 mph.
Back to Media Day. While the fishing was the highlight for the young anglers, a big batch of fresh hot fried crappie and all the trimmings awaited the media, special guests and fishermen back at the dock. That was compliments of angler James Morgan, who caught and cleaned the fish, and members of the Farmerville Fire Department Red Hot Fish Fryers: Kim Cranford, Robert Allen, Billy Jung, Hunter Futch and Waylon Rosson. The event was hosted by the Union Parish Tourist Commission working with the Union Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Farmerville, Peyton McKinnie/Tiger Bend Outdoors, lakedarbonnelife.com, Crappie Masters, the volunteer pro guides, Louisiana High School Bass Federation and D’Arbonne Pointe…with special thanks to First National Bank for the big tent!