The old TV show Samford and Son was famous for one-liners like “you old fish-eyed fool” and “It’s the big one, Ethel“. And while they weren’t talking about actual fish, Lake D’Arbonne is famous for big fish — like crappie, bass and catfish.
Near as I can find out, Fred never fished D’Arbonne, but there’s a connection of sorts coming in just a few weeks.
It’s the big one! The 2018 Lucas Oil American Crappie Trail National Championship is a three-day event March 28-30 and will be the biggest fishing show with the most prize money on the line ever on Lake D’Arbonne. And you can expect to see plenty of those big crappie that make the ‘Bone famous.
As a quick explanation, I didn’t forget what year this is. The upcoming National Championship is for the top anglers off the trail from 2018. The top 100 teams from last year’s trail qualify and at the end of the day, the prestigious B’n’M Angler of the Year team will be crowned along with the national championship awards.
That Angler of the Year race is led by Ronnie Capps and Steve Coleman, followed closely by Terry Stewart and Cole Stewart. You may remember the Stewarts won the ACT event on the Ouachita River this past summer.
For a quick glance at the top fishermen rankings from the 2018 tour, check out this link: ACT YTD Official-Gren
This is worth mentioning, too. Two new bass boats are a big part of more than $100,000 in cash and prizes that will go to the ones that do get the big ones. Only a fish-eyed fool could miss getting excited about that.
Weighin will be held at D’Arbonne Pointe in Farmerville the first two days and then the fishermen will have to follow the money to Railroad Park in Ruston on Saturday for the final trip to the fish scales. Here’s the way it will work:
The Championship will be a 3-day event. The full field will fish and at the end of Day 1, the field will be cut to the Top 50 teams. Day 2 the top 50 fish and at the end of weigh in the field will be cut to Top 25 teams, who will compete for the championship. On Day 3 the top 25 will fish on Championship Saturday. Once contestants have been eliminated from the Championship, they can be on the water to observe/take sponsors out, etc. however they are not allowed to fish during competition hours.
The champions will be crowned based on a cumulative total weight for the three days. Even though the spawn will be well underway and many of the big ones will have dropped their eggs, you can still expect it to take 40 pounds of fish to win it.
It will be a busy time for the lake. The ACT has a strict off-limits period before each tournament to preserve an even playing field for all the anglers no matter where they live. Off limits for the Championship will be March 13-22. Actual practice days will be March 23-27, with anglers having to stop fishing by noon on the 27th. There will also be a Media Day on the morning of the 27th where media and dignitary guests will go out and fish with a pro team.
We’ll have more about the tournament and some of the things that make it unique in the coming days, as well of extensive coverage of the event itself on lakedarbonnelife.com during tournament week.