Steve Perotti and Stuart Baum are a local team well familiar with the Lake D’Arbonne crappie. It showed Thursday afternoon after the duo ended up on top of the 80-team field n the American Crappie Trail National Championship presented by Lucas Oil.
Baum and Perotti had a seven fish limit weighing 12.76 pounds with a big slab of 2.03. If this was just a fun spring day on the lake, everybody would have loved it. Everybody caught fish, lots of fish, and it was a beautiful day. But this isn’t just for fun. There is $130,000 in cash and prizes on the line. The weights are extremely close. Two pounds separates first place and 50th place.
Another local team, Peyton Hemphill and Matt Saterfiel were in second after day one with 12.26. Rick Solomon and Mike Walters were third; Josh Gowan and Alex Rude were fourth and Travis Bullock and Phillip Hayes were fifth. Big fish was caught by L.D. Henry and Brandon Jennings with a 2.16.
You want to know what they caught them on and where? Good luck with that. As close as this one is going to be and with another cut coming tomorrow, these anglers won’t even discuss anything other than they are fishing on Lake D’Arbonne and that the wind Friday in the second round could be a game changer for open water anglers. Sixty six of the angler teams caught more than 10 pounds Thursday. You can bank on this: It is going to be close. A lot of the big female crappie have spawned out. Those that haven’t are like finding a needle in a haystack.
There’s a second battle going on during this tournament. Angler teams are fighting for the prestigious B’n’M Angler of the Year Award, which like the big tournament championship, also carries a big new Ranger Boat as first prize. Ronnie Capps and Steve Coleman are leading that race, but were in 47th place after day one. Second place AOY team Terry and Cole Stewart are currently in 19th place. They are separated by four tenths of a pound of crappie filet.
Lake D’Arbonne guide Nick Young wasn’t happy with his catch of 10.85, but he was happy to make the second day. He was the last man standing in the top 50. His partner and dad, Jock, had shoulder surgery and wasn’t able to compete, so Young went it alone.
Here’s a look at the complete standings for Day One. The top 50 teams advance to compete tomorrow, then the top 25 teams will be the only remaining challengers for the championship on Saturday.