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Lake life

Crappie Masters heads to ‘Bone

Terry Richard of West Monroe, right, and partner Kent Williams with some big black Florida slabs

There will be six stops on the 2020 Crappie Masters tour this year. Anglers from across the country will compete on the St. John’s River in Deland, Florida; Lake D’Arbonne at Farmerville; Grenada Lake in Mississippi; Lake Dardenelle at Russelville, Arkansas; the Ouachita River in West Monroe and then finally at Truman Lake in Clinton, Missouri.

The top anglers on the tour will also qualify to enter the 2020 Crappie Masters National Championship and return to our backyard on the Ouachita River September 23-26.

It’s that schedule that has Crappie Masters President Mike Vallentine expecting a pretty large turnout at the CM tournament on D’Arbonne in just a few weeks. The event will be held Feb. 28 & 29. Vallentine and our local anglers are hoping that the crazy water fluctuation on Lake D’Arbonne still lets the fantastic crappie fishing shine through here. After being closed a few days last week and into the weekend, the lake should be back to good conditions by the tournament. It won’t be perfect, but at least the fish and the lake residents should be a little bit more closer to normal. I expect they will.

“I absolutely expect a larger turnout of local anglers at this year’s D’Arbonne because of that schedule and our involvement in the area in 2020,” Mike says. “Anglers in the area have the chance to fish two Crappie Masters National Qualifier tournaments and a national championship without driving more than 30-40 miles. That doesn’t happen very often. I don’t think it’s every happened before.”

And then, there’s that little draw of winning some good fish bait money, like the $10,000 cash prize guaranteed to the winner in each National Qualifier. Somebody’s gonna take it home. Might as well be a local angler, right?

There are some other reasons anglers like D’Arbonne, Mike says.

“It’s the same thing every year. Our fishermen love the hospitality and the fishing on the lake,” he says. “They always catch big numbers of fish and the quality is good. I’m hearing it is as good as ever or maybe even better with some healthy fish coming out of the lake recently.”

With the advent of LiveScope fishing, Vallentine says if the lake is stabilzed, it could even produce a two-day limit of 14 fish weighing 30 pounds. That would be a new record for the events on this lake. There have been some monsters caught recently on the ‘Bone, right up to and after the high water.

Billy and Scott Williams won the opening event of the CM tour last week on the St. John’s River. They took home $10,500.00 in cash which included a $500.00 bonus, from Missouri Corn, for using E10 fuel in their boat. Terry Richard of West Monroe and his partner, Kent Williams finished 13th in the event. You can bet they, and dozens of other area teams, are going to be taking the challenge.

If you are interested, you can learn more about Crappie Masters at:

Or you can sign up online for the tournament at:


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