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Lake life

Thomas, Porter grab CM lead

Jason Thomas and Shannon Porter with four of their best Ouachita River slabs Friday.

Knowing the Ouachita River well was a boost for Jason Thomas and Shannon Porter Saturday. The local duo landed seven crappie weighing 13.65 pounds Friday to take the lead in the Crappie Masters National Qualifier on the river out of the Forsythe Boat Dock in Monroe.

Brian Young and Diesel Byrd were second after day one with 13.34 pounds. Two anglers fishing by themselves were next in line. Robert Carlisle had seven fish weighing 13.20 and Josh Jones had seven fish weighing 12.43. Young and Byrd had big fish of the day at 2.27 followed by TJ and Alex Palmer with a 2.25. Nine crappie over two pounds were weighed in.

After cornering both the leading teams to find out more information, I was able to come up with this useful tidbit.

They are fishing somewhere below Little Rock. And they are using hooks.

“Tomorrow you’ll know more,” Porter said. “Not today.”

It’s easy to understand the secrecy. The first place team out of the 60 boats entered from more than ten states will take home a check for $10,000 and qualify for the $100,000 Crappie Masters National Championship which will also be on the river this fall.

The catches were pretty amazing. This isn’t exactly the best time of the year to crappie fish and the heat makes it almost unbearable. Fishermen also have to keep their fish alive to weigh them in and that is a challenge, too, especially if they catch them early in the day. Competitors will weigh in Saturday between 2-3 p.m. to determine the winners.

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