Robert Carlile sure knows how to get the most out of a broken trolling motor! The Pryor Creek, Oklahoma angler fished alone and beat the rest of the 70 man field in the American Crappie Trail qualifier on the Ouachita River the past two days. Carlile caught 13.10 pounds Friday and 14.87 Saturday to take the win with a 14-fish catch weighing
27.97. The tournament was held out of the Forsythe Boat Dock in Monroe/West Monroe. Almost $60,000 in cash and prizes went to the winners.
Carlile broke his trolling motor Wednesday during practice. He was able to put a new trolling motor on his boat Wednesday night and he had to go out on the river and try it out Thursday morning as Hurricane Laura approached like a freight train. While calibrating his new motor with his LiveScope, he also came upon a school of big old crappie up Bayou D’Arbonne. They ended up being the fish that won the tournament for him. He got off the river just before the brunt of the storm hit.
And, after two days of the tournament, he won another new trolling motor. This one came with a big bonus. It is attached to a $26,250 fully-rigged Ranger fishing boat, first prize in the ACT event!
“I found the fish suspended on the edge of Bayou D’Arbonne creek channel and some of them were in four feet of water and some out as far as 16 feet deep. There were a lot of fish there and as the day went on, I was able to target the bigger fish,” he said. “I tried minnows, but they just wouldn’t bite them. I could see them on the electronics and they would just swim up and gum it, not bite it. Finally, I was able to catch them on silver and white MCM jigs. It’s a special jig I have made.”
MCM Tackle is a custom lure company located in Camp Wood, Texas.
Carlile said there was a unique situation Friday on Day One that he thinks put all those fish in one area. The Lake Commission at D’Arbonne had opened the gates at the lake, anticipating a huge rain with the storm. That put current flowing in the bayou from the north. At the same time, strong winds and rising water in the Ouachita was backing water into the bayou from the south. Where they met, it was kind of stilling of the current. Crappie like that kind of water instead of current. He discovered the spot while trying out his new trolling motor and saw the fish on his Garmin electronics.
The situation was different Saturday, but the fish were still there. He laughed, saying “I don’t know why they were still there today, they just were.” Carlile is beginning to like crappie fishing in Louisiana. He finished second in another big national pro event on the Ouachita earlier this summer and won his first major title on Lake D’Arbonne several years ago.
Being from Oklahoma, Carlile is no stranger to storms, like tornadoes that frequent his home state. But he said the hurricane was something he had never experienced the likes of before and never wanted to again. Carlile owns and operates a machine shop in Pryor Creek.
Local fishermen Chris Fields and Jared Riser are regulars on the crappie circuits and no strangers to taking home checks. They made a run at the title, finishing the two days with 26.28 pounds to finish second. They won $7,700 for their efforts. First day leaders Josh Jones and Josh Reynolds of Oklahoma were third with 24.66. Locals Ken Myers and Mark Taylor cracked the top ten in ninth place and Trey and Tucker Underwood were tenth. Heath Rogers and Lance Bilberry were 12th.
We’ll have more about Carlile and his “winning weighs” later this week.
Here’s a look at the top 30 and their winnings.
And as with every Sunday post, we include a Bible Verse. This one is a little bit about a fishing trip and a lot about a STORM! Take heed:
23 When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. 25 And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!”
26 He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. 27 The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”