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Lake life

A trip of a lifetime

Josh Jones with a Ouachita River slab caught a few weeks ago

Oklahoma fishing guide Josh Jones has become synonymous with catching fish — lots of them and big ones, particularly big crappie. But not just in Oklahoma. He has started fishing crappie tournaments as well with outstanding success in every state he goes to. The three common elements required are fish, water and Josh Jones. He often stays after events and takes folks on guided trips on their home waters.

Josh is in West Monroe for the Crappie Masters National Championship on the Ouachita River this week. Like most contestants, he’s spending these last few weeks checking out different areas of the river for good fish. The competition is Friday and Saturday with weigh-ins around 3 p.m. each day at Forsythe Park.

As I stood talking to him Tuesday evening in a pouring rainstorm, he looked at me and said, “I’ve been down here about 12 days for different trips and tournaments and I think it’s rained 10 of them.”

The last time he was here, Hurricane Laura was blowing through and he tried to practice one day in winds so high it blew his rod and reel out of his hand. I assured him this wasn’t the norm, but it does happen. And even though it’s wet, that won’t slow these anglers down as they vie for more than $130,000 in cash and prizes in the AC championship.

But Jones isn’t planning on leaving at the end of this tournament Saturday. He’s planning on sticking around a few days and going to work. That’s where you come in. Josh often stays in areas after tournaments and offers guided half-day or whole day trips. It’s a combo trip to catch fish and you can also pick his brain about how to best use electronics, especially the Garmin LiveScope. Seeing him in action with it is worth the price of admission. He’s become famous as the Guru of that little game changing fish finding device.

“If somebody wants to schedule a trip, I’m planning on fishing at D’Arbonne and maybe the river, too, Sunday through like Tuesday or Wednesday based on interest,” he said. “Just send me a message on Facebook or talk to me at the weigh-in at the tournament Friday or Saturday afternoon at Forsythe Park. It will be a first-come, first served deal”

The good news is that the weather is clearing up for the tournament and the long range forecast is for good weather those extra days that Josh plans on staying around to fish.

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