Saturday morning, there were 25 teams left vying for the American Crappie Trail National Championship crown on Lake D’Arbonne in Farmerville. Saturday afternoon, there was one team standing in front of the crowd, holding the championship — local anglers Chris Fields and Jared Riser.
The duo are a formidable foe for the crappie and other anglers and they proved it once again. They cam from behind to end up with a three day total of 21 crappie weighing 40.21 pounds. But it was close. Glay Gann and Todd Froebe were second with 40.20 pounds. Fields and Riser claimed $16,200 as their top prize for the national championship of ACT.
Locals Ken Myers and Mark Taylor led the first two days, but couldn’t quite hold on, ultimately finishing third with 39.90 pounds. The field started with 64 teams, then the final day was just for the top 25 after two days. Weigh-in was held with an exciting new format — drive-in fashion on the Courthouse steps in downtown Farmerville where anglers were pulled up to the scales in their boats.
Fields and Riser both thanked their families for their support while they are away fishing and said it was just awesome to win the title, especially right in their hometown. Locals Heath Rogers and Lance Bilberry also made the top 25, finishing seventh with 37.78 pounds. Fishing picked up a bit Saturday after two fairly tough days following the massive storm front that went through earlier and the opening of the lake’s tainter gates, which puts extra current in the lakes and slows the fish bite for crappie.
The event was sponsored by the Town of Farmerville, the Union Parish tourist Commission, the Union Chamber, Union Parish Police Jury and the Louisiana Department of Tourism.