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Lake life

Pro crappie: Yet another opportunity

In a time when existing pro crappie tournaments are having trouble filling up the field, there’s yet another opportunity for crappie anglers to put up their entry fee and go after big prizes for catching fish. And as you might expect, the planned circuit has a lot of activity planned for our region, including stops on Lake D’Arbonne and the Ouachita River .

The new National Crappie League (NCL) adopted a format designed to promote fair competition for everyday anglers and seasoned pros where all have a chance to compete in the national championship against competitors of the same level.

NCL’s first season will begin in 2023 with two tournaments: Division 1 and Open Division. Unlike some other tournament trails where teams can weigh-in seven crappie, only five live crappie will be allowed to be weighed in at NCL tournaments where a minimum of 100 percent payback is guaranteed. NCL aims to develop a national presence over time by establishing relationships with local tourism associations and national sponsors while prioritizing a return on investment for these contributors.

Division 1 tournaments are open to those who have not placed top five in a tournament in the past two years nor have won $5,000 or more at any professional crappie trail. Fishing guides will not be eligible to compete in Division 1. A minimum $10,000 payback is guaranteed at Division 1 events.

Alternatively, all anglers are eligible to compete in NCL’s Open Division regardless of their previous placements and money earned. The Open Division tournaments will last two days and guarantee a minimum $20,000 payback. The highest-placing senior, adult/youth, and male/female teams will be awarded at each event. The national championship will be held in the spring of each year, beginning in 2024.

Names familiar to the crappie world are involved. Chris Fuller is the owner of NCL along with partner Jeremy Mattingly. Fuller was a previous owner of a national trail and has business expertise in the auto industry. He has assembled an experienced team of anglers to lead NCL’s efforts alongside Mattingly who is best known as the host for On the Hook TV and the owner of Crappie Monster. Mattingly is the Tournament Director and will be the MC for all NCL divisions.

“Our goal is to support and promote crappie fishing anglers, sponsors, and local lake communities where tournaments are held,” Chris Fuller said. “We want to do things right and we want to become a true national trail.”

You can find out more about NCL on their website, https://nationalcrappieleague.com/

Here’s a brief look at the tournament plans:


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