by Tim Huffman
I’ve had the opportunity during the past few years to share a boat and/or visit with several of the Magnolia Crappie Club members. They have all been good fishermen and have in-depth knowledge of the Mississippi lakes. It’s been fun catching a few big slabs with them, too.
The club may be the strongest regional club tournament circuit in the country. A growing membership and tournament attendance, the best fishing lakes for big fish, good sponsorship base, and an outstanding newsletter creates a balanced, active club.
Fisherman, Terry Stewart, from Jackson, Mississippi, served as tournament director for a few years. Stewart says, “This is a great organization that has been around over 20 years. We still have a few charter members who started the club. It started around Jackson. Now we are a statewide club with fishermen from all around. I guess one of the best things about being a member is that everyone who fishes it learns more about crappie fishing and it’s a great group of guys.”
Brad Taylor was Magnolia president in the 2010-2011 season. He says, “Crappie fishing has grown so much. Our club is over two decades old. When they started, their goal was to get 10 or 12 boats to the tournaments. Three years ago we were averaging around 34 boats a tournament. This year the average will be over 40 boats.”
Taylor says the club features two Big Mama tournaments that are open to everyone. Bandit Lures and BnM offer bonuses so a fisherman has a chance to win a lot of money in cash and prizes. The Big Mama tournaments have been big fund raisers for the club. The club is totally non-profit with all volunteer help.
Taylor says, “I’m seeing young guys and new faces which indicate we are in good shape with new fishermen who will likely stay around for a while. In the future I see more and more bass fishermen switching to crappie. It’s more economical. You don’t burn gas running all over the lake. You won’t get rich fishing tournaments but it’s fun and a good way to learn. On a good day you’ll earn a little money and a lot of bragging rights.”
Webmaster and Magnolia member, Bernard Williams, recently wrote the following for their website/newsletter. It gives a great summary of the club:
The Changing Face of Magnolia Crappie Club
MCC has gown every year since I joined thanks to some excellent leadership. It started with Brad Taylor, then Paul Johnson and now Ken Middleton. All three have been good presidents. We started a trend, more and more fishermen are getting involved with crappie fishing and crappie clubs. The faces are getting younger and younger and from all over the country. This year alone we’ve had 134 members join and fish with MCC. Our youngest member would have to be 4-year-old Will Ferguson, our oldest member would be 84-year-old A.E. Smith.
MCC is in its 23rd year as a crappie club, being the oldest in the nation was not an easy task. It took good leadership, teamwork and dedication. I’ve never belonged to an organization where the members take ownership any better. Our moto is “This is Our Club”. It takes lots of work to organize and produce crappie tournaments, newsletters, websites, and community projects. Our members don’t care what it takes, all they want to know is; “What do you want me to do?” My advice to other groups that want to start a crappie club, better surround yourselves with some workers, not just fishermen.
Website/Newsletter. The club has a great website with over a million hits a year. If you want to “Oooohh-Aww” over big fish photos or learn more about the club, click on the Magnolia Club Logo. Also check CrappieNow each month for tournament results.