Darrell Van Vactor has spent 30 years in crappie fishing tournament promotions. He started with Crappiethon USA in 1985 as a tournament director. In 1994 he accepted a management position with Crappiethon where he continued for two years. In 1996 a group, including Van Vactor, purchased Crappiethon from Johnson Outdoors, who was shutting down the trial, and turned it into Crappie USA. That move was to ensure the continuation of a national tournament circuit for the fishermen. He has remained the President of Crappie USA since 1996.
“Being chosen for induction into the Legends Hall of Fame is very humbling,” says Van Vactor, “because it puts me into a group of previous inductees I never expected to be a part of. The people in this group are sportsmen who have worked very, very hard to accomplish whatever their specialty has been. I’m honored to be a part of it.”
What’s the biggest change he has seen in crappie fishing during the past three decades? “I believe it’s the significant change in the manufacturers of equipment. They now recognize crappie fishing as a significant market. Thirty years ago crappie fishermen would make their own long handled nets, pole holders and other special equipment. Today we see manufacturers creating baits and equipment geared directly toward the crappie fisherman. We’ve had the opportunity to assist them in designing products like the long handled nets along with many more products. BnM Pole Company has always supported competitive crappie fishing since the beginning and they have always been a leader in creating new and better poles for the fishermen. We’ve came a long way in the sport and I’m proud the tournament trail has been a part of the reason why.”
“Again, I want to thank everyone involved that I’ve worked with, to my family and everyone else who have made these 30 years possible for me in this great sport. And I thank the Legends.”
Legends founder, Garry Mason, says, “I have know Darrell for over 30 years. I cannot think of anyone who has worked any harder to support the sport of freshwater fishing than he has. We are very proud to be able to honor him and the other inductees for this much deserved award.”
Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame will be August 16 on the General Jackson Showboat/Music City Queen in Nashville, TN. For reservations, call 731-593-0171 or go to www.legendsoftheoutdoors.com