GRANT AND MATHENY GO WIRE TO WIRE FOR AN EMOTIONAL VICTORY AT THE AMERICAN ETHANOL KENTUCKY/TENNESSEE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
Facing rising and falling water conditions and the expectation of high winds, it was a true test for the fifty eight teams that took to the waters of Kentucky and Barkley Lakes at the Crappie Masters American Ethanol Kentucky/Tennessee State Championship, sponsored by The Renewable Fuels Association “Ethanol Fueled With Pride”, American Ethanol, and Bass Pro Shops, April 28th and 29th out of Paris, Tennessee.
It turned out to be an emotional and popular win for the Mayfield, Kentucky team of Jonathan Grant and Jackie Matheny who went into Championship Saturday with nearly a pound lead over the field and extended that to nearly 3 pounds when the weigh in was complete. They posted the two highest weights each day of the tournament topping the scales with a fourteen fish limit that weighed 24.12 pounds, easily out distancing the second place team.
The crowd was overcome with emotion as Jackie talked about his fight with MS and the battle to get back on his feet to even be able to compete in a professional tournament again. Grant and Matheny took a huge risk on day two leaving Kentucky Lake after leading on day one, to fish Barkley Lake on Championship Saturday. They based their decision to move solely on a dwindling bite on Kentucky Lake and the high winds predicted for Saturday.
The high winds never came to fruition, but local knowledge helped Grant and Matheny put together enough quality fish to claim their first Crappie Masters Championship.
Grant and Matheny were spider rigging B’n’M Poles, using double minnow rigs both days in 4 to 15 feet of water with their best bite coming in the 4 to 6 foot range on both lakes. They credited the quality of their Minn Kota Trolling Motor to combat winds both days. The team won $5000.00 for the victory, plus the additional $500.00 Missouri Corn Grower Association/American Ethanol Bonus for using E10 fuel in their boat.
The runner up position was claimed by the Jenko Fishing team of Tony and Mike Sheppard. Based the prediction of high winds and their familiarity with Barkley, they also made the critical and bold decision to leave Kentucky Lake Championship Saturday. Although their day two weight was lower than day one, the 21.17 pounds they did weigh was enough to keep them comfortably in second place and claim the $2700.00 prize that went with it.
The Sheppards were spider rigging Jenko Paddle Tail jigs tipped with minnows in 12 feet of water catching their weigh fish on the bottom. They also said their Mercury motor, Humminbird electronics, and Minn Kota Trolling Motor were vital in their success as they navigated the waters of Kentucky and Barkley Lakes.
Tony and Mike Sheppard are sponsored by Jenko Fishing, Triton Boats, Mercury Motors, Diawa, Power Pole, Driftmaster Rod Holders, and Crazy Angler Baits.
Third place went to the eight-time National Championship team of Ronnie Capps and Steve Coleman who overcame engine failure on Championship Saturday which forced them to rely on their Minn Kota Trolling Motor and Humminbird electronics to find quality fish from a secondary launch site. They were able to maintain their third place position weighing in a two day weight of 19.91 pounds, reconfirming the fact they remain a force to be reckoned with even in the face of adversity.
The B’n’M Poles pro staff team spider rigged lime and chartreuse jigs tipped with wax worms in 5 to 11 feet of water catching their better fish on the bottom. Capps and Coleman collected $2000.00 for their third-place finish.
Capps and Coleman are sponsored by B’n’M Poles, Porcupine Fish Attractors, Road Runner Lures, Bass Pro Shops, Southern Pro, Ranger Boats, Tite-Lok Rod Holders, Humminbird, and Minn Kota.
Fourth place was filled by the team of Tony and T.J. Grooms who made a huge jump on Championship Saturday moving up from 16th place. They earned $1600.00 for their effort.
Fifth place went to the two-time 2017 Crappie Masters winning team of Paul and Elizabeth Turner, who had another strong showing. They weighed in a two-day weight of 19.76 pounds. They took home a $1200.00 check along with a $100.00 Grizzly Jig Company Certificate for finishing as the top Male/Female team of the tournament.
The father/daughter team of Mark and Olivia Arnold claimed the top Adult/Youth prize. They were awarded a $100.00 Everhart’s Outdoor Store gift card and a Minn Kota Trolling Motor.
Big Fish of the tournament, a 2.58 dandy, was caught by the team of Monty McWilliams and David Davidson. They reported that it was the only quality fish they caught over the two tournament days. This one fish was worth $812.00.
Second big fish of the tournament was weighed in by the team of Chris Bushart and Jay Burress. They brought in a 2.44 pounder to the scale, good enough to take home a check for $348.00.
Crappie Masters would like to thank American Ethanol, along with The Kentucky Corn Growers Association, and the Tennessee Corn Growers Association for their continued support.