More than 180 teams from 21 states competed for more than $126,000 in the 2017 Crappie USA Classic in Paris, TN. The Kentucky and Barkley Lakes were hit hard by a winter chill that tested anglers at the October 27th and 28th affair.
Day one anglers were challenged by a rain event that dumped a steady stream of rain on the afternoon weigh-in. Organizers hustled to make the weigh-in go as smoothly and fast as possible so waiting anglers could get out of the rain and make preparations for day two’s competition. The CUSA staff’s efforts paid off. They weighed in a total of 167 crappie teams (87 amateur and 80 semi-pro) and were finished by about 4:45 pm, just 45 minutes after the weigh-in line closed.
In the meantime, good fish care techniques were at work on the dock below the weigh-in station. Two release boats, equipped with oxygenated tanks, accumulated the fish from the weigh-in station in their livewells to resuscitate. As one boat reached capacity it returned its load of crappie to a deeper area of the lake. The other boat then took over to process the next round of fish. They repeated the rotation until all fish were taken care of.
At the end of day one the Alabama team of Roger Milby and Rodger Brown led the Amateur Division with 8.88 pounds. The Semi-Pro Division was led by Jim Ferguson and Garrett Bridges from Kentucky with 9.75 pounds.
Big Fish honors on day one was held by the Indiana team of Joseph Rosinski and Luther McDonald with a 2.17-pound crappie. Second Big Fish, at 2.01-pounds, was weighed by the Tennessee team of Bret and Robert Luther. Those fish weights held good by tournament end.
Anglers launching on championship Saturday faced much colder temperatures. The good news was that the rain was gone. Temperatures fell throughout the day on Friday before reaching a low near freezing on Saturday morning. The sunny skies promised by the weather man did not materialize so the 47-degree temperature at weigh-in felt much colder with the overcast skies and wind.
Jim Freeman and Garrett Bridges pushed their two-day weight to 18.20 pounds to take top honors in the Semi-Pro Division. The Eddyville, KY team finished just 0.18 ounce ahead of the second-place team of Henry and Jo Haley who had 18.02 pounds.
Man-made cover on Barkley Lake produced the winning bag for Freeman and Garrett. They were vertical jigging and tipping with live bait.
“We could see the shad flipping in shallow water,” reported Freeman. “We fished some larger bays in 3 – 5 feet of water. We probably landed 25 fish for the tournament.”
The team won the 518 VS Ranger Boat with Mercury, Minn Kota, Humminbird, DriftMaster package and Jenko Pole, as well as The Ranger + Talon Bonus of $500.00 and B ‘n’ M Bonus $500.00.
Henry and Jo Haley, of Carmi, Illinois took second place in the Pro Division. They weighed in 18.02 pounds. They earned $5,500.00, plus $500.00 for the Top Male/Female Team Bonus and $250.00 for the Ranger Cup Bonus.
Team Haley fished their home lake of Barkley. They target fish holding tight in man-made cover. They also vertical jigged using jigs in various colors tipped with crappie nibbles to catch 80 fish for the weekend. They also won Sportsman of the Year award for an additional $400.00 gift card.
In third place was Mark and Billy Arnold, both of Trezevant, Tennessee. They weighed in 16.59 pounds and earned $2,500.00. The team fished south of Leatherwood Bay over man-made cover in 12 – 15 feet of water. They used live bait to land over 50 fish for the event.
Bart Dillon of Dyersburg, Tennessee and Tony Hughes of Obion, Tennessee took fourth place with a total weight of 16.33 pounds and earned $1,700.00. The team fished New Johnsonville area of Kentucky Lake using orange/chartreuse jigs in 3 – 5 feet of water, targeting stained water areas where fish were not as nervous, to catch over 150 fish for the 2-Day Tournament.
In fifth place was Roy Logan of Troy, Tennessee and Wade Hendren of Ripley, Tennessee weighing in at 16.16 pounds and earning $1,000.00. The team fished South Kentucky Lake, vertically jigging with assorted colors, Their fish came from about 16 feet of water. They landed 20 fish for the weekend.
Amateur Division Results0
TJ Todd and Brian Hatch, both pf Dyersburg, Tennessee, were the first place winners in the Amateur Division with a total weight of 17.88 pounds. They took home the 188C Ranger boat with Mercury, Minn Kota and Humminbird package, plus the $500.00 B ‘n’ M Bonus and the $250.00 Ranger Cup Bonus. The team fish South of Leatherwood Resort following fish in 5 – 6 feet of water. They used orange/chartreuse jigs tipped with live bait to land 30 fish for the tournament.
In second place was Roger Milby of Salem, Alabama and Rodger Brown of Tallassee, Alabama. The had a total weight of 16.82 pounds and earned $5,500.00, plus the Minn Kota Talon Bonus of $1,500.00. The team fished North of Dover bridge on Barkley Lake using Jenko mermaid maid and midnight colors, tipped with bait. They were spider rigging in 7 – 8 feet of water to catch 24 total fish for the weekend.
Taking third place was Roy Holladay of Paducah, Kentucky. Roy weighed in 16.07 pounds and earned $1,500.00. Roy fished Barkley Lake with one pole, vertical jigging using blue/sparkle and blue/chartreuse jigs over man-made cover in 10 – 12 feet of water. He also caught some fish by tipping with minnows in 15 feet of water. He landed about 27 fish for the event.
Brentley Smith of Gadsden, Tennessee and Colton McAlister of Rutherford, Tennessee took fourth place with a total weight of 15.38 pounds to earn $1,000.00. The team fished man-made cover north of the power lines in Big Sandy River area using blue/ice and limeade color jigs in 10 – 12 feet of water. They caught over 200 fish for the weekend.
In fifth place was Dwayne Craig of Cottontown, Tennessee and Johnny Clary of Greenbriar, Tennessee. They weighed in 14.62 pounds and earned $750.00. The team fished the South end of Kentucky Lake in 17 feet of water, vertical jigging using Crappie Magnet Slab in yellow/chartreuse and limeade color to land 100 – 150 fish for the event.
Brett and Robert Luther finished 8th place in the Amateur Division for $550.00 and also had 2nd Place Big Fish of the tournament for an additional $1,000.00.
Deon and Jake Gregson won the Adult/Youth Amateur award of $500.00 scholarship.
CUSA organizers sent out a very special thank you to Paris Landing Resort, Henry County Chamber of Commerce, TRRA, Buchanan Resort and all the National Sponsors who attended and helped make the event a total success!
The 2017 purse of more than $126,900.00 is the largest in recent years in the crappie market. CUSA wanted to thank the many anglers who attended from the various states. Special thanks was given to the Two Rivers Bass Club for furnishing an additional release boat to take care of the fish and release them back, unharmed.