CUSA Pro Division Victory at Kuttawa, KY goes to Salyers and Lovett

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Outland and McGregor take Amateur Division

Crappie anglers from five states traveled to Barkley and Kentucky Lakes at Kuttawa, KY to participate in the October 1-2, 2020 Crappie USA (CUSA) Super Event. Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s presented the tournament for local and traveling anglers. Competitors were vying for cash, prizes, and an opportunity to compete at the 2020 CUSA Classic which will feature a guaranteed payout of $125,000 in cash and prizes.

Anglers were challenged by an overnight cold front that dropped temperatures into the 40’s for day one of the tournament. So, the weather was characterized by cool nights with temperatures warming into the 60’s both days. Friday had winds at 5-10 mph while Saturday winds were light. The water was one foot above winter pool and stable. Water clarity was clear to murky.

At the end of day one, it was last year’s Crappie USA Classic champs Salyers and Lovett, who led the Pro Division with 10.31 pounds. On the Amateur side, Jeff Outland and Michael McGregor led with 7.66 pounds. One more day of fishing would see each of these teams hold on to win.

A total of 26 boats fished the event—9 in the Pro Division and 17 in the Amateur Division. A total of $1,1225 was distributed to the winners.

Pro Division Results


First Place Pro Division
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Shawn Salyers and Josh Lovett held on to their day-one lead to claim the top spot. The team from Murray, KY weighed a two-day total of 19.84 pounds. The two days of fishing earned the team $3,000 for first place and added $185 for Second Big Fish, $300 for the Driftmaster Rod Holders Bonus, $250 for the Gamma Line Bonus, and $100 for the Jenko Bonus.

The reigning national champs fished mid-lake on Barkley. They targeted their fish using single pole jigging techniques. They searched for man-made cover in various depths where they dipped Jenko Slasher heads, and Big T Paddle Fry baits to temp the fish. Their best color was chartreuse/lime although they did use some live bait. Salyers and Lovett boated 60-70 Lake Barkley crappies during the two-day tournament, including the Second Big Fish at 1.97 pounds.

“It was a very tough bite,” reported Lovett. “We almost had to force-feed them. We started on Friday fishing minnows and jigs tipped with minnows in 8-14 feet of water.  Man-made structure was key as we picked off fish with the live scope.”

“Salyers and Lovett had three key areas on Barkley lake. They said the first area had the best fish and they saved most of them for Saturday. Friday started off with a bang as they caught their kicker fish first thing—a 1.97 and a 1.74. The bite got tougher through the day but they still managed a good bag culling in the last 10 minutes of the day.

“Saturday, we concentrated in our best area until about noon,” Lovett said. “When we left, we knew we needed to cull at least two fish. It was a tall order because our bite wasn’t as aggressive as it was on Friday. We had to switch tactics to jigs only on the second day. Pink jig heads, and chartreuse lime and pepper dew bodies were the key for us on Saturday.”

“The wind was much stouter on Saturday than was predicted as per the usual for the big lakes,” concluded Lovett. “We still wound up culling by ounces to take the win. It was a tough field to fish against. We fish against these anglers in a local club and they are always hard to beat. We were very blessed to make first place.”

Second Place Pro Division 

The runner-up spot in the Pro Division went to Terry S. Adams and Terry L Adams. The team from Kirksey, KY posted a weight of 19.8 pounds, just 0.04 pounds out of the lead. Their two-day performance earned them a check for $2,000.

The father/son team fished Kentucky Lake in water that ranged from 12 to 22 feet. Like the first-place team, they targeted man-made cover. They were one pole fishing with live bait. Terry S. and Terry L. caught about 80 fish during the two-day tournament.

“My Grandad fished Crappie tournaments years ago,” said the younger Adams in a Facebook post. “Always been a dream to fish one with Dad in my grandad’s boat and today we did it! Fished the Crappie USA Tournament Pro Division against the best around and took home 2nd! Just missed 1st place by .04. Great experience.”

Third Place Pro Division

Steve Ferguson from Puryear, TN, and Frank Findley Kirksey, KY teamed up to bring a two-day total of 19.59 pounds to the scales and take the third-place spot. Their efforts earned them $1,000 for third place to which they added $250 for the Ranger Cup Bonus.

Puryear and Findley fished Barkley Lake around the 68 Bridge. One pole jigging was the method of the day and it worked well for them. They fished an area with fish in about 14 feet of water using. Their bait of choice was Jenko French Fries in the old reliable chartreuse color. The team caught around 35 to 40 crappies on the weekend.

Big Fish
Lee Anderson and Rick Johnston had the Big Fish of the tournament with a 2.06-pound slab. The big crappie earned them a check for $440.

The Big Fish was caught on North Barkley Lake in 15 to 16 feet of water. Anderson and Johnston were using homemade hair jigs in natural brown color. They were tipping the jigs with minnows. The team placed 5th overall in the Pro Division.

Amateur Division Results

First Place Amateur Division
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Jeff Outland from Gilbertsville, KY, and Michael McGregor from Benton, KY also held their day-one lead to win the Amateur Division. They teamed up to bring 16.07 pounds to the scales in two days of tournament fishing. Their bag earned them a check for $1,500.

Outland and McGregor fished the north end of both lakes over the two days. They found fish in water that ranged from 14-23 feet deep. The team fished over cover using Jenko Mermaid jigs in chartreuse. They reported catching a lot of short fish on top of the 40-keeper fish they boated. That’s definitely a positive sign for the years ahead.

Second Place Amateur Division

The Tennessee team of James Harris and Robert Teeter teamed up to claim the runner-up spot with a two-day total of 14.83 pounds. Harris from Clarksville and Teeter from Adams, earned a check for $1,000.

The team fished Barkley in the Bear Creek area, some 62 miles south of the weigh-in site at Eddyville. The fish were in 12 to 14 feet of water. Harris and Teeter used chartreuse jigs tipped with Slab Bites and also some live bait to catch a total of 25 fish during the two-day competition.

Third Place Amateur Division

Third place in the Amateur Division went to Glenn Ward from Elizabethtown, KY, and Donnie Miller from Sonora, KY. Their two-day bag of 14.14 pounds earned them $500 for placing and 4250 for the Talon Bonus.

Ward and Miller fished Kentucky Lake in the Jonathan Creek area. They chose natural color jigs on chrome jig heads to one pole over manmade stake beds. They caught somewhere between 25 to 40 fish for the weekend.

Darrell Van Vactor, CUSA Operations Manager, sent special thanks to Kuttawa Harbor Marina for providing the weigh-in site.

“It was encouraging to see good numbers of fish, both keepers and shorts, taken both days,” Van Vactor said. “Anglers reported seeing lots of bait balls and lots of the smaller fish. It is looking like better years ahead for these lakes.”

The CUSA Classic Championship will be held October 22 – 24, 2020 at Green River Lake, Columbia, KY. The 2020 Classic, presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, features a guaranteed payout of $125,000 in cash and prizes.

National Sponsors
National Sponsors of Crappie USA are: Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s, Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, Mustad Hooks, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Talon, Lake Master Maps, Gamma, B’n’M Poles, Driftmaster Rod Holders, Ego Nets, Cumberland Crappie Double Seats, Brushpile Crappie, Charlie Brewer Slider, Crappie Now Magazine, Jenko Fishing, Big Bite Baits, Lake Cumberland CVB, Crappie Magnet, EFX Graphics, Fin n’ Frames, Crown Trophy, JR Madd Breading, WavePro, Freaky Franks Tackle, EZ Drift, Allegro Marinades, and Aftco Clothing.

For more information on the Classic and other CUSA events visit the website at and Crappie USA Tournament Trail Facebook Page. The CUSA office is available by phone at 502-384-5924.

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