Anglers from 10 different states congregated on the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway for the season’s first One Pole Ultimate Challenge crappie tournament. The event was a scheduled stop on the Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters All American Tournament Trail. The competition fishing included Friday and Saturday, May 8 and 9 in Columbus, Tennessee.
Anglers could only use one pole instead of the normal multiple rod spread seen often in spider rigging or long lining tournaments. “According to Crappie Masters President, Mike Vallentine, “This tournament not only set the stage for the Angler Team of the Year points race, but also challenged anglers by limiting them to one pole and artificial bait only. Anglers battled current, stained water, and fluctuating water levels all week before putting patterns together to show off this incredible fishery’s potential.”
A little hometown advantage may have played into the victory as Ray Looney and Will Evans, both from Columbus, MS, weighed in the tournament’s top stringer on day two of 10.08 pounds. The weight was enough to jump from fifth place to first place and win the Midsouth Tackle One Pole Ultimate Challenge. The team’s two day total was 19.04 pounds.
The hometown team concentrated on 14 to 17 feet of water to catch their winning bag. The duo was fishing lay-down trees along the deepest channel ledges in the river. The crappie were holding at about 12 feet deep where Looney and Evans used a combination of Midsouth and Bobby Garland jigs on 12 foot B’n’M Poles to catch them.
The winning team’s boat was equipped with a Minn Kota trolling motor and Humminbird electronics. Looney and Evans took home a check for $5200.00, which included a $500.00 bonus, donated by the Missouri Corn Growers Association and American Ethanol, for using E10 gasoline in their boat motor. Their winnings also included a $500.00 bonus from Midsouth Tackle for using Midsouth baits to win the tournament. The team is sponsored by Crappie 101 and B’n’M Poles.
Day one leaders, Carl Froshour and Justin Lindsay, along with the top finishing Male/Female team of Jessie and Nonna Wright, finished in a tie for second place. Both teams weighed in a two-day total of 18.86 pounds. Froshour and Lindsey reported catching their crappie using a combination of jigs that included Midsouth Jigs in 6 to 8 feet of water. They said the crappie were holding near the bottom at about 5 feet deep.
The Froshour/Lindsay team fished from a Ranger boat equipped with a Minn Kota trolling motor and Humminbird electronics. The team, sponsored by Lindsey Roofing and The Boat Gallery, took home a check for $2000.00, which included a $300.00 bonus for using Midsouth Jigs.
The Wrights reported catching their crappie in 5 to 7 feet of water but with the fish in only 2 feet deep. They also used a combination of Midsouth Jigs and Bobby Garland Jigs. They are sponsored by B’n’M Poles, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, Midsouth Tackle, and Bobby Garland.
The Wrights took home a check for $1800.00 which included a $100.00 bonus for using Midsouth jigs and a $100.00 Bass Pro Shops gift card for finishing as the top Male/Female team.
The highest finishing Adult/Youth team went to Chris and Cameron Younger with a total of 8.61 pounds. The father and son team took home a new Minn Kota trolling motor for their efforts.
Big Fish of the tournament honors went to Kyle Schoenherr and Rodney Neuhaus with a 1.74-pound crappie. They took home a check for $548.00, which included a $100.00 bonus for using Midsouth Jigs to catch the big fish of the tournament.
The next Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters event will be the Ozark Rods National Qualifier on Rend Lake in Illinois on May 16, 2015.