Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters Classic anglers were greeted with wet and windy conditions for the second and final day of fishing on Kentucky Lake. Day one ended with Kevin Jones and Billy Don Surface leading the pack with a total weight of 13.01 pounds. They were one of 174 teams that had qualified to fish the two-day Classic.
John Eubanks and Shane Moore were holding the lead in the Big Fish competition after the first day of fishing with a 2.78-pound Kentucky Lake slab.
The Americahttp://www.mocorn.orgn Ethanol team of Jones and Surface beat most of the prognosticator’s expectations for day one. “I am surprised to see so many teams weighing in over 10 pounds,” said Crappie Masters writer/photographer Tim Huffman. “Reports from prefishing and what we observed on the TV boat would not have indicated it. Saturday’s weigh in is going to be interesting.”
Interesting it was as the weigh in activities took place at Paris Landing State Park Marina, 16055 Hwy 79, Buchanan, TN. The top ten anglers from day one are the last to weigh in on day two. It creates quite a bit of suspense as the leading team in real time sets on stage in the hot seats until someone beats them out.
The team of Brently Smith and Elliott Dowdy were the first to take the hot seat with a total weight of 21.33 pounds. The Smith/Dowdy team was able to hold off several competitors before Dwain Craig and Johnny Clary knocked them out of first place with a total weight of 21.62 pounds.
Team Craig/Clary watch Brad Essary and Mike Johnson fail to unseat them before Harold Maddux and Brian Oldham move into first place and took the hot seat with 22.36 pounds.
The Maddux/Oldham time in the hot seat was short lived as the team of Kyle Schoenherr and Rodney Neuhaus moved them out with a total weight for 14 Kentucky Lake crappie of 23.68 pounds.
Schoenherr and Neuhaus survived a 21.25-pound posting from Damon Thompson and Dan Porter, and then withstood the final challenge from day one leaders Kevin Jones and Billy Don Surface.
Jones and Surface were the first to congratulate Schoenherr and Neuhaus as the 2015 Crappie Masters National Champions when their own weight fell short of that needed to unseat them.
In speaking of the victory Schoenherr had a simple response. “Awesome,” said Schoenherr. “We have been close several times and it is unbelievably hard to get up to the top, especially when you have more than 170 boats of the best of the best crappie anglers to compete against. It feels real good and it is a real honor.”
“Its been fun,” said Neuhaus. “We have been third twice and second once. I am glad its over with. I am still in shock. It is going to take a little while, but I think it will finally sink in.”
Schoenherr and Neuhaus were fishing straight minnow rigs in heavy cover. “We covered about a two mile section of river channel,” reported Schoenherr. “We did a lot of practice fishing for this tournament to find an area to be competitive. We were using 16-foot B’n’M BGJP poles. It was a very subtle bite. We used our Lowrance to find fish and see if we wanted to spend time on that bed. If it didn’t look productive we moved on.”
Team Schoenherr/Neuhaus are sponsored by B’n’M Poles, Road Runner Lures, Tru-Turn Hooks, Lowrance, Harvest Clean, Muddy Water Baits, Midsouth Tackle, Tite-Lok Rod Holders, Gamma Line, Frog Hair Floats, Reel Magic, Rend Lake Resort and Kinkaid Lake Sportsman Lodge.
Glen Woodard and Jill Woodard earned the Crappie Masters Male/Female team honor with a total weight of 16.95 pounds.
Adult/Youth honors went to the father/daughter team of Mark Arnold and Olivia Arnold. The crappie fishing duo weighed in 12.88 pounds to claim the title.
John Eubanks and Shane Moore held on to win the Big Fish honors with their day one catch of 2.78 pounds. Second Big Fish went to Dwain Craig and Johnny Clary with a 2.76-pound slab.
The Top Ten finalist in order of finish, with weights in parentheses, are Kyle Schoenherr and Rodney Neuhaus (23.68); Harold Maddux and Brian Oldham (22.36); Dwayne Craig and Johnny Clary (21.63); Brently Smith and Elliott Dowdy (21.33); Damon Thompson and Dan Porter (21.25); Dustin Harris and Kelley Graham (20.96); Brad Essary and Mike Johnson (20.92); Cody England and Brent Williamson (20.90); Chad Gilbert and Kevin Hawkins (20.75); and Tim Blackley and Jackie VanCleave (20.36).
For more information on Crappie Masters visit their website at http://www.crappiemasters.net/home.
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