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first leg of the florida state championship kicks off 2015 on the historic st johns river

Crappie Masters All American Tournament Trail opened up the calander year with the first leg of the Florida State Championship and national qualifier on the St. Johns River, Deland, Florida. Sponsored by Bass Pro Shops, Tracker Marine, Nitro Boats, Humminbird, Minn Kota, and West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority, anglers from twelve different states participated for over $7,000.00 in cash and prizes and the opportunity to qualify anglers for the 2015 National Championship to be held on Kentucky Lake, Paris, Tennessee.

Crappie Masters and their angler teams had the opportunity to visit the West Volusia area and the city of Deland to fish the historic St Johns River and take advantage of the eclectic downtown area with unique shops, cafes, and outdoor night life.

Pre-fishing for the tournament proved to be challenging for the angler teams with higher currents in the St Johns River and continual cold fronts. However, the St Johns River came through with weights that rival all of the Florida lakes and many lakes across the country.    

2009 National Champions and two time St Johns River Crappie Masters winners, Matt Morgan and Kent Watson took home another St Johns River title along with a check for $2500.00 with a seven fish total weight of 15.79 lbs. In addition to the tournament prize money, the team earned a $250.00 bonus for using E10 gasoline, provided by the Missouri Corn Growers Association and American Ethanol. Morgan and Watson were spider rigging from their Ranger boat, powered by Mercury Motors, with hair jigs and Road Runner lures in 4 to 5 foot of water catching their crappie just off of the bottom. The team stated they caught over twenty 2 pound crappie during the competition while slow trolling through dollar pads. The team of Morgan and Watson are sponsored by Lucas Oil, Hydro Force, BnM, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Road Runner, Driftmaster, Fat Headz, and Rockport Rattler. 


The Johnson Fishing team of Billy and Scott Williams finished in a tie for second place with 15.01 lbs. and earned a check for $1,000.00. The two time Florida State Champions fished out of a Ranger boat using Humminbird electronics and a Minn Kota trolling motor. The Williams' spider rigged in 4 to 5 foot of water fishing just off the bottom using their BnM poles with lime and chartreuse Crappie Buster tube jigs to keep them in reach of their third consecutive Florida State Championship. Billy and Scott are Sponsored by Johnson Fishing, BnM, and Drift Master.

Also finishing in a tie for second place with 15.01 lbs. was the local team of John Peyton and Michael Herbst. Peyton and Herbst were spider rigging in 4 foot of water catching fish just off the bottom. Their finish earned them a check for $1,000.00. 

Big fish of the tournament, worth $434.00, was weighed in by the Road Runner team of Gilford Sipes and Kent Woods Jr. topping the scales at an impressive 2.78 lbs. Second big fish at 2.60 lbs. was weighed in by the Missouri Corn Grower Association/American Ethanol team of Kevin Jones Jr. and Billy Don Surface, they received a check for $186.00. Winners of the $100 Bass Pro Shops gift card for top male-female team was Don and Toni Collins with 13.15 lbs. Also winning a  $100.00 Bass Pro Shops gift card was the team of Robert and Justin Myers for top adult-youth team with 6.85 lbs.

Full results for the St Johns River can be downloaded here.

Next on the Crappie Masters All American Tournament Trail will be the final leg of the Florida State Championship and national qualifier, February 13,14, 2015 on the Harris Chain of Lakes, Tavares, FL.

Special thanks to local sponsors that include: West Volusia Advertising Authority, Deland Inn, Hampton Inn, Hontoon LandingResort and Marina, Tropical Resort & Marina, Highland Park Fish Camp, Shady Oak Restaurant & Lounge, Shady Oak Bait & Tackle, OB's Restaurant & Lounge, J.C.'S Lobster Pot, and The Fisher-Man Bait & Tackle.

Special thanks to our National Sponsors that include: Bass Pro Shops, Tracker Boats, Nitro Boats, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Mercury Motors, Missouri Corn Growers Association, American Ethonal, Ozark Rods, Martin Metal, Johnson Fishing, Road Runner by Blakemore, Power-Pole, Tite-lok Rod Holders, Bobby Garland Crappie Baits, Rockport Rattler, Midsouth Tackle, Grizzly Jig Company, Spike-It, Sten, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, The Original Rod Sox, B’n’M Poles, Slider, Crappie Now, Bug Band, Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, KeepAlive, Wild River, Crappieholic, Valley Fashions, Ziptailz, Off Shore Tackle, Navionics, Zeko Shoes, Southern Tackleworks, Fizards, Silent Stalker, Rod Safe, Timbuktu Outdoors, Gator Guards, Hook Line & Threader, Skinzit, Crazy Angler, Stump Jumper Series, Rig Rap, American Angler, Monster Crappie Media and Huffman Publishing, and KMMO Brad & Brian in the Outdoors.