Crappie Masters sponsored by The Renewable Fuels Association "Ethanol Fueled with Pride", American Ethanol, and Bass Pro Shops held an exciting two day national qualifying South Carolina State Championship tournament on Lake Greenwood, March 3rd and 4th that saw a rarity in tournament fishing with a team winning back to back state championships. That was the case this year as the formidable team of Mike Huffstetler and Ray Koon topped a tough field of local legends and strong national teams with a two-day total weight of 23.49 pounds to claim their second straight South Carolina State Championship. Huffstetler and Koon started Championship Saturday in third place slightly behind day one leaders Billy and Scott Williams, and the second place team of Matthew Outlaw and Jimmy Taylor.
Anglers faced typical post cold front windy conditions and low water, which hindered and limited anglers from fishing normally productive spawning areas. However as is the case in all tournaments, some of the teams adapt to find quality fish and the winning pattern. Such was the case for Huffstetler and Koon who indicated they found their better weigh fish bite was in a forty-five minute to one hour window in the morning followed by the rest of the tournament hours being, "a grind it out" situation. The Southern Crappie Rods team put their Ranger Boat and Mercury Motor to the test as they covered a fairly large area of water to fill out their daily limit of seven weigh fish. Huffstetler and Koon long line trolled in eighteen to thirty feet of water with most of their better fish coming at a fourteen foot depth using Charlie Brewer’s Slider Company in blue, blue and silver, and chartreuse Jigs. Koon stated the key to victory was being in the right spot to take advantage of the early bite. Huffstetler went a bit simpler saying "luck" played a big part. Huffstetler and Koon claimed the $3,800.00 first place prize along with the additional $500.00 Missouri Corn Grower Association/American Ethanol bonus for using E10 fuel in their boat along with the coveted title of South Carolina State Champions.
The South Carolina team of Matthew Outlaw and Jimmy Taylor finished the tournament where they started after day one
weighing in an impressive two-day weight of 22.99 pounds with a 2.04-pound crappie that turned out to be a tie for second big fish of the tournament. The B’n’M Pole, Midsouth Tackle sponsored team used their Mercury Motor and Minn Kota Trolling Motor to earn them second place. Outlaw and Taylor were one of the few teams who spider rigged during the tournament on what is usually considered a long lining lake. They slow trolled their B’n’M Poles and Midsouth Tackle jigs tipped with minnows in ten to fourteen feet of water with their better fish on the bottom. Outlaw stated the key to triggering the bigger fish bite was the very slow speed they trolled which varied from .3 to .5 miles per hour. Outlaw and Taylor took home $1,900.00 for their runner up finish along with $81.00 for having second big fish that tied with Troy Thiel and Ricky Willis.
Third place honors went to the team of Troy Thiel and Ricky Willis who already have a Crappie Masters tournament win in 2017. The red-hot team started Championship Saturday in fourth place but they were able to move up one after final weigh in on the strength of a strong second day weight of nearly twelve pounds. Thiel and Willis used their Mercury Motor, Humminbird Electronics, and Minn Kota Trolling Motor to long line troll Lake Greenwood fishing eighteen to twenty feet of water with their best bite coming about twelve foot deep. They stated their most productive jig color was Junebug and occasionally Tuxedo Black. Thiel and Willis took home $1,100.00 for their third place finish along with an additional $81.00 for tying with Outlaw and Taylor for second big fish of the tournament.
Fourth place went to the team of David Kingsmore and Josh Powell with a two-day weight of 20.74. They received a
check for $800.00.
Scott Mayer and Lee Mayer finished in fifth place with 19.99 and received a check for $500.00
Big fish honors went to the well-known local team of Roland and Bob Addy who weighed in a 2.08-pound crappie on day one, which held up through the tournament. They caught their big fish early afternoon and knew it was a big fish but had no idea it would hold up as the big fish of the tournament. Roland and Bob took home a $378.00 check for their effort.
Top male/female honors went to the Florida team of Eric and Leann Howard who finished the tournament in ninth place winning a $100.00 Grizzly Jig Company certificate.
The top Adult/Youth team was a heartwarming story as the team of David Simmons and adorable five-year-old Jaxon Hall finished the tournament in twelfth place and won a $100.00 gift card from Everharts Outdoor Store along with a new Minn Kota Trolling Motor to enjoy for years to come.
Click HERE for full tournament results.
Special thanks to local sponsors that include: Greenwood Regional Tourism and Visitors Bureau, Sunny 103.5, and Charlie B's.
Special thanks to our National Sponsors that include: Renewable Fuels Association, American Ethanol, Bass Pro Shops, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, Missouri Corn Growers Association, Humminbird, Minn Kota, Bobby Garland Crappie Baits, Prefish Gear, Power-Pole, Heartland Fish Fry, Ozark Rods, Skinzit, Mercury Motors, Millennium Marine, Off Shore Tackle, Jenko Fishing, Navionics, Spike-It, B’n”M Poles, Tite Lok Rod Holders, Midsouth Tackle, Slider, Crappie Now, Crappieholic, American Angler, Timmy Tom’s Jig Company, Valley Fashions, Crazy Angler, Grizzly Jig Company, Everharts Outdoor Store, Marine Metal Products, Fish-D-Funk, Ardent, Rod Safe, Zeko Shoes, Crappie King Cakes, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, The Original Rod Sox, Crappie.com, Monster Crappie Media and Huffman Publishing, and KMMO Brad & Brian in the Outdoors.