You may have heard the phrase "being in the zone", it looks like the Tennessee husband and wife team of Paul and Elizabeth Turner are there. The Turner's continue on a run of outstanding tournament finishes that started in 2016 that garnered them the Crappie Masters Male/Female Angler Team of the Year, and hasn't slowed down yet. The pair pulled out a narrow victory under adverse weather conditions and a very strong field of 79 other boats in the Crappie Masters sponsored by The Renewable Fuels Association "Ethanol Fueled With Pride", American Ethanol, Bass Pro Shops, Washington County Convention and Visitros Bureau, Washington County Board of Supervisors, and the City of Lke Village Lakes Washington, Lee, Ferguson, Paradise, Whittington, and Chicot One Day National Qualifier Tournament based out of Greenville, Mississippi Saturday, March 11.
Team Turner brought seven fish to the scale that weighed 12.35 pounds just .05 pounds ahead of runners up, Keith Sullivan and Monty Blount. Changing weather conditions during practice week and especially on tournament day with high winds, cold temperatures, and rain made fishing conditions less than desirable for the field. Adjustments to fish movement were key to the teams that finished near the top. Paul Turner stated he hadn't been successful in practice finding the two pound plus fish he felt it would take to win the tournament. It was only on tournament day after his wife Elizabeth arrived on Friday night that it all came together. The Turners were spider rigging black and chartreuse Bobby Garland Slab Slay’R baits tipped with minnows in seven feet of water catching their weigh fish four feet deep. The team used their Humminbird Electronics to locate the better fish, and said their Minn Kota Trolling Motor was huge in being able to keep their War Eagle boat on the fish in the strong winds using among others Jenko Rods. Paul and Elizabeth took home the $4,500.00 first place prize along with an additional $250.00 for using E10 fuel in their Yamaha outboard through the Missouri Corn Growers Association/American Ethanol Angler Incentive Program. The Turner's also picked up an extra $100.00 for using Jenko Rods and Jenko net bringing their total $4,850.00 along with a $100.00 Grizzly Jig Gift Card for being the top Male/Female Team of the tournament. Congratulations to Paul and Elizabeth Turner on another outstanding finish.
Just outside the winner’s circle filling in the second place slot was the team of
Keith Sullivan and Monty Blount who brought seven fish weighing 12.30 pounds to the scale narrowly missing the victory. The team used their Mercury powered boat, Humminbird Electronics, and Minn Kota Trolling Motor to slow troll their B'n’M Poles in four to seven feet of water using Midsouth Tackle orange and chartreuse tubes tipped with a minnow to catch their weigh fish off the bottom. Sullivan and Blount felt the strong cold fronts pushed the fish down and their baits had to be just off the bottom to trigger the bite. The team took home $2,250.00 for their second place finish.
Rounding out the top three was another male/female team off to a fast start again in 2017. The Midsouth Tackle, B'n’M Poles, Kirk Auto duo of Vic Finkley and Kim Gray took the early lead in the tournament when they topped the scale with 11.72 pounds. Finkley and Gray used their Humminbird Electronics, and Minn Kota Trolling Motor to spider rig black and chartreuse Mid South Tubes in seven feet of water also catching their fish off the bottom with B'n’M Poles. The tandem took home a check for $1,500.00 and stayed near the top in the Crappie Masters Angler Team of the Year Race.
Jerry and Debbie Gross and the Power Pole team of Charles and Travis Bunting tied for the fourth place position. Both teams earned a check for $1050.00.
Big fish of the tournament was weighed in by the team of Chad Nugent and John Wood who topped the scale with a 2.49 pound Lake Washington giant and took home not only a new pair of Zeko Shoes for each, but also a check for an impressive $1,120.00.
Second place big fish honors went to the team of Shawn Andreason and Willie Maxwell who weighed a solid 2.42 pound crappie which garnered the team a check for $480.00.
The top Adult/Youth winner was the team of Mathew and Brandon Tosh who received a $100.00 Everharts Outdoor Store Gift Card for their finish.
A new element also debuted at the tournament, as Friday marked the first Crappie Masters Lake Washington Big Crappie Challenge. The tournament was free to all current Crappie Masters members or pay a $25.00 fee to fish from 7am until 12pm for your biggest crappie to bring to the scale and claim a share of the $3,000.00 purse. 167 anglers took part bringing in some big, impressive Lake Washington Crappie. When all the fish had been weighed, the Crappie Masters Lake Washington Big Crappie Challenge Champion was Paula Nowell, fishing by herself, who topped the field with a 2.64 giant that gained her a $1,000.00 check, and a $100.00 Grizzly Jig certificate for being the female weighing the biggest crappie. Second place big crappie not only came to the scale at the last minute, but also was caught just two minutes before the weigh in line closed by Jay Don Reeve who brought in a 2.57 pound toad that was good enough for the $600.00 second place prize. The top three was rounded out by The Green Machines Jackie Linton whose 2.33 pound crappie was good for the third place prize money of $400.00. All anglers stated they had fun and expressed a wish that the Lake Washington Big Crappie Challenge would become a yearly tradition.
Special thanks to local sponsors that include: Greenville/Washington County Mississippi Tourism and Visitors Bureau, Washington County Board of Supervisors, City of Lake Village, Greenville Inn & Suites, Hampton Inn, Harlow's Casino Resort & Spa, Southern Stars RV Park and Cabins, Bait N Thangs Bait Shop, Lighthouse Inn, Roy's Store/Cabins/RV Park/Campground, South Shore Cottages, Days Inn, Pecan Grove RV Park, CCA Properties, Wdms 100.7, Trop Casino, Garfields Restaurant & Pub, Cajun Shotgun House & BBQ, Sherman's Restaurant, Cow Pen, and Cicero's Restaurant.
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.
The next scheduled Crappie Masters Tournament Event will take place on March 24 and 25 at the home of the 3 pound Crappie and the number one Crappie Lake in the country, Grenada Lake, Mississippi.