Brad Ruyle and Reggie Riedinger decided on a tournament day game plan according to weather forecasts, stuck to it and were rewarded with a championship Saturday, April 15th at the Crappie Masters One Day National Qualifier and first leg of the Missouri State Championship sponsored by The Renewable Fuels Association "Ethanol Fueled With Pride", American Ethanol, Bass Pro Shops, and The Missouri Corn Growers Association. Ninety-eight teams took to the waters of the Lake of the Ozarks, a 90 plus mile fishery that offers numerous water conditions from relatively shallow and dingier water in the river on the upper end to crystal clear like water on the lower end. These conditions allow any and all techniques to be utilized by the anglers. With the forecast calling for strong winds on tournament day, Ruyle and Riedinger went to the maps and devised a plan to combat that by getting out of the wind fishing washouts with years of brush in the back of them adjacent to bluff walls to catch 7 fish that topped the scale at 10.38 pounds, enough to claim the title and the $5,000.00 check that went along with it! With a Mercury Motor powered boat, Ruyle and Riedinger found their fish in practice in large part due to their Humminbird Electronics and Minn Kota Trolling Motor by weeding thru the smaller fish to identify where the bigger females were and what depth of water. Once Riedinger identified that, the team decided to stay with that game plan and either hit a home run or strike out! Ruyle and Riedinger spider rigged a mix of Ozark and Jenko Rods to catch their fish near the bottom 6 to 12 feet deep on Elite Big Dog Series Jigs their company makes in an Orca and Gray Ghost combination tipped with minnows. The team collected $5,000.00 for the victory, and also picked up the Missouri Corn Growers Association and American Ethanol bonus of $250.00 for using E10 fuel in their boat and an additional $100.00 for using Jenko Rods. Ruyle and Riedinger are sponsored by Elite Jig Company, Midwest Land Sales, and Perotti Rod Holders.
The runner up position went to last year’s champions, Tony Edgar and Travis Lepley, who know the Lake of the Ozarks
as well as anyone which was about enough to go back to back, but with 7 fish that weighed 10.09 pounds, they fell just short due in large part due to having a pound and a half fish die in their livewell and having to replace it with a smaller fish. Edgar and Lepley fished the much clearer water in the Gravois Arm and fished differently than most teams by targeting bigger females in deeper water using their Humminbird Electronics and Minn Kota Trolling Motor spider rigging shiners on their Ozark Rods in 25 feet of water catching their fish 18 feet down in the water column. Edgar and Lepley collected $2500.00 for second place and an additional $1105.00 for tying for big crappie of the tournament with a 1.98 pounder that was one of the first fish they caught on the double shiner rigs. Edgar and Lepley are sponsored by Ozark Bait and Tackle, Ranger, Evinrude, Edgarsports.com, Missouri Goldfish Hatchery, Ozark Rods, Minn Kota, Humminbird, The Edgar Jig, and Bug Band.
The third place slot was filled by the two time reigning Missouri State Championship team of Barry Morrow and Chad Maupin whose seven fish weighed in at 9.94 pounds. Morrow and Maupin used their Minn Kota trolling Motor and Humminbird Electronics to spider rig Ozark Trolling Rods in 8 feet of water, catching their weigh fish 5 feet down on minnows. Morrow and Maupin collected $1600.00 for their third place finish. The team is sponsored by Pro's Choice Marine, Beaver Bottom Baits, Everharts Outdoor Store, Huckabee Rods, Puddle Jumpers, Off Shore Tackle, Bobby Garland, Crappietown Baits, Stump Jumper, and Perotti Rod Holders.
Big fish of the tournament as mentioned earlier wound up in a tie with a 1.98 pounder weighed in by the second place
team of Tony Edgar and Travis Lepley and the team of Cory Batterson and Dianne Stevens who caught their big fish by using Off Shore Tackle Planer Boards pulling crankbaits. The fish was worth half of the pot, $1105.00, plus an additional $150.00 Off Shore Tackle Company bonus for catching the big fish on their Planer Boards.
The top Male/Female Team Award went to The Green Machine Team of Jackie and Holly Linton who actually finished in
5th place overall. The team won a $100.00 Grizzly Jig Company gift card for their finish as top Male/Female team plus $1100.00 for finishing in fifth place.
Fourth place went to the Ozark Rods Team of David Cox and Steve Hockett with seven fish weighing 9.48 pounds. They took home a check for $1300.00.
The $100.00 Everhart’s Outdoor Store Gift Certificate that is awarded to the top finishing Adult/Youth team went to the
father/daughter team of Travis and Keegan Bullock. Ten year old Keegan said the best part of fishing the tournament was "getting to fish with my dad"!
Click HERE to download full tournament results.
Crappie Masters would like to thank The Missouri Corn Growers Association for their long time support as a national sponsor and title sponsor of this tournament!
Special thanks to local sponsors that include: Captain Ron's, The Lake House Inn, Deepwater Inn, KS95 95.1FM, Sleep Inn and Suites, Chance's R Restaurant, Sport World Boat Center, The Bank of Versailles, Edgar's Outdoor Sports, Edgar's Outdoor Sports, Tortilla Flats, Honey B's Restaurant, MJ's, and Lake West Marine
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.