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Making proper decisions and willingness to go against what history had taught them, gave Hall of Famer Paul Alpers, MO, and partner Phillip Haynes, MO, a come from behind victory at the 2017 Crappie Masters National Championship. Sponsored by The Renewable Fuels Association "Ethanol fueled with pride", American Ethanol, and Bass Pro Shops and locally hosted by the Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Washington County Board of Supervisors, the City of Lake Village, the Lake Village Economic Development Committee, and the Lake Village Chamber of Commerce, one hundred and twenty five teams came to Greenville, Mississippi and Lake Village, Arkansas, September 20-23, to participate on Lakes Washington, Chicot, Ferguson, Whittington, Lee, and Paradise locally hosted by the Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Washington County Board of Supervisors, the City of Lake Village, the Lake Village Economic Development Committee, and the Lake Village Chamber of Commerce.


Unseasonably hot weather and dropping river levels played a major role on many of the teams who had aspirations of winning the 2017 Crappie Masters National Championship which led to a tough bite and fish changing depths during both Championship days. The opportunity to fish six lakes was not lost as most teams fished all the lakes at some point during practice, but focus on one, Lake Ferguson, led one team to a title.

Paul Alpers and Phillip Haynes, both from Missouri, outlasted the field and elements to win the 2017 Crappie Masters National Championship with a two day total weight of 21.89 pounds. Sitting in 8th place after day 1 and only one pound out of the lead, the eventual Champions had to make adjustments on day two to find the quality fish in a little deeper water. Alpers credited Haynes ability to operate their Humminbird Electronics, including the Humminbird 360, and Minn Kota Trolling Motor with being able to keep up with the fish movement and "chase them down". While Alpers and Haynes caught fish in 6-13 feet of water, at all depths they had a more consistent bite just off the bottom spider rigging B’n’M Poles and Ozark Rods using Charlie Brewer Slider Jigs, Bobby Garland Baits, and Midsouth Tackle tubes, white and chartreuse colors, on Road Runner and Timmy Tom's Jig Heads, mentioning the blade on both were key to triggering the bite. For winning the 2017 Crappie Masters National Championship, Alpers and Haynes took home a $30,000.00 cash prize, and added an additional $2000.00 Missouri Corn Growers Association and American Ethanol bonus for using E10 fuel in their boat, and a Jenko Fishing prize package. Alpers and Haynes are sponsored by Martin Metal, Fire Disc, B’n’M Poles, Midsouth Tackle, Charlie Brewers Slider Jigs, Bobby Garland, Mitchell, Stren, Bug Band, Gator Guards, Sweetheart Jigs, American Angler, Ranger Boats, Rod Sox, Rockport Rattler Jig Heads, Driftmaster, Sure Life, and Power-Pole.

The runner up position went to the Missouri team of Richard Bowling and Garry Lee, 21.50 pounds, who took home the $10,000.00 second place prize and a Jenko Fishing prize package. Bowling and Lee fished both days on Lake Washington, focusing generally on the south end of the lake using a Mercury Motor to get there, then honing in with their Minn Kota Trolling Motor and Humminbird Electronics to spider rig 14 foot Ozark Rods using double minnow rigs in 4 to 7 foot of water with the better fish in the three foot range.

The team of TJ and Tony Grooms, KY, finished third place with a total weight of 21.47 pounds. Team Grooms used Humminbird Electronics and Minn Kota Trolling Motor to pull crankbaits on Jenko Planer Boards in 7 to 9 feet of water catching the bulk of their weigh fish in the three foot range. TJ and Tony Grooms collected $5000.00 and a Jenko Fishing prize package for their effort.

Fourth place went to the Texas team of Randy Wolf and James Butz with 20.91 pounds. They took home a check for $3000.00.

Steve and David White, AR, finished fifth with 20.62 pounds and received a check for $2500.00.

Big Fish of the Championship went to the team of Barry Morrow, MO, and Chad Maupin, MO, who caught a 2.19 pounder on Lake Washington. This crappie was worth $1680.00 plus two Denali Pryme Rods and Hats and a Jenko Fishing prize package.

Second Big Fish money went to Tony Thomas, AL, and Ronnie Bleas, AL, who weighed in a 2.09 Lake Washington dandy and took home $720.00.

The Male/Female National Championship went to the team of Cory Batterson, IA, and Dianne Stevens, MO, with a two day weight of 20.61 pounds. They took home a new Minn Kota Terrova Trolling Motor and a check for $2200.00 for finishing 6th overall.

The Adult/Youth National Champions also happened to be the 2017 Crappie Masters Adult/Youth Angler Team of the Year, the team of David Simmons, MO, and young Jaxon Hall, GA, weighing in at 17.86 pounds. The team won a $3000.00 college scholarship, a Minn Kota Terrova Trolling Motor, and a $100.00 Everhart’s Outdoor Store Gift Card.

Click HERE for full tournament results.

Crappie Masters would like to give special thanks to Mike Jones who worked tirelessly to help make the 2017 Crappie Masters National Championship a huge success along with all of the local area sponsors, national sponsors, as well as all the teams who took part in the Championship and throughout the 2017 Crappie Masters season.

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, On The Side Catering, 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, Crappie King Cakes, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, The Original Rod Sox,, Monster Crappie Media and Huffman Publishing, and KMMO Brad & Brian in the Outdoors.

The 2018 Crappie Masters season gets underway on October 14, 2017 with an Early Bird qualifier on Carlyle Lake at Carlyle, Illinois. Find out all the information at and on Facebook.