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Old School Knowledge Leads To A Young Victory

To say Mother Nature threw everything she had at the nearly 150 Anglers that participated in the Crappie Masters sponsored by The Renewable Fuels Association "Ethanol Fueled With Pride", American Ethanol, and Bass Pro Shops Lake D'Arbonne National Qualifier and Louisiana State Championship at Farmerville would be an understatement! Torrential flooding rains, high winds, and rapidly rising water challenged anglers to use all their skills to find and stay with the quality Lake D'Arbonne Crappie over the two tournament days February 23rd and 24th at Farmerville, Louisiana. In the end, the father and son team of Nicholas and Jock Young used extensive knowledge of their home lake to outlast a stellar field topping the scales with a 14 fish, two day limit of 24.40 pounds, moving from third place after day one to claim their first Crappie Masters Louisiana State Championship along with the $6,000.00 top prize that accompanied. The Youngs keyed in on and took advantage of something most teams did not try. The stayed in the middle of the lake and fished in and near the trash lines flowing through. Nicholas stated he and his father could hear fish feeding on shad in the areas and figured some of those fish were likely crappie and that they would be shallow, which turned out to be the case. Another key to victory was making two critical moves on Championship Saturday to combat the 15 to 20 mile per hour winds. The Youngs spider rigged minnows on Jenko Trolling Rods staying with quality fish using their Mercury motor, Humminbird Electronics, and MinnKota Trolling Motor in 12 to 15 feet of water catching fish 3 to 5 foot deep.  Both father and son said they put in extensive time pre-fishing and if they were to win a Crappie Masters tournament they wanted it to be with each other on Lake D’Arbonne.  Along with the $6,000.00 top prize, the Youngs also collected the Missouri Corn Growers Association/American Ethanol $500.00 bonus for using E10 fuel in their boat, also an additional $100.00 from Jenko Fishing for using Jenko Rods for a take home check totaling $6,600.00. The Youngs are sponsored by D'Arbonne Sporting Goods, Jenko Fishing, Mr. Crappie, and Ludwig Marine.

Moving from eighth place after day one to lay claim to the runner up position on day two was the always formidable team of Dustin Harris and Kelley Graham. They fell just short of the title with a strong day two, weighing in 14 fish for a final weight of 24.18 pounds good for the $3,000.00 second place prize. Harris and Graham employed a technique of flooding their boat to add additional weight to hold their boat and lines still to alleviate up and down movement due to strong winds, which paid off. They spider rigged Jenko Mermaid colored baits on pink Pro Built Jigs utilizing everything they could out of their Mercury Motor, Humminbird Electronics, and MinnKota Trolling Motor to bring in one of the largest weights on Championship Saturday. Harris and Graham also found the larger fish were shallow in the water column fishing 13 to 18 feet of water but catching the bulk of their fish 4 feet under the surface. Harris and Graham are sponsored by Jenko Fishing, Pro Built Jigs, and Crappieholic.

Dropping one spot after day one landing in third place was the Navionics, Off Shore Tackle team of fishing legend Tommy Skarlis and Mike Baker who weighed in a two-day championship weight of 23.46 pounds garnering them a take home check of $2,000.00. Skarlis and Baker used their electronics and MinnKota Trolling Motor to target fish deeper than the top two teams.  They caught their fish spider rigging Muddy Water Baits in 11 to 33 feet of water at depths ranging from 6 to 16 feet. Skarlis and Baker are sponsored by Navionics, Ranger Boats, Do-It Molds, Raymarine, Off Shore Tackle, Power Pole, Awesome Crappie, Awesome Walleye, Optima Batteries, Hutch Tackle, Grizzly Coolers, Whitetail-R, Fish On Rod Holders, Smooth Moves Seat Mounts, and Gemini Jersey.

Ronnie Turner and Jason Hinton finished in fourth place and earned a check for $1,700.00.


In fifth place was the Jenko Fishing team of Tony and Mike Sheppard. They received a check for $1,450.00

Big Fish honors and the $1,036.00 check for their 2.81 Slab went to the team of Michael Kimble and Jeremy Davis whocaught the D'Arbonne hog on day one.

Top Male/Female honors went to the Crappie Mates team of Dan and Sue Dannemueller who weighed in a 2-day weight of 19.07 pounds and took home a Humminbird Helix 5 for the award.

Day one leaders Kenneth Myers and Mark Taylor who topped the field with 13.24 pounds took home 14, 12, and 10 foot Denali Rods plus $250.00 for that accomplishment.

Even with weather conditions far from optimal, Lake D'Arbonne showed it is one of the top crappie fisheries and destinations in the country.

Crappie Masters would like to thank the Union Parish Tourist Commission, the Union Parish Chamber of Commerce, the City of Farmerville, and the Ruston-Lincoln Parish CVB for their continued commitment to hosting this prestigious event.

To download full tournament results click HERE.

Special thanks to local sponsors that include: Union Parish Tourist Commission, Farmerville Chamber of Commerce, Ruston Lincoln Parish CVB, D'Arbonne Pointe, Fairfield Inn and Suites, D'Arbonne Lake Motel, Lake D'Arbonne State Park, Z 107.5, D'Arbonne Sporting Goods, D'Arbonne Lake Guide Service, and D'Arbonne Diner

Special thanks to our National Sponsors that include: Renewable Fuels Association, American Ethanol, Bass Pro Shops, Missouri Corn Growers Association, Humminbird, Minn Kota, Ozark Rods, Mercury Motors, Power-Pole, Jenko Fishing, Millennium Marine, Bobby Garland Crappie Baits, Off Shore Tackle, B’n'M Poles, Navionics, Spike-It, On This Side Catering, American Angler, Tite-Lok Rod Holders, Midsouth Tackle, Slider, Honey Hole Outdoors, Crappie Now, Crappieholic, Timmy Tom’s Jig Company, Marine Metal Products, Valley Fashions, Grizzly Jig Company, Everharts Outdoor Store, ProBuilt Jigs, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, The Original Rod Sox, Fish-D-Funk, Ardent, Crazy Angler, Skipper’s Jigs, Denali Rods, Foxy Fishing Gear, HH Rods, Rod Safe,, Monster Crappie Media and Huffman Publishing, and KMMO Brad & Brian in the Outdoors.