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Hurrican Howard Makes Landfall at Eufaula, OK

It was an emotional and well received victory by peers for the HH Rods and Reels, and Foxy Fishing Gear Team of Eric and Leann Howard at the Crappie Masters sponsored by The Renewable Fuels Association “Ethanol Fueled With Pride”, and Bass Pro Shops Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma National Qualifier, April 21, 2018 locally sponsored by The Lake Eufaula Association, and the Eufaula Chamber of Commerce.

A Crappie Masters tournament win has been in sight for Team Howard, but wasn’t realized until a 1,000 plus mile trip from their home state of Florida for the first time, fishing the intimidating Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Oklahoma. Weather again played a huge factor on Championship Saturday with an approaching cold front followed by steady rain and thunderstorms making the bite for many of the 54 Angler teams change dramatically tournament day. Reports of 10 to 11 pound weights on Friday fell to 7 to 8 Saturday without making the necessary adjustments that Team Howard did after a slow start.  The Howard’s made a critical move going to deeper water prior to the front as opposed to following its arrival. From past experience, Eric and Leann found their weigh fish in 4 to 13 feet of water at scattered depths, but settled generally in the 6 to 8 foot range catching the better fish just 2 feet below the surface. Eric said in practice they were in the nine and a half to ten pound range, but bumped that up to 11.35 pounds on 7 fish with a 2.18 kicker which was the second place big fish good for $324.00 on tournament day topping the defending champion team of Charlie and Travis Bunting by .33 pounds taking home the $4,000.00 winners check along with the additional $250.00 Missouri Corn Growers Association and American Ethanol bonus for using E10 fuel in their boat, and another $100.00 bonus for using Jenko Fishing products in their win. Eric and Leann were also the top placing Male/Female Team of the tournament good for a Humminbird Helix 5. Team Howard spider rigged orange and chartreuse Skippers Moon Jigs and hair Jigs tipped with minnows on HH Rods to claim the title, along with Humminbird Electronics, MinnKota Trolling Motor, and a Mercury powered Nitro Boat which were also mentioned as key to dealing with the elements. Team Howard is sponsored by HH Rods and Reels, Foxy Fishing Gear, Power Pole, Skipper’s Jigs, Bobby Garland, Jiganomics, Fish Monkey, Rod Sox, Trapper Tackle, Spike-It, and Dub-L-Seat.  

It was close to going back to back for the Power Pole Team of Charlie and Travis Bunting who gave the Howard’s a scare weighing 7 fish that topped the scale at 11.02 pounds, good for the $2,000.00 second place prize. The Buntings spider rigged white and chartreuse Muddy Water Baits, along with black and pink baits using B’n’M Poles in 6 to 12 feet of water catching fish in scattered depths. Charlie and Travis have long relied on Humminbird Electronics, MinnKota Trolling Motor, and Mercury Motor to their success. The Buntings are sponsored by Power Pole, B n M Poles, Balzout, Off Shore Tackle, Muddy Water Baits, Dub-L-Seat, Missouri Goldfish Hatchery, Pro’s Choice Marine, Humminbird, MinnKota, Ranger Boats, Mercury Motors, and Engel Coolers.

Third Place went to the area team of Dillon Hackler and Beau Wilkins who finished in the same position in 2017. Hackler and Wilkins used their MinnKota Trolling Motor to 2 pole black and chartreuse baits in 2 to 9 feet of water catching the bigger fish 5 foot deep. Hackler and Wilkins took home $1,100.00 for their third place finish. Dillon Hackler and Beau Wilkins are sponsored by Huckabee Rods and Redneck Rubber. 

Will Scott and David Earls finished in fourth place with a weight of 10.64 pounds. Scott and Earls also had Big Fish of the tournament, a 2.21 Eufaula dandy. Scott and Earls received $850.00 for fourth place and $756.00 for Big Fish. 

Finishing in fifth place, with a weight of 10.57, was the team of Wade Dunn and Rick Borum. Dunn and Borum received a check for $700.00.

Top Adult/Youth team and the $100.00 Everharts Outdoor Store Gift Card that goes with the honor went to the team of Dusty and Taylor Keener.   

Crappie Masters would like to thank The Lake Eufaula Association, and the Eufaula Chamber of Commerce for their support.

Special thanks to local sponsors that include: Lake Eufaula Association, Eufaula Chamber of Commerce, Jellystone Park Camp Resort, Lakeview Landing Motel, Snug Harbon Cabins, Highway 9 Café, Eufaula Cove Marina, VFW Post 8798, and B&B Bait and Tackle.

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, Midsouth Tackle, Slider, Honey Hole Outdoors, Crappie Now, Crappieholic, Timmy Tom’s Jig Company, Marine Metal Products, Valley Fashions, Everharts Outdoor Store, ProBuilt Jigs, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, The Original Rod Sox, Fish N Tools, Quickfire, 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. 

Next up on the Crappie Masters Tournament Trail schedule is the Kentucky/Tennessee State Championship April 27, 28 in Paris, Tennessee. Get details at