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Carlile and Nichols Turn Back The Field And Mother Nature With A Single Pole Victory At D'Arbonne

The Oklahoma team of Robert Carlile and Craig Nichols battled two fierce competitors, a strong field and monsoon like weather to pull away from the field by nearly two pounds to take home the title and the Louisiana State Championship at 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 February 22nd and 23rd in Farmerville, Louisiana hosted by the Union Parish Tourist Commission, the Union Parish Police Jury, and the City of Farmerville. What has become a recurring theme, tournament pre-fishing brought plenty of promise for the 70-boat field with large fish being caught and large weights being reported. However Mother Nature had much different plans for both tournament days bringing torrential rains with northeast winds on day one and a south wind, thunderstorms, and rapidly rising muddy water on day two making Anglers scramble to backup plans and new locations on Championship Saturday. Many teams in the top ten after day one struggled and fell back in the field while day one leaders with an impressive 14.50 pounds, Carlile and Nichols stayed the course and stuck to their game plan going in, which they alluded to as the key to victory, and were just shy of a 14 fish two pound average weighing in an impressive 27.65 pounds taking home the $6,400.00 Championship prize, a $100.00 Jenko Fishing Bonus, the title of 2019 Crappie Masters Louisiana State Champions. Carlile had found quality early spawning fish two weeks prior to the tournament in certain areas and knew then those would be the area they fished in the tournament. What was slightly different than techniques used by the majority of fellow competitors was the fact they chose to single pole bottom depressions on flats in 14 to 18 feet of water. The team used their electronics and Navionics mapping to help them eliminate 90% of their fishable waters. In fact to deal and combat the anticipated wind change, went to the opposite end of the lake on Championship Saturday. Carlile and Nichols caught their fish using 1/4 ounce Probuilt Jig Heads tipped with a Bobby Garland Beetlejuice Minnow Mind’R and when the bite was tough the duo went to a hair jig. The team also utilized small willow leaf spinner blades to help entice a strike, mentioning that after losing their final pair of spinner blades they did not get another bite the final two hours of fishing on Championship Saturday, but they already had enough weight to claim victory.

The second place team after day one, Dustin Harris and Kelly Graham, held on to that spot after day two bringing in 14 fish weighing 25.87 pounds good for a check totaling $3,200.00. The team spider rigged in 14 to 16 feet of water targeting structure using a combination of Bobby Garland Crappie Baits and minnows. Harris and Graham also said their electronics were a key factor in finding productive areas.

Third place went to the reigning champion father and son team of Jock and Nicholas Young who moved from 8th place after day one with an outstanding day two briefly putting them in the Millennium Marine hot seats, and nearly a second victory weighing in 25.73 pounds. Nick who guides on D’Arbonne, knew of some sloughs off the main lake that held quality fish and that’s where the team placed their focus both tournament days also spider rigging 14 to 17 feet of water catching quality fish on a Bobby Garland and Minnow combination. The Young’s collected $2,100.00 for their efforts.

The fourth place team of Dustin Boudreaux and Glenn Davis made a strong jump on Championship Saturday from 16th place to be the first team to sit in the Millennium Marine Hot Seats eventually settling into the 4th place position and taking home a check for $1,750.00 after a two day weight of 24.75 pounds.

Great story for the fifth place adult/youth and father/son team of TJ and Alex Palmer who had an incredible Championship Saturday bringing in the biggest 7 fish stringer of the tournament with an incredible 14.71 pounds vaulting them from a distant 47th place after day one all the way to 5th, and a two total of 24.55 pounds. TJ stated that day one the two seemed to working against each other and Friday evening agreed to focus and work together and that proved to be critical as they jumped an amazing 42 places to take home the 5th place money of $1,500.00 plus winning the top adult/youth team honors receiving a $100.00 Everharts Outdoor Store gift card and a MinnKota Trolling Motor.  

Top Male/Female honors went to husband and wife team representing the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Jay Don and Rhonda Reeve who just returned to tournament fishing after Rhonda went through and second bout with cancer also had a strong day two weighing in 14 fish topping the scales at 24.38 pounds winning a Humminbird Helix 5 and the 7th place prize of $1,200.00.  

The big fish pot was split between the teams of Dusty McGehee and Landon Pender and Freddie Dooley and Johnny Lovelady. Each team caught a 2.60 pound Crappie on day one, and each team went home with a check for $690.00.

Even with adverse weather conditions, Lake D’Arbonne showed why its one of the top Crappie fisheries in the country and a true destination location.

Click HERE for full tournament results.

Crappie Masters would like to thank the Union Parish Tourist Commission, the Union Parish Police Jury, and the City of Farmerville for their hospitality and continued support hosting the Crappie Masters Louisiana State Championship.  

Special thanks to local sponsors that include: Union Parish Tourist Commission, Union Parish Police Jury, City of Farmerville, D'Arbonne Pointe, Lake D'Arbonne State Park, D'Arbonne Lake Motel, D'Arbonne Diner, Z 107.5, and K & M Coffee, Corks & Camo.

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, Millennium Marine, Muddy Water Baits, Jenko Fishing, Wyld Gear Coolers, Everharts Outdoor Store, HH Rods and Reels, Off Shore Tackle, Navionics, B’n’M Poles, Bobby Garland Crappie Baits, Midsouth Tackle, American Angler, Crappieholic, Frontier Metal, Valley Fashions, Crappie Now, Slider, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, The Original Rod Sox, Marine Metal Products, Timmy Tom’s Jig Company,, Ardent, Fish-D-Funk, Skipper’s Jigs, Foxy Fishing Gear, ProBuilt Jigs, Sure Life, Pautzke Bait Company, Fish N Tools, Quickfire, Monster Crappie Media and Huffman Publishing, and KMMO Brad & Brian in the Outdoors.