A powerful field of anglers came together on January 21st and 22nd, 2022 to kick off the 2022 Crappie Masters season on the historic St. Johns River out of Deland, Florida for a National Qualifier hosted by the West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority and presented by HH Rods and Reels.
Day one brought mostly stable weather, however, with the promise of a strong cold front on Crappie Masters Championship Saturday, nearly 100 anglers wanted to make sure they put up a solid weight on the first day, as they did not know what the weather change would do to the bite on day two–and the numbers were impressive.
Over half of the top 10 teams on day one weighed in at over 13 pounds, with the local team of Randal Stormant and Bobby Robinson leading the way with an impressive 13.83 lbs. This tournament was just the third one ever fished by Stormant and Robinson.
The eventual big fish of the tournament, a 2.89 lb dandy, was also weighed in on day one by Oklahoma’s Joey Cook, who took home the first Car Zone USA $2,000 Big Fish Bonus!
With only about a pound separating most of the top ten teams it was anyone’s tournament to win. Stormant and Robinson made sure the field never got close, even after the HH Rods and Reels team of Eric and Leann Howard wowed the crowd with over 14 lbs on Championship Saturday, taking their place in the Millennium Marine Hot Seats and looking like they were on the verge of their second Crappie Masters win.
However, Stormant and Robinson not only backed up their day one weight but completely shocked everyone with an unbelievable 15.11 lbs on the second day of the tournament, totaling a two-day weight of 28.94 lbs to claim the victory and the $10,000 prize that went with it.
The team fished the way they were taught by Robinson’s father, which was using long rods with a jig, no eyes on them, and no reels. They were essentially cane pole fishing pads and structure out of their small boat that had no electronics on it (outside of the GoPro on Championship Saturday).
Eric and Leann Howard settled for the runner-up spot with 27.64 lbs and a $3,000 check along with an additional $200 for being the top Male/Female team.
Finishing in third place was the team of Allen Bates and Lynn Penley with 27.41 lbs and a check for $1,800 for the finish. In 4th place were the Georgia team of Craig Chapman and Jason Little with 26.55 lbs, receiving $1,300 for their efforts. And rounding out the top five was the team of George Parker and Ira Douglas with 26.05 lbs, taking home $1,000.
Crappie Masters would like to thank The West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority and Georgia Turner for their support and hospitality, along with presenting sponsor HH Rods and Reels.
Additional local sponsors include Highland Park Fish Camp, Astor Bait and Tackle, Holiday Inn Express and Suites, Sparky’s Place Restaurant, Big River Marina and Lodge, Parramore’s Camp, St. John’s Marina and Resort, and a special thank you to Porzig Realty Beth Broxton, and Guild Mortgage for providing Kids Fishing Rodeo prizes.
Fantasy Fishing Results
In addition to being the first stop on the 2022 Crappie Masters National Trail, the tournament on the St. Johns River was also the very first Fantasy Fishing contest of the year. Fantasy players loaded up on some of the heavy hitters for this event, with the team of Frank Haidusek / David Lane ending up on over 75% of lineups this week. The team of Richard Faulk / Ashley Faulk were also owned by 75% of the fantasy teams, while Eric Howard / Leann Howard were on 50% of the lineups submitted.
It was Mike Baker Videos who took the first Fantasy Fishing win of the season, with a very impressive score of 722.50 fantasy points. The best possible score in Fantasy Fishing this week would have been 792.00 points.
You can click here to see the full Fantasy Fishing results from the St. Johns River.
Great story! I used to fish the St.John’s as a boy with my dad in the summer. Used to catch a lot of crappie and bluegills until he found a green Smithwick Rogue floating tied it on and caught a 5 lb largemouth twitching it on top. We instantly became bass fisherman. 😂