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.

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