Crappie anglers from several states traveled to Lake Guntersville, at Scottsboro, AL to participate in a Crappie USA (CUSA) event presented by Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s. Local and traveling anglers fished for cash, prizes, and an opportunity to compete at the 2019 CUSA Classic which will feature a guaranteed payout of $125,000 in cash and prizes.
The anglers and staff were challenged greatly by the weather at Guntersville. There was rain, rain, and more rain amongst the inclement weather. It was drizzling in the morning and overcast all day. Once the rain started it continued all the way through the weigh-in.
“The weather was as challenging for the teams and staff as I have seen in years,” reported CUSA Operations Manager, Darrell Van Vactor. “We experience rain and strong winds up to 40 mph during the tournament. We are very thankful that all the teams made it in safely.”
A total of 38 boats fished the Guntersville event,13 in the Pro Division and 25 in the Amateur Division. A total of $7,100 was distributed to the winners.
Pro Division Results
In spite of the extreme and stormy weather, Johnny Walker and Jeff Ramsey brought 13.53 pounds to the scales to win the Pro Division. Walker and Ramsey, from Harvest, AL earned $1,400 for their day of tournament fishing.
“Guntersville is my home lake,” reported Walker. “We get to fish it 2 or 3 times a week. We were kinda’ lucky that the stormy weather did not come earlier. It only drizzled on us early but it was still tough fishing with all the current.”
“We were casting jigs around stumps,” continued Walker. “I pull my own plastic jigs and make some hair jigs too. We used a shad color all day. We caught em’ from 8 to 30 feet deep. We vertical jigged in the deeper water. We probably caught 20-25 fish for the day.”
“Those fish were scattered everywhere for no apparent reason,” concluded Walker. Just like everywhere now they are pulling water hard and that current is tough to fish. It may have been the muddy water that made the bite tough.”
The runner-up spot in the Pro Division went to John Pierce from Horton, AL and Jason Houston from Athens, AL. They had a total weight of 11.23 pounds to claim second place and earn $600.
Pierce and Houston fished north of the Waterfront area. Similar to what Walker and Ramsey had found, they caught their crappies at various depths. They were vertical jigging using natural colors in the clear water but had better luck with yellow jigs in darker colored water. The team caught over 40 fish for the day.
Rounding out the top three was Dale Thompson from Greensburg, KY and Eddie Milby from Summerville, KY. Their day of tournament fish produced a weight of 10.41 pounds and a check for $400 to which they added the $250 Ranger Cup Bonus.
“We were spider rigging in South Sauty,” reported Thompson. “The bite was tough but the quality of the fish was good. We just didn’t catch a lot of fish.”
Pro Division competitors Joe and Janette Carter won the $250 Talon Bonus.
Amateur Division Results
First place in the Amateur Division on Lake Guntersville went to Stanford, KY anglers Bobby Johnson and Brett Curlis. They weighed 13.43 pounds to earn $1000 for first place. Their bag included second big fish of the tournament for an additional $205.
Johnson and Curlis fished South Soddy Creek in 19-24 feet of water. They only caught 10 fish on the day, but they caught the crappie that counted. They were spider rigging live bait on ledges to claim the top amateur honors.
The runner up spot in the Amateur Division went to the Kentucky team of Donald Hicken from Somerset, Ky and Chad Hill from Science Hill KY. They weighed a bag of 12.38 pounds to take the spot and earn $500. They also had the Big Fish of the tournament to add $475 and fished from a Ranger boat to add the $125 Ranger Cup Bonus.
Hicken and Hill fished the north side of the lake in 8-12 feet water on breaks. They used live bait and natural color jigs. They reported that the Monkey Milk color performed best.
Bringing in the third-place weight was Roger and Karen West from Gurley, AL. The husband/wife team brought 10.37 pounds to the scales to earn $400.00.
Roger and Karen elected to shoot docks in Mint Creek. They reported fishing docks in various depths, but the shallow docks worked best on tournament day.
The couple was using Jenko Big T jigs in Monkey Milk color. Roger reported dipping the tail in chartreuse dye to create the color that caught most of the fish. They caught more than 30 fish on the day.
Ricky Baker and James Lovings traveled from Lancaster, KY to fish the Guntersville tourney. Their bag weighed 8.94 pounds and earned the team a cash award of $300.
They simplified fishing by tying off to the second bridge below the weigh-in site. They dipped live bait in 16 feet of water to catch 16 fish for the day.
The top-five was rounded out by the Alabama team of Kelly Johnson from Hartselle, AL and Laddie Cannon from Decatur. They brought 8.7 pounds to the scales to earn a check for $200.
Johnson and Cannon fished several bays in 30 feet of water. They were spider rigging and catching suspended fish. They had their best luck on Monkey Milk color jigs and caught about 50 fish on the day.
Darrell Van Vactor, CUSA Operations Manager, sent special thanks to the Comfort Inn and Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce for supporting the event and giving the crappie anglers the opportunity to fish Lake Guntersville.
Van Vactor also commended the teams for fishing in horrible weather conditions of wind, rain and even tornado warnings. He appreciates everyone’s emphasis on safety in getting to cover when needed. And finally, he thanks all the teams who volunteered to help the stranded team that had a prop shaft break just before weigh in.
The CUSA Classic Championship will be held October 23 – 26, 2019 on Old Hickory Lake, Gallatin, TN. It features a guaranteed payout of $125,000 in cash and prizes.
National Sponsors of Crappie USA are: Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s, Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, Mustad Hooks, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Talon, Lake Master Maps, Gamma, B’n’M Poles, Driftmaster Rod Holders, Ego Nets, Xtreme Bait Systems, Cumberland Crappie Double Seats, Brushpile Crappie, Charlie Brewer Slider, Crappie Now Magazine, Church Tackle Co., Jenko Fishing, Big Bite Baits, Lake Cumberland CVB, Crappie Magnet, AWD Baits, EFX Graphics, Fin n’ Frames, Crown Trophy, and JR Madd Breading.
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