The Crappie USA tournament trail came to Jackson County this past weekend. It’s been a few years since the lake received national attention for anything but bass fishing. This is a step in the right direction as Guntersville Lake has some of the best crappie fishing in the Tennessee River Chain but, that tends to be shadowed by the Florida strain bass.
The tournament anglers fought bad weather, rain, and the fluctuating water levels all week during practice and Saturday was not any better. It started warm and overcast outside with an air temperature of around 40 degrees. BY 10AM the bottom fell out of the sky and the rain started coming down by the bucket full. At one point you couldn’t see more than 50 yards, on the main river, in front of a moving boat. However, Guntersville lake was determined to shine even though the sun was not!
When the day was over and the weights were added up the lake proved it can put out weights with the best lakes in the southeast, even on her bad days. Top weights were pushing the 14-pound mark and big fish ran from 2.12-pounds to 2.49-pounds.
In the amateur division there were 19 boats competing. When the scales were shut off Chad Brooks and John Childers took first place with a winning weight of 13.54-pounds. The two also had the 5th place big fish at 2.14-pounds. The top three winners in the amateur division were:
- Chad Brooks & John Childers
- Gary Stephens
- Justin Harris & Jeff Harris
In the pro division there were a total of 13 teams. That’s considered a light turn out by any standards but, the recent flood water and lake fluctuations, weather conditions, and the Crappie Masters Event on Lake Washington had a huge impact on pro turn out. Several Pro anglers I spoke with were traveling to the American Crappie Trail Event on Neely Henry, that is scheduled for 16 & 17 March, and didn’t have time to fish this event. In the highly competitive world of crappie fishing, tournament conflicts are a daily issue we deal with.
When the Pro’s got done weighing in Dale Thompson and Eddie Milby took home the first place check with a total weight of 12.57. That’s almost a 1.8-pound average for 7 fish, not to bad by any set of standards, they also had 3rd place big fish at 2.39-pounds. The top 5 pro teams were as follows.
- Dale Thompson & Eddie Milby
- Chad Hitcock & Jason Tucker
- Joe Carter & Janette Carter
- Steve Ferguson & Frank Finley
- Rod Wall & Kent Driscoll
All in all it was a good event but, in retrospect one has to wonder what the turnout would have been had this been at a Mid-Lake Location such as the Jackson County Park or Goose Pond.