Elmore County, AL. The National Crappie League (NLC) visited the Alabama River, where 17 local and traveling teams competed for a total payout of $23,200 and an opportunity to compete at the NCL National Championship in 2024.
Tournament weather included sun, light breezes, and 70 degrees. Bad weather on Thursday and water fluctuations did impact tournament fishing.
First place was the team of Scott Williams and Jacob Sapp. They had a ten fish, two-day total of 21.11 pounds to take the win. They also caught big fish at 3.62 pounds for $2,000. The team earned a total of $9,500. Williams and Sapp were one of the few top ten teams to catch a bigger weight on day two, with 9.87 on day one followed by 11.24 pounds on the second day, pushing them into first place by just over a half pound.
“We didn’t get to practice much, and the only pattern we had was docks,” says Williams. “We knew that wouldn’t win here on the river. On day one, we caught some fish but not a big stringer. We did find six good fish under one dock and only caught one, so we could save some for day two.
“On day two, we waited to fish our docks until the sun got up, so we started by just scanning in Swift Creek in 10 to 12 feet of water. We found two brush piles and had our limit in about five minutes. We moved again and found two fish on a stump. We caught the smaller one at 1.5 pounds, and I scanned around and found a giant about 20 feet from the boat. Jacob made a perfect cast, and that was the 3.62.”
The team had a rotation on the docks and worked open water in Swift Creek for big females. LiveScope was a key tool for finding their winning crappie. When they were close to a fish, they dropped a minnow and caught 100% of them. For spookier fish, they casted 20 to 30 feet with a jig and caught about 50%.
Second place was Aaron Knight from Montgomery, Alabama. He caught 11.82 pounds on day one with a 2.79-pound big fish, followed by 8.74 on day two, for a total of 20.56 pounds. Knight earned $3,200 dollars for the good finish.
Knight stayed in shallow water, targeting shallow, actively spawning females. He concentrated on two to three feet of water, always staying under six feet deep. LiveScope was a key factor in selectively targeting his big fish.
Scott & Kellie Mitchell took top male/female honors and third place overall. The team caught 11.62 pounds on day one with a 2.89 big fish. Day two weight was 8.74 for a total of 20.36 pounds. The team earned $2500 for third place and $300 for top male/female team, for a total of $2,800.
The Mitchell’s start in Cooper Howard Creek did not produce the size fish they wanted, so a move to Swift Creek proved to be a good choice because that’s where they caught their quality fish. They used LiveScope, fished near the mouth of the creek, and fished the edge of a ledge. On day two, they had their limit by 7:10 am and were culling the rest of the day. They used HH Rods.
The second big fish of the tournament was caught by Michael Pelsor and Wendell Heath with a 3.00 slab crappie to earn $300. They finished fourth place for an overall total of $2100.
Dan and Sue Dannenmueller were the Top Senior Team to win $300.
The National Crappie Tournament is committed to paying $20,000 in Open tournaments with a 1-to-4 payout, paying one place per four teams. This tournament paid a total of $23,200.
$9,500 Scott Williams-Jacob Sapp
$3,200 Aaron Knight
$2,800 Scott & Kellie Mitchell
$2,100 Michael Pelsor-Wendell Heath
$1,500 Jason Threadgill-Jonathan Phillips
$900 Frank Haidusek-Eric Howard
$800 Brett & Robert Luther
$700 John Harrison-Kevin McCarley
$600 Matthew & Brian Dennison
$500 Whitey & Matthew Outlaw
$300 Dan & Sue Dannenmueller
Thank you to the Elmore County Economic Development Authority for hosting the tournament.
NCL national sponsors include CarZone USA; Crappie Monster; Grenada Lake Resorts; H&H Rods and Reels; Fisherman’s Haven; Power-Pole; Rockport Rattler; Outlaw Lithium Batteries; Pro Controll; O’Reilly Auto; Team Crappie; Everharts Outdoors; Crappie Brakes; Millennium Marine; Ludwig Marine; Morris Marine; Charlie Brewer Slider; B’n’M Poles; Crappie Magnet; Jenko Fishing; Midsouth Super jigs; Soremouth Tackle; Quality Plumbing N Heating; Snacky Lures; Crappie.com; Pro DeZigns; CrappieNOW
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