Keith Lusher 06.16.23
The National Crappie League held an Open Division, two-day national qualifier on Sardis Lake in Mississippi. It was a hot weekend as the temperatures topped out in the mid-90s. The fishing was also hot as several 10-pound crappie stringers were brought to the scales on both days. In the end, it was the team of JoJo Baker of MS. and Phillip Wilson of TN. who caught a 2-day total of 20.85 pounds. Baker and Wilson took the lead on day one with a 10.77-pound stringer and were able to follow up with another 10-pound stringer on the last day of competition. All their fish came from the shallows with their biggest crappie, which was a 2.54-pounder, caught in only four feet of water. Baker and Wilson used a jig made by Just Another Crappie Bait Co. with other plastics in brown and gold.
The team said they stuck with their game plan and resisted the urge to move off the pattern. That strategy proved the key to success that led them to first place, earning them $7400 and $2000 for the tournament Big Fish with a 2.54-pound slab.
Lamar Bunting and Gene Neumeier of AR came in second place with a two-day total of 20.50 pounds. This was .35 pounds shy of first place. Bunting and Neumeier fished various colored Bobby Garland Baby Shad jigs and caught their fish by 10:30 and began culling. They said the key to their finish was not to get tied down to one spot. Second place earned them $3200, and they tied for second big fish with 2.53 pounds, earning $150.
Third place went to Jeremy Aldridge and Nick Hudson of MS. with 20.48 pounds to earn $2400. They used Crappie Magnet jigs and shiners and caught their fish by 10:00 a.m. and went after big fish the rest of the day.
Fourth place was Joey Ferguson and John Harrison with 20.34 pounds for $1400. Fifth place was Stephen Sullivan and Jamie Roberson with 20.06 pounds for $1100. Sixth place was Frank Haidusek and Eric Howard with 19.97 pounds for $850 plus a tie for second big fish for $150. Seventh place was Alex Hall and Cassidy Box with 19.89 pounds for $750. Eighth place was Chad Rogers, David McWilliams, and Trae McWilliams with 19.51 pounds for $650, plus the Top Adult/Youth Team for $300. Ninth Place was Tony Hughes with 18.83 pounds for $550. Tenth place was Chris Chambers with 18.81 pounds for $500. Steve Adams was the Top Senior for $300. Spencer and Holly Robertson were the Top Male/Female to earn $300.