Good weights on day one of Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters Alabama State Championship had anglers anxious to hit the water for the final day on April 30, 2016. Anglers launch on the Alabama River and Lake Jordon amidst mild temperatures in the mid-sixties and an expectation of mostly sunny skies.
Fishable waters began just South of Hwy 14, Gold Star State Park Bridge on the Coosa River and included the west side of the Hwy 231 bridge on the Tallapoosa River down to Jones Bluff Dam. Fishing north of the Hwy 14 Bridge or East of the Hwy 231 was strictly prohibited. All contiguous waters (those reachable by boat from the main river) may be fished between these boundaries or on Lake Jordan.
Fishing began at 6:30 am and ran until 3:00 pm. All teams were required to be in weigh-in line at Cooters Pond by 4:00 pm where the 2016 Crappie Masters Alabama State Champions were crowned.
The day one leaders where the Johnson Fishing Team of Billy and Scott Williams. The Georgia team took the day-one lead with 12.35 pounds. Following close in second place was the Midsouth Tackle team of Steve Brown and Gerald Overstreet with a weight of 12.13 pounds that included Big Fish of the day at 2.30 pounds.
As is tradition in the Crappie Masters State Championship events a “Hot Seat” scenario is established. The current tournament leaders occupy the Hot Seats until someone upsets them. The top ten teams from day one are the last to weigh-in, starting with number 10. The last team to hold the Hot Seat before the top ten from day one started weighing was Jim Reedy and Terry Elliot with 21.28 pounds.
Reedy and Elliot were soon replaced in the Hot Seats by Dan Dannenmueller and Garett Steele who had a great day to amass their two-day total of 22.74 pounds. The Bobby Garland team remained in the Hot Seats until day one leaders Billy and Scott Williams weighed in.
When all was said and done Team Williams hung on to their day one lead. The Williams team two-day weight of 24.37 pounds sent Dannenmueller and Steele to second place.
The Johnson Fishing Team used long line trolling on Lake Jordon to claim the Alabama State Crappie Championship. “The fish were suspended over fairly deep water,” reported Scott Williams. “They were 12 to 13 feet down. We were trolling about a mile an hour. Blue/chartreuse was our best color. We probably caught more fish today than we did yesterday, but the size was not quite as good as yesterday.”
“It has been a long time coming,” said Scott Williams. “We but in a lot of hours to make this happen. We stayed away from out families a week at a time. We have been so close so many times before. There is a lot of sacrifice, so to be able to put one together means a lot.”
“It feels awesome,” added Billy Williams. “Finally, finally. We have been chasing it for a while, about five years. We have been all up there around it but could never get it until now. It feels awesome.”
Billy and Scott are the 2015 Crappie Masters Angler Team of the Year. Other sponsors include B’n’M Poles, Humminbird, Minn Kota and Driftmaster Rod Holders.
Dannenmueller and Steele had a good second day to claim the second place trophies. They moved up from ninth on day one to finish second on the final day. “We started in a creek bed we had been doing well in,” reported Dannenmueller. “The fish were in there during practice. We did not hit them hard, just found them and left them alone. We had about four solid spots that we have been catching big fish off of, but they weren’t there for the tournament. We decided we would go into Swift Creek.”
“When we first got there we caught a bunch of small fish. We had marked a track through there that we wanted to fish. We just steadily worked our way, following the line we had laid out. We caught the first 2 pound plus fish around noon and we got 2 more about 2 o’clock.”
“We used a lot of Bobby Garland heads and plastics, and Road Runner heads. We had several colors that work for the whole week. The better fish were coming on Lights Out, Monkey Milk, Glacier and Glitter Critter.”
“Then we switched to a bait that I’ve had for about five years,” said Dannenmueller. “They are called P & S Jigs and they are available on my website. “They are a little Mylar jig. The bite was so light and the fish were so spooked because of all the boat and fishing traffic we started using smaller lures and that’s what we caught the big fish on. That was the best move we could have made.”
Rounding out the top ten and their two-day weights are:
Kyle Schoennherr and Rodney Neuhaus with 22.37
Steve Brown and Gerald Overstreet with 22.29
Tony Thomas with 22.23
Steve Deason and Rick Howard with 21.33
Jim Reedy and Terry Elliot 21.28
Bob Robinson and Lizabeth Robinson with 21.11
Jeff Riddle and Loren Nelms with 20.82
Whitey Outlaw and Mike Parrot with 20.42
The event was hosted by the City of Prattville and the Elmore County Commission.
Following the day-one weigh-in Kellie Cook, with Plattville Parks and Recreation, noted the benefits of having the tournament in town. “This Crappie Masters Tournament is just good tourism for us. It brings people in that may not know what we have to offer in the area. The Alabama River is a little treasure in our backyard. The people and the fisherman seem to enjoy coming here and the economic impact is good. Our hotels are full. Our restaurants are full. Our gas stations are full. It absolutely is a plus for us.”
The next Crappie Masters event will be the Ozark Rods Open National Qualifier on Rend Lake, May 7, 2016.
For more results, photos and future events click on the Crappie Masters Facebook page or visit their website.