Warm and sunny weather greeted crappie anglers on the largest inland lake in Ohio. Grand Lake has an average depth of 5 to 7 feet and provides approximately 13,500 acres for anglers to pursue their prey.
The weekend weather saw temperatures in the 60’s on Friday, warming to 70’s on Saturday. It was a beautiful weekend for Crappie fishing when the 2-day Crappie USA, $10,000.00 Super Event rolled into town this past Friday and Saturday, April 15 and 16, 2016.
Legal fishing began at 6:30 a.m. and ended at 3:00 p.m. both days. Anglers were required to be in the weigh-in line at Freedom Marina by 4:00 p.m. to avoid being disqualified from the tournament.
Jason Koesters of New Breman, Ohio and Jake Hengstler of Botkins, Ohio claimed the first place prize of $3,000.00 in the Pro Division with a total weight of 17.82 pounds. Koesters and Hengstler fished the south end of the lake in 1 foot of water using assorted color jigs and live bait. They targeted heavy cover to land 35 fish for the tournament. They also weighed in the second Big Fish (1.67 pounds) to earn an additional $300.00.
Second place honors went to Zach and Mike Fishbaugh, both of St. Henrys, Ohio. They weighed in a total weight of 16.11 pounds and took home a check for $2,000.00. The team fished the south end of the lake in 1 foot of water. They used minnows as bait to land 25 to 30 fish for the 2-day tournament.
Jim and Doug Freeman weighed in 15.93 pounds to win third place and earn $1,000.00. The Celina, Ohio team fished the south end of Grand Lake in 5 to 6 feet of water. Team Freeman used black/chartreuse color jigs to land 30 fish for the weekend.
Mike Powell of New Knoxville, Ohio and Steve Rockwood of Wapakoneta, Ohio took fourth place with a total weight of 14.79 pounds. They fished the north end of the lake in 1 foot of water targeting fish in heavy cover. They used pearl white and black jigs to land 35 fish and take home a check for $400.00.
Fifth place went to Jeff Toban and Richard Zimmerman both of St. Marys, Ohio. They weighed in 14 pounds to claim their spot.
Randy Howell of St. Marys, Ohio and Jason Moyar of Wapakoneta, Ohio logged in the Big Fish of the tournament. Their winning crappie weighed 1.68 pounds, just .01 pound heavier than the second place fish.
More than 100 anglers from several different states competed for the $10,000.00 in cash and prizes and a chance to advance to the Cabela’s Crappie USA Classic. This year’s classic will be held October 27 to 29, 2016 on Kentucky and Barkley Lakes at Paris, Tennessee.
The next Crappie USA tournament will be another Super Event at Green River Lake, Columbia, KY on April 29 and 30, 2016. For more information call Crappie USA at 502-384-5924 or visit their website at http://www.crappieusa.com.
For more results from Grand Lake, including the Amateur Division, click on the Crappie USA Facebook page.