Crappie Anglers of Texas recently held their 4th Annual Crappiefest Tournament on Lake Fork on April 1, and it was a day for the record books.
A record total of 325 anglers (300 adults and 25 juniors) participated in a great day of fishing filled with fun, fellowship and plenty of excitement. This tournament was a “big fish” tournament, so each angler weighed in only one big crappie.
First place went to Ed Rathbun, Ponca, Oklahoma, with a crappie weighing in at 2.93 pounds netting him a total of $5,000. Clay Gann, Hideaway, came in second with a 2.75 pound slab worth $2,500. Gann was also the Top Finishing CAT Member, adding another $1,000 to his winnings. George Nelon, Boyd, took home third place and $2,000 with his crappie weighing in at 2.63 pounds. Willie Scott, Aubrey, and Chris Coffman, Brownsboro, filled the fourth and fifth places weighing in crappie that tipped the scales at exactly 2.55 pounds worth $875 each.
Frank Haidesek, Manhattan, Kansas, took 6th, seventh went to Joe Vannucci, Wichita Falls, eighth and ninth were a tie with Jerry Hancock, McKinney, and Josh Todd,Tulia, and rounding out the top 10 was Max Dukes, Murphy. All top 10 anglers qualified for the Texas State Crappie Championship.
Closest to awards
Some of the most tightly contested challenges of Crappiefest were the “Closest To” awards. The cash prize was $250 for the angler weighing in a crappie that weighs the closest to, without going over, 1pound, 1.25 pound, 1.50 pound and 1.75 pound and another $250 bonus for weighing in the exact weight. Crappiefest anglers hit the exact mark in all four categories!
Mike Hinkle, Mesquite, weighed in his 1 pound crappie and took home a check for $500. Jeff Schweiterman, Parker, and Justin Gaston, Euless, netted $250 each for their crappie weighing in at exactly 1.25 pound. Kirk Grounds, Sachse, and Shawn Drake, Wylie, both weighed in at exactly 1.50 pound and split a $500 purse taking home $250 each. Ricky Sims Midlothian, Mark McClure, Clinton, Missouri; Chris Scott, Sanger; Billy Don Surface, Lohman, Missouri; Gary Paris, Quitman; and Cory Carter, Muskogee, split a $500 pot taking home $83.33 each for their fish weighing in at exactly 1.75 pound.
CAT also had four random drawings worth $250 and among the winners were Chris Coffman, Brownsboro and Susan Allen, Gilmer. Last but definitely not least, Andrea Smiley’s 0.45 pound crappie was the lightest weighed in, and she won $500.
Junior Angler 10 & under
Not to be outdone by the adults, the youngest crappie anglers in the contest really put on a show. First place was won by Mason Tucker with a crappie tipping the scale at 1.90 pound. Tucker won tickets to Six Flags. Langdon Froebe took home second place and Medieval Times tickets for his 1.21 pound crappie. Aurora Carrigan rounded out the top three with her crappie tilting the scale at 1.18 pound. Aurora won a family pack of tickets to the Dallas Zoo.
Junior Angler 11 – 17
The older children cashed in as well. Nicholas Goncalves won first place and tickets to Six Flags with a weight of 2.02 pounds. Bow Gates came in second and netted 2 tickets to Medieval Times with his crappie weighing 1.83 pound. Matt Hancock took third place and a family pack of tickets to the Dallas Zoo with his 1.77 pound crappie.
All of the Junior Anglers took home tackle goodie bags valued at over $25 each and a trophy. Junior Anglers took home awards and prizes valued at over $1,300.