Dustin Hobbs and Will Bevan took first place last weekend in the Kansas Crappie Club’s Veterans Day Shootout tournament with a seven-fish limit weighing 8.15 pounds. The team of Chris Morgan, Parker Still and Mike Roberts took second place with 7.15 pounds, while Shane Eustice, Don Beckstrom and Randy Wheeler took third with 7.02 pounds and had the big fish with a 1.61-pound slab.
“It feels good to be finishing up front in these tournaments, especially when you’re only 15 and you’re fishing against all adults that have been fishing their whole life,” Still said. “I know every time I’m going into a tournament I need to be on my A-game and need to focus on getting our seven fish. I put my best effort into every tournament I fish and I don’t stop fishing until it’s time to head into weigh-in. I wouldn’t be finishing up front without my dad, Chris, and my buddy Michael Roberts, and I hope to stay up in the front of these tournaments and maybe even try and get a few wins this year.”
Still, who said he loves getting to compete alongside his father, said he knew it would be a tough outing given the conditions. Bragg said the wind was blowing consistently at 20 mph, with gusts up to 30 mph, and it started to rain about 10:30 a.m.
“Going into the tournament, I knew the fishing wasn’t going to be easy,” Still said. “And it was exactly how I pictured it to be. It was a grinder, for sure, but me and my team managed to get our seven keepers for weigh-in.
“I knew it was going to take at least 8 1/2 pounds to win the tournament and we only had about a 7- to 7 1/2-pound bag, so I was kinda nervous coming in for weigh-in and I was just hoping for a top-three finish. We managed to get second place and me and my team were happy to finish in the top five again.”
Parker also wanted to thank Brandon Manis for making some great jigs, saying “I only use Top Secret Jigs and I wouldn’t catch as much fish as I do if I didn’t have them in the boat.”
Another young talent, 14-year-old Zoe Roth, came out to sing the national anthem prior to the tournament. Bragg, a 1st Infantry Division combat veteran, said “she nailed it.”
Entry for the tournament was $250 per boat, and $500 in additional proceeds went toward the purchase of fishing licenses for veterans.
The third annual Kansas Crappie Club Toy Drive and fishing tournament will take place Dec. 2 at Clinton State Lake. Registration and weigh-in will be at Ramp No. 2. Takeoff will be at safe light, with fishing until 2:30 p.m.
There will again be a seven-fish weigh-in. For more information, go to http://www.kansascrappieclub.com/.
JOHNSON, WILSON WIN AT LA CYGNE: Jeremy Johnson and Zach Wilson finished first out of 33 teams last weekend in the Backlashers Bass Club’s first Hot Water series tournament at La Cygne Reservoir.
Johnson and Wilson weighed a five-fish limit totaling 15.21 pounds to take the $924 prize.
De Soto High School angler Connor Nimrod and teammate Zach Viehlhauer, of the Kansas State fishing team, took second place, weighing five fish for 14.35 pounds to earn $264. Jeremy Conway and Brian Ondrejka weighed three fish for 7.30 pounds to take third place for $132.
“It was a slow day until noon, and after that we found one area where the fish kept reloading,” Nimrod said. “We capitalized on five bites and ended up with 14.35 pounds.”
The big bass award of $330 went to Taylor Harris, who caught a 4.56-pound bass on the cold, high-pressure day.
The next Hot Water series event will be Dec. 16, followed by 2018 events on Feb. 17 and March 10.
CATFISH WEEKLY NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: The Catfish Weekly National Championship Tournament field has nearly been set, with tournament directors having until the end of the year to hold qualifying events, and the event is scheduled to take place May 13, 2018, starting from the PB2 Boat Ramp at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. There will be a $300 entry fee with a 100 percent payout to the top 10 teams.
As of Nov. 19, there were 527 anglers qualified for the national championship, according to the tournament’s Facebook page, with a few qualifier tournaments remaining.
KERNEL OF TRUTH: John Howard sent me a funny email about a recent trout fishing trip with his friend to Lake Shawnee.
“We fish on the bottom using whole kernel corn. We each caught our limit,” Howard said. “I told him about seeing a man fishing on the bottom with trout eggs for bait and he reeled in a coot that had scooped his eggs off the bottom. I don’t know if he believed me or not, but he has to believe me now because we were fishing again last Friday, using corn again, when the same thing happened to him. He had a bite and was hooked up to a coot (we always called them mud hens).
“I watched him pull the coot up on the bank and wondered what he was going to do with it. He just cut the line and let it go.”
I’m not surprised to hear about a coot taking off with his bait. On the opening day of trout fishing at the lake, I similarly had an old ruddy duck dive underwater near my bobber when I was fishing with salmon eggs and emerge sometime later. When I reeled in, the eggs were gone, but I don’t know whether to blame that on the duck or a fish.
Either way, that’s pretty funny that it happened to him, too. I bet he believes you now!