This past weekend Crappie USA held a qualifying event on Florida's Weir/George Lakes near Ocklawaha, Florida. Even with the crappie fishing slow on Lake George, anglers from five different states soon found out that Lake Weir was the place to be on that given day. These anglers were competing for not only cash and prizes, but a chance to advance to the prestigious Cabela’s Crappie USA Classic. This year's classic will be held October 23-26, 2013 on Kentucky Lake at Paris, Tennessee.
Taking first place was the well known Silver Springs, Florida team of Mike Baker and his (Grandson) Dustin Baker weighing in 4.36 pounds and earning $750. Mike and Dustin started the day on Lake George only to find current running backwards due to the tide and moon. They soon moved to Weir where they tight lined blue/pink/chartreuse Zip jigs in 20 feet of water over manmade cover which the park and rec. department had placed in the lake. Mike and Dustin found most of their fish suspended around 14 feet deep to catch only eight fish for the day.
Second place went to Roy Cape Jr of Cordele, Georgia and Robert Harris of Warner Robins, Georgia with a weight of 3.6 pounds and earning $500. Roy and Robert also took the Ranger Cup Award in the Semi-Pro division earning an additional $250. Roy and Robert also started the day long line trolling on Lake George only to catch one fish then made the move to Weir trolling in 15 feet of water using bubblegum/chartreuse jigs to only catch five fish for the day. The team also earned an additional $30 for second biggest fish of the event.
In third place was the Gilbert, South Carolina team of Joe and Janette Carter who caught one keeper fish trolling jigs with 10 minutes to go at 0.5 pounds to earn 3rd place and $250.
First place in the amateur division was Chad and Hunter Duncan of Lady Lake, Florida with a weight of 5.88 pounds and earning $750, along with an additional $100 for big fish of the event at 1.08 pounds. Chad and Hunter were fishing Lake Weir all day in 22 feet of water using pink/blue/chartreuse Zip jigs where their fish were holding tight to the bottom to catch 30 fish for the day.
Second place went to Raymond Shears Jr. of London, Kentucky and Raymond Shears Sr. of Lady Lake, Florida weighing in 5.42 pounds to earn $500. The Shears were fishing Lake Weir over manmade cover in 15 to 20 feet of water using live bait to catch 30 fish total for the day spider rigging.
Taking third place was the Ocala, Florida team of Daniel Blankenship and Greg Humphries weighing in 5.38 pounds and earning $250. Daniel and Greg were slow trolling Lake Weir in 14-20 feet of water using bubblegum/chartreuse Southern Pro jigs and some live bait on gold to catch 25-30 fish for the day.
In conjunction with the tournament Crappie USA held their Kids Rodeo on Saturday morning with several local children attending the event. All the participants signed up for a chance to win one of six $1,000 scholarships to be drawn for at the Cabela’s Crappie USA Classic.
Crappie USA and our anglers have contributed nearly $316,000 to the “Crappie Kids” Scholarships since 1997. We are very proud to be a part of the education process for the youngsters who participate in our tournaments as adult/youth teams and those who fish in the Crappie USA “Kids Fishing Rodeos”.
The morning temperatures was in the 50's warning to the 70's by afternoon. Strong winds developed after 9:00am reaching 15-25 MPH which lead many anglers to leave Lake George for Lake Weir where the bite was much improved.