Local anglers fishing for third crappie championship
By Myra Bean
Panola County fishermen Jeremy Aldridge and Clint Egbert are just 1.94 points away from first place in the Magnolia Crappie Club Angler of the Year Points race.
With two tournaments left to fish in the season, the pair is hoping to take the lead and win this year’s competition. It will be their third season championship if successful.
Aldridge, an accountant, and Egbert, co-owner of a pipe line spraying business, work weekdays, but try to pre-fish the tournament sites on Thursdays or Fridays.
They have fished in the eight MCC tournaments and accumulated 156.17 points. They trail the Grenada team of Vic Finkley and Kim Kennedy, who have 158.11 points.
In crappie tournaments, teams fish a set amount of time and are allowed to keep the best seven fish for end-of-the-day weight tally. Points are then awarded the teams by judges, and accumulate as the season goes.
They have been fishing together competitively for five years, and have been friends much longer. The team is sponsored by Silent Stalker, a device that attaches to the front of boats and dampens sound, allowing fishermen to get closer to their prey.
The fisherman will compete April 28 at the Ross Barnett Reservoir, and May 19 at Enid Lake.
In June, day one of the two-day championship tournament will be held at Enid Lake on Friday (8th), and conclude at Grenada Lake on the 9th.
This weekend, the pair are also at Ross Barnett for a tournament outside their main circuit, this one sponsored by American Crappie Trail.
Aldridge said they were working hard to win this weekend’s tournament because first place wins a new Ranger boat.
Aldridge said in a telephone interview that one of the things required to be successful in crappie fishing is a bigger boat. They fish in a 20-footer that he terms average size.
“You need a bigger boat that can handle the wind when fishing on Sardis, Enid and Grenada. You don’t get to pick the days,” Aldridge said. “So you have to have a big boat that handles the bad weather.”
The water was high during the March 17 tournament at Grenada, and the Egbert-Aldridge team placed ninth with 13.04 pounds of weight.
Fellow Panola Countian Keith Moore, with his fishing partner Billy Baughman, placed fifth with a weight of 14.53.
The water was particularly high, according to Aldridge, which was good for the fish, but not so good for the fishermen.
Fish had plenty of places to hide that fishermen could not access.
“I am fishing areas I have never fished before,” he said. “ It’s wooded and you can’t get back there to them. They’re not being harvested at the rate like they generally are,” he said.
The MCC has a total of 73 teams in the angler of the year points race. Aldridge said about 60 of those teams are competing at each tournament.
The Friday weigh-in (June 9) may be held at the Batesville Civic Center, but has not yet been confirmed.