Sardis Lake in the Spotlight

Published 6:39 am Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Fishing tournament big success; crappie anglers impressed with area and fishing opportunities in Panola County.

The National Crappie League held an Open Division, two-day national qualifier on Sardis Lake over the weekend (June 3-4). The weather was hot, but so was the crappie bite. Temperatures were in the mid-90s with sun to partly cloudy skies, but anglers reported a great day on Sardis Lake.

Many of the competitors who participate in tournaments across the country were impressed with Panola County and the fishing opportunities here. The event was broadcast live on the internet and on specialty sports channels, and several competitors were heard extolling the beauty and accessibility of Sardis Lake in their interviews.

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Sardis Mayor Richard McCarty was part of the broadcast on Saturday, and used his air time to pitch the lake and its surroundings for future tournaments, including national events.

On Sunday, Batesville Mayor Hal Ferrell was interviewed about the City of Batesville and its tourism efforts around the lake, and also participated in the trophy presentations.

Tournament organizers paid out $20,000 in prizes at the Sardis event, including $7,400 to the winning team of JoJo Baker and Phillip Wilson. They caught a total of 20.85 pounds with two days of five-fish limits.

That team also claimed the $2,000 check for the biggest fish of the tournament, a 2.54 pound slab.

Batesville anglers Jeremy Aldridge and Nick Hudson came in third place with 20.48 pounds over the two days to earn $2,400. 

Fifth place went to another Panola County team, Stephen Sullivan and Jamie Roberson, with 20.06 pounds for $1,100. 

Local sponsors were the Town of Sardis and Panola County Tourism; Panola Partnership; the City of Batesville, Crappie Brakes, Nana’s Bait Shop, Chickasaw Hills Lodge & Cabins, Performance Marine, The Dam Store, Comfort Suites Batesville,  Home 2 Suites Batesville, the Batesville Civic Center RV Park, and Locke’s Fish & Steak.