2020 Tournament Results
|Lake:||Grenada Lake, MS
CUSA Pro Division Victory on Lake Grenada goes to Tony and Ling Grooms
(Hicken and Hill take Amateur Division)
Louisville, KY – June 7, 2020 – Crappie anglers from nine states traveled to Grenada Lake at Grenada, MS to participate in the June 6, 2020 Crappie USA (CUSA) event. Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s presented the tournament for local and traveling anglers. Competitors were vying for cash, prizes, and an opportunity to compete at the 2020 CUSA Classic which will feature a guaranteed payout of $125,000 in cash and prizes.
The Crappie USA staff were decked out in masks and gloves as the trail returned to fishing for the first time since postponements began earlier in the year because of the coronavirus. Anglers were asked to wear masks anytime they were within 6 feet of another person. The weigh-in was conducted as drive-through only.
Tournament day temps rose into the 90's after severe storms hit the lake on Friday evening cooling the water by 7 degrees. The wind blew from the NE at 10-15 mph making the lake rough. The weigh-in at Grenada Landing saw teams in both the Pro and Amateur Division score some double-digit weights.
A total of 20 boats fished the Granada event—10 in the Pro Division and 10 in the Amateur Division. A total of $5 650 was distributed to the winners.
Pro Division Results
The husband/wife team of Tony and Ling Grooms claimed the top spot at Grenada on a windblown day. The couple from Murray, KY combined their talents to bring 11.57 pounds to the scales. They earned a check for $1,400 for the win. They added another $100 by earning the Jenko Bonus.
Tony and Ling fished the east end of the lake where they combined Jenko and Bobby Garland jigs to claim the win. They targeted 15 to 18 feet of water where they spider rigged. They found a glow color jig to outperform their other colors.
“We caught a total of 73 fish for the day,” Tony said. “About 80 percent of those fish came on the glow colored Bobby Garland jig.”
The runner-up spot in the Pro Division went to solo fishing TJ Shands. The Matthews, MO angler weighed a bag of 11.43 pounds to earn a check for $600.
Shands mostly fished Piney Blue in open water. He also mentioned the rough water caused by the wind. He was single pole fishing and livescoping.
“The weather was rough,” said the B’n’M prostaffer. “I had three-foot rollers knocked me off my big fish. I ended up moving and finding new fish. I was pitching a pink 1/8oz Mad Crappie Jigs head with a Crappie Magnet Slab Curly in chartreuse.”
“All the fish I found today were in open water,” continued Shands. “So, I was chasing fish in 18-25 feet of water trying to keep the bait above the fish. The bite was good if you could manage to get in front of them. The wind was definitely not in my favor today. But you gotta’ roll with it and do what you can.”
Third place at Grenada went to Paul Alpers from Barnett and Clint Hibdon from Florence, MO. They teamed up to bring 9.92 pounds to the scales to earn the third-place check of $400. They added $250 for the Ranger Cup Bonus.
Alpers and Hibdon fished up the Yellowbushy River. They were spider rigging using live bait. They found their fish about 15-foot-deep in water that was ranging from 20 to 25 feet deep. They caught a total of 12 fish on the day.
“We had a great day here at Grenada,” said Alpers following the tournament. “We just want to thank Frontier Metals for their support. Thanks also to the Grenada tourism folks and the Hampton Inn. Crappie USA is a great trail and I am looking forward to fishing many more of them.”
Amateur Division Results
First place in the Amateur Division went to Donald Hicken from Somerset, KY and Chad Hill from Science Hill, KY. Their total weight of 10.44 pounds included Big Fish at 2.24 pounds and earned them a check for $700. They added the Ranger Cup Bonus for $250 and the Driftmaster Rod Holders Bonus of $200.
Hicken and Hill fished the Graysport Bridge area on tournament day. But before that the set their strategy by pre-fishing.
“We arrived on Thursday evening,” reported Hicken. “We put in and fished that evening until around 5 pm. We had maybe 30 fish but all were short fish except for 5 keepers. We trolled, long-lined, and threw jigs. Most of the crappie came on the jigs.”
“The second day we started with jigs,” continued Hicken. “We were fishing brush along the bank but it didn’t seem to work. We move on to bridges where we began catching fish, but again mostly small fish. Around noon we began pulling crankbaits. The bite was still and we finished the day with around 4-5 keepers.”
“We almost packed up and went home,” Hicken said. “But we figured we were down here and it’s like 7 hours to the house. We decide to grind it out and just enjoy the day. So, we started pulling crankbaits on tournament day. We didn’t end up with a ton of fish. As a matter of fact, we ended up with 9 keepers and 4-5 throwbacks. The bite was good early until the wind started to gust 10-12 miles an hour. But about an hour and half before the tournament was over it laid down and we picked up two more nice fish.
Fortunately, the keepers all turn out to be good ones!”
The runner-up spot in the Amateur Division went to TJ Grooms and Will Green from Benton KY. They teamed up to bring 10.41 pounds to the scales and earn the $400 check for second place.
Unlike Hicken and Hill, Grooms and Green didn’t get a chance to pre-fish for the tournament. They arrived on Friday night right as storms were moving through the area.
“We figured those storms completely change how the fish had been the days prior to the storm,” revealed Grooms. “I chose to fish Graysport Bridge area and found fish holding at about 10-12 feet deep in15-18 feet of water.”
“The day started out with a bang,” continued Grooms. “We caught the bulk of our bag for the day in the first hour. Our largest fish came on jigs trolling anywhere from .3 to .6 mph. I was using jig rigs with a 2/0 hook about 24 inches above a jig. The jigs were Big T Jenko in the Fry Daddy, Fringe Fry, and Mermaid.”
Grooms ended by thanking his sponsors saying, “Without these company’s I wouldn’t be able to do these tournaments and I greatly appreciate their help!!”
Grooms uses products from Jenko Fishing, Corn Field Crappie Gear, Grizzly Jigs, Oakes Law Firm, Fast Eddies Bait & Tackle, Bensons Sporting Goods, Murray Bait Company, Bryn’s Funeral home, Physiques by Karlie at Energy Fitness.
Glenn Ward from Elizabethtown, KY and Donnie Miller from Sonora, KY weighed 9.1 pounds to take third place and earn $ 200.
The Kentucky team fished different areas of the lake on their way to catching about 25 fish on the day. They were targeting moving schools of fish in about 12 feet of water using double minnow rigs. The team depended on their Humminbird Mega 360 to help keep their baits right in the fish.
Darrell Van Vactor, CUSA Operations Manager, sent special thanks to Gary Worshiem with Grenada Tourism, Hampton Inn Grenada, and the US Army Corp of Engineers for all their help is planning the CUSA event in a difficult environment.
"Many anglers still nervous in the post-COVID-19 environment was evident by the low number this weekend" said Van Vactor. "Nearly every team participating was from out of state with only one or two Mississippi teams present. It sends a strong signal that some areas are just not comfortable this weekend."
The CUSA Classic Championship will be held October 22 – 24, 2020 at Green River Lake, Columbia, KY. The 2020 Classic, presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's, features a guaranteed payout of $125,000 in cash and prizes.
National Sponsors of Crappie USA are: Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s, Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, Mustad Hooks, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Talon, Lake Master Maps, Gamma, B’n’M Poles, Driftmaster Rod Holders, Ego Nets, Cumberland Crappie Double Seats, Brushpile Crappie, Charlie Brewer Slider, Crappie Now Magazine, Jenko Fishing, Big Bite Baits, Lake Cumberland CVB, Crappie Magnet, EFX Graphics, Fin n’ Frames, Crown Trophy, JR Madd Breading, WavePro, Freaky Franks Tackle, EZ Drift, Allegro Marinades, and Aftco Clothing.