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2020 Tournament Results

Lake:Decatur Lake, IL
Date:06/13/20

CUSA Pro Division Victory on Decatur Lake goes to David Birch
(Shoppell and Lappin take Amateur Division)

Louisville, KY – June 14, 2020 – Crappie anglers from five states traveled to Decatur Lake at Decatur, IL to participate in the June 13, 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.

Crappie anglers hate to see a cool front roll in the night before a tournament, but that is exactly what happened at Decatur, IL. The Friday night front brought the temperature down from 95 degrees to a high of 78 on Saturday. Anglers reported enough wind to cause a hull slap that could potentially spook the fish. Generally, it was a good day to be on the water.

A total of 32 boats fished the Carlyle event—11 in the Pro Division and 21 in the Amateur Division. A total of $7,000 was distributed to the winners.

Pro Division Results

First Place

The top spot in the Pro Division went to solo angler David Birch. He brought 7.39 pounds to the scales to earn a check for $1,400 for first place. The local angler from Decatur, IL also had the Big Fish with a weight of 1.58 pounds for an additional $500. He scored one more time with the $500 Talon Bonus for a good payday.

Birch fished the entire day North of Reas Bridge chasing fish in open water using Garmin Livescope.

“I was fishing in 6- to 8-feet of water,” reported Birch. “My bait was a Beaver Bottom Bait in a color they call Dreamsicle (orange/white). The big profile and the bright color seemed to work well in the muddy water.”

The new school method helped Birch catch about 25 fish on the day.

Second Place

After taking the top spot at Grenada last week, Tony and Ling Grooms claimed the runner up spot at Decatur. The husband/wife team brought in a 7 fish limit that weighed 6.21 pounds to claim the number two spot and earn a check for $500. They also had Second Big Fish for an additional $200.

Team Grooms caught their fish near the second bridge west of Nelson Park. They chose spider rigging to target suspended fish. The water was about 10 feet deep with the fish suspended at about 4 feet.

Bobby Garland jigs tipped with minnows did the trick for the Murray, KY team. The had a good day, catching 40-45 fish for the day.

Third Place

Roger Cox from Assumption, IL teamed up with John Carr from Macon IL to take the third spot in the Pro Division. Their bag of 6.08 pounds earned them a check for $400. Cox and Carr found their fish in bays close to Nelson Park. They began the day spider rigging but switched over to one poling later on. Their fish came mostly on white/chartreuse jigs fished at various depths. The team caught around 50 fish for the day.

Fourth Place

Fourth place went to Luke Humphrey from Rantoul, IL and Greg Humphrey from Normal, IL. Team Humphrey had 5.72 pounds to earn $300.

Fifth Place

Anderson, IN angler Patrick Stone teamed up with Steve Jeffers from Wabash, IN to round out the top five. The team brought 5.65 pounds to the scales and earned the Ranger Cup Bonus of $250.

Amateur Division Results

First Place

Shiloh Shoppell from Wood River, IL and Jett Lappin from Decatur IL brought in the winning bag of 7.66 pounds in the Amateur Division to earn a check for $900. The team fished Pools 5 and 6 on the south end. Shoppell and Lappin went new school all the way to catch 40-50 fish on the day.

“It was a long day,” reported Shoppell. “We didn’t have a keeper until 10:00 am. The weather was warm at 85-86 degrees and the NE wind made it tough. It was hard to be stealthy but the Silent Stalker on the front of the boat killed the boat slap from the rough water pretty good. It helped me sneak up on the brush piles and trees a little better.”

“We were Livescoping but not getting too close,” continued Shoppell. “If we saw fish we would slow down and pull up in there. If the fish didn’t show up from 40 feet out we would stop and throw a Pop’s Hair Jig in there to check em’ out.”

Shoppell and Lappin were rigged with a 1/4-ounce egg sinker about 8 to 10 inches above the jig to get it down there a little quicker. Most of their fish came on a 1/32-ounce Pops Hair Jig in pink and chartreuse.

“The pink head has been my go-to color lately,” added Shoppell. “We had the trolling motor on .8 or .9 and moved quite a lot. The best fishing was around brush piles and full-size trees, especially if they had a root ball. We found some standing timber where 2 out of the 3 main pieces had fish on them. One tree was in 8 feet of water but the root ball was only 4 feet down with some shallow fish.”

Shoppell and Lappin spotted what they thought was a really good fish. They went back several times but could not get it to commit. The fish would come out and look but not eat. They tried different colors but it just would not eat.

“Our only problem was a lot of buffalo,” explained Shoppell. “It is hard to determine the difference until you get up close. My experience has taught me that crappie will tilt to a 45-degree angle before they eat.”

“Most of our fish were shallow,” concluded Shoppell. “Usually those shallow fish will eat every time if you get the bait in front of them. We used no minnows, just the Pop’s Hair Jig.”

Second Place

The runner-up spot in the Amateur Division went to Williamsville, IL angler Brandon Waggoner and his teammate, Arick Clark from Springfield IL. They brought 7.4 pounds to the scales to earn $500.

Waggoner and Clark fished the north area of Lake Decatur. They were one pole fishing with live bait. They found their fish in 4- to 8-feet of water where they caught 25-30 fish for the day.

Third Place

Local anglers Anthony Incarnato and Doug Incarnato from Decatur IL brought in a bag of 5.82 pounds to claim the third spot and earn a check for $400. Team Incarnato fished Basin 4 using brown/chartreuse jigs. They targeted 5 feet of water to catch 25-30 fish for the day.

Fourth Place

Another local team, Thomas Morse and Mark Anderson from Decatur brought home the fourth-place finish with 5.67 pounds. They earned a check for $300.

Morse and Anderson also fished Basin 4 where they used brown/chartreuse jigs in shallow water to catch 20-25 crappies for the day.

Fifth Place

Rounding out the top five in the Amateur Division was Bob Sarko from Warrensburg, PL and Rick Clifton from Decatur IL. They teamed up to bring 5.57 pounds to the scales and earn the Ranger Cup Bonus of $125.

Sarko and Clifton fished the north end of Lake Decatur in 3 to 8 feet of water. They used various chartreuse combos to catch more than 100 crappies for the day.

Epilogue

Darrell Van Vactor, CUSA Operations Manager, sent special thanks to everyone at Decatur CVB, Mikes Tackle World, Sharp Outdoors, and Nelson Park for all the work they did in making the event a success. He also expressed his thanks to all the teams who traveled from 5 states to participate in the event.

“We are proud to be back on Lake Decatur,” Van Vactor said. “What a great job they have done in the past couple of years. Improving the amenities of Nelson Park has resulted in a beautiful facility.”

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

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.

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