By Chris Erwin
The Place is Table Rock Lake near Branson, Mo. The time was Oct. 29th to the 31st. This tournament is by invitation only, and it’s considered the Super Bowl of Crappie fishing. The Wally Marshall Classic Tournament comprises 113 boats that are broken into flights as they head out on the water for a three-day tournament. To make it past the first day, you must finish in the top 50 boats.
I have fished some big tournaments in my tournament fishing days, and I can tell you it’s an exciting time. There is nothing like sitting in the water with a hundred boats as they idle their engines. The tournament prepares to cast the first flight. Tournament officials are checking live-wells and safety equipment. However, David Salisbury story begins before the tournament gets underway as he sets out to use his practice time.
It looked like it was all coming together he had found fish and was sure he could put some good fish in the boat.
For most of us, crappie fish is sitting on a spot using live bait. Having some type of fish finder often helps in finding a good brush pile to begin fishing. However, today crappie fishing has been growing fast, and with it the gear has exploded with Fish finders like the Live-view models and Hummingbirds DI and side-view imaging. So the days of sitting in one spot all day are mostly just fond memories.
I ask Dave if most of the anglers were fishing with Spider-rigs; this is where the anglerfishes with four to eight poles at a time with unique rod holders made just for this type of fishing. I was surprised to hear that only about 10 of the 133 boat were using this setup type. He said, “With the electronics used today, most guys were fishing with single poles. This tournament was artificial bait only, so most anglers were casting much the same as bass fisherman.”
The tournament winners were Jerry Hancock and partner Paul O’beir with a total weight of 27.73lbs that was 21 fish. Because of the inability to continue, Salisbury and his partner Tyler Boyd finished in 88 place. While it was disappointing not to continue, he said it was a great experience and hoped to get a second shot at in the future.
I want to remind everyone that COVID-19 is getting worse in our area. Please be safe and wear a mask while in public; the vaccine should be out soon, and maybe we can all get back to normal.