After three events on the Kansas Crappie Trail this season, a logjam exists at the top of the 2020 season points race, with four teams from across Kansas and Missouri within two points of one another.
Mike and Eric Schrock, of Lawrence, finished in third with 11.95 pounds on May 23 at Melvern Reservoir to settle into a tie at 292 points at the top of the season standings alongside fifth-place finishers Frank Haidusek, of Riley, and Dalton Thomas, of Leavenworth, who posted the second-largest fish of the day at 2.13 pounds and had a bag of 11.77 pounds.
Meanwhile, Kalin Caton, of Kansas City, Mo., and Wichita’s Derek Kruger ended up winning the Melvern event by nearly a half-pound, weighing 12.47 pounds to settle into sixth in the season standings at 277 points.
“Well we didn’t really know the lake hardly at all,” Caton said. “But found a spot the weekend before and just kinda stuck with it and said we were gonna stick to that one area. We just found the big ones with LiveScope and focused on chasing them down.”
Kruger said the team had about a week before the tournament to try to figure out a game plan.
“Found a lot of fish suspended in deeper water, but they were mainly small fish,” Kruger said. “So we moved into shallow water and caught one ’tournament fish’ and decided that's where we would spend the day Saturday.
“We knew the level of competition was extremely high, with some state and nationally known crappie fisherman that I have a ton of respect for. That's why when we had a good bag of fish very early in the day, there was no sense of relief. Any one of those guys could have been up there, too. Just happened to be our day.”
KCT organizer Dylan Faulconer, of Eudora, and teammate Allen Miller, of Baldwin City, finished second at Melvern with 11.98 pounds and currently sit fourth in the season-long race at 290 points, settled behind Melvern’s sixth-place finishers Tony Niemeyer, of Gardner, and Ryan German, of Louisburg, (11.51 pounds, 291 season points), who sit in a close third in the points standings after previously sharing the lead with Haidusek and Thomas.
If it sounds like it’s anyone’s race to win at this point, that’s because it is.
Topekan Brandon Manis and Nic Luttman, of Meriden, round out the top five in the season standings after a seventh-place finish at Melvern (11.38 pounds). Manis and Luttman won the previous event May 9 on El Dorado with a 14.41-pound, seven-fish bag, and sit just seven points back of the lead spot in the standings.
But it wasn’t just about the points race, as several other anglers had excellent days on Melvern.
Another notable finisher at Melvern was Crappie Masters owner/president Mike Vallentine, of Clinton, Mo., who took fourth on the day with 11.92 pounds. This year marks the KCT’s first season under the Crappie Masters umbrella.
Rookies Jeff Dick and Johnny Faith, who had until that point failed to make a splash on the trail, posted the big fish for the event with a 2.4-pound slab and managed to turn in an eight-place finish with a bag of 11 pounds even. Twenty-two teams competed in the event, making for a fairly large field. Nine of the top 10 teams finished with 10-plus pounds.
In the Top Secret Jig Co. Rookie Team of the Year standings, 12th-place finishers Bob Purh and Jeremy Conway (7.58 pounds) maintain a sizable lead with 271 points over Craig Schmitt and Jennifer Haskins (258 points), who finished 16th at Melvern with 7.16 pounds. Dick and Faith now sit third in the rookie standings at 182 points after their top-10 finish and big fish gave them a one-point edge over Mike Rogers and Jim Doolittle.
The next regularly scheduled KCT event is set for June 13 on Perry Reservoir. Registration begins at 5 a.m., with a $100 entry fee per two-person team. Takeoff will be at roughly 6 a.m. Best seven alive fish are weighed during the 2:30 p.m. weigh-in. For more information, contact Dylan Faulconer at KansasCrappieTrail@yahoo.com or 913-416-3481.
Memorial tourney coming up in Hartford
The 10th annual Yeager/Jenkins Memorial Catfish Tournament is slated to run from June 5-7 in Hartford.
Fishing will begin at noon June 5, with a weigh-in from 9 to 10 a.m. June 6 at Home Town Eats, 211 Commercial St. All fish must be weighed in by 10 a.m. Sunday, June 7.
The entry fee is $100 per four-person team. Teams will be allowed to fish anywhere they legally have permission. Teams must register by 9 p.m. June 4.
Winners will be judged on the combined weights of each team’s five biggest live catfish from the weekend, with awards given out for first, second, third and biggest fish.
For more info, contact Nick Bess at 620-794-4203 or Kyle Graves at 620-344-0705.
KWA tourney on tap at Wilson
The Kansas Walleye Association will host a tournament June 7 at Wilson Reservoir.
Tournament fees are $100 for members and $120 for nonmembers per two-man team, with membership registration set at $35. The tourney is AIM style using the Fish Donkey App.
Prizes include cash payouts, raffles and a chance at a spot in the 2021 National Team Championship.
For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 620-899-0222. Required pre-meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Sylvan Park Group Shelter behind the dam.
Classic date, location set
Bassmaster announced the location of its 2021 Bassmaster Classic on Wednesday, and the decision is a first for the iconic fishing circuit.
The 2021 event will take place in Fort Worth, Texas, marking the third time the Classic will take place in Texas and its first foray into the metroplex. Fishing will take place from March 19-21, 2021, at Lake Ray Roberts in nearby Denton.
"There are very few firsts in the world of sports," Chase Anderson, chairman of BASS, said in a news release. “We can't wait to have a historic first next year when fishing's biggest stage comes to Fort Worth. Our fans, sponsors and anglers are sure to be in for an incredible experience."
Kansas BASS Nation youth director Travis Burch also on Wednesday announced the date for the Kansas College BASS State Championship was tentatively set for June 27-28, pending lake approval.