Matthew and Bruce Rogers, of El Dorado Springs, Missouri, battled freezing temperatures, high winds and a field of 170 boats to catch an astonishing 14-fish limit weighing 44.71 pounds — which was 2.71 pounds more than the 2nd place team of Brett and Robert Luther — to get the win in the Crappie Masters Grenada Lake National Qualifier on March 11 and 12.
Anglers took advantage of perfect conditions to start Day One of this two-day tournament and the weights reflected that as records were broken numerous times. The top 11 teams all broke 21 pounds with their seven fish weighed in, with the top five all bringing amazing catches over 22 pounds to the scales.
Additionally, Crappie Masters history was made when Joey Johnson weighed in a 4.03-pound Grenada toad! But the four-pounders didn’t stop there as three others came to the scale, ending up with the biggest fish ever weighed in, a huge 4.26-pound Grenada monster by Day One leaders, Brett and Robert Luther.
“This tournament didn’t just set records but it shattered records,” said Weighmaster Brian Sowers. “The top 11 teams had limits averaging over three pounds per fish. And the second place team won $5,000.00 for their record crappie from Car Zone USA who put up the money for the record fish.”
Land of giants
“Grenada Lake showed what fishing her can be like,” Sowers said. “They call it the Land of the Giants and it is definitely the stuff of dreams!”
Matthew and Bruce Rogers started Championship Saturday in third place and were greeted with an unpleasant surprise, two inches of snow and temperatures in the 20s with 20 mph winds.
Although most teams struggled to match the Day One weights, Matthew and Bruce Rogers shocked the crowd with another 22-pound-plus stringer, walking away from the field and collecting the $10,000 First Place prize along with a $500 Beatdown Outdoor Products bonus.
The Rogers team was using a 15-foot Jenko Rod with a 1/4- to 3/8-ounce weight and baited with several different lures and minnows.
“We were live scoping and targeting the large crappie,” said Matthew Rogers. “We pre-fished the tournament and the fish were in 4 feet of water, but the big ones came in 6 to 8 ½ feet of water. We were using 14 and 15 foot rods with a 1/4- to 3/8-ounce weight above a purple and blue jig or minnow.”
They were fishing a flat in open water, but they found a ditch where the bigger fish were holding just a little deeper. He noticed the fish were moving up the lake, so he adjusted by keeping the bait in front of them at all times and also kept track of water temperature closely.
The Luthers slipped into the runner-up spot. The wind kept them from effectively fishing the same way as Day One when they set a one-day, seven fish weight of 22.77 pounds.
$5,000 for one big fish
Their second Crappie Masters record earned them the $5,000 Big Fish award with a 4.26 pound fish of a lifetime! The team also took home $7,000 for their 2nd-place finish weighing in 42.00 pounds.
The big jump of the day came from the eventual third place team of Jeremy Aldridge and John Harrison, who started the Crappie Masters Championship Saturday in 17th place. They were the first team to take their place on the Millennium Marine Hot Seats with a two-day weight of 41.54 pounds. Harrison and Aldridge collected $5,000 for their effort.
Fourth place honors went to Joey Johnson, who was the first to weigh a 4-pound fish on Friday with a 4.03 pounder, and a two-day total weight of 40.74 pounds, taking home a nice $3,500 payday.
Rounding out the top five with 40.53 pounds was the team of Hayden and Dan Jeffries, who went into Championship Saturday in 18th place before moving all the way into the top 5 to take home a $3,000 check.
The event was hosted by the Grenada Tourism Commission and sponsored by Grenada Lake Tackle Company.