DeLand, FL - The St. Johns River is going to be busy this Friday and Saturday from Lake George to the I-4 bridge as the first Crappie USA Winter Classic Championship takes place. Anglers from across the country will compete for a $15,000 payout and an opportunity to compete in the 2022 CUSA Classic.
George Parker, who lives on Lake Okeechobee, said he looks forward to it every year. "Crappie fishing on Lake Okeechobee is wonderful. There's lots of fish. There's no place you're going to catch more numbers but the size fish on the St. Johns River outclasses them big time. It's just unbelievable." He also said people come from all over. "The competition is off the charts. The best people in the country, crappie fishermen will be fishing in this tournament."
Parker said the reason the crappies get so big in the St. Johns River is the shrimp. "The shrimp migrate up to spawn and it's like a cafeteria to crappie, they love them and they feed and get big. That's what I think makes the difference between the size of this fishery and other fisheries. St. Johns, up to two and a half pounds, that's common if you know how to fish at all."
Two people teams and individuals take part in the tournament. Parker said he believes there are 60 to 70 pairs this year.
The seven biggest fish for the two days wins the tournament. That gets the winner a $10,000 prize. The top 3 teams in each division qualify for the 2022 Classic on Kentucky and Barkley Lakes out of Paris, Tennessee.
A FREE Crappie Kids Fishing Rodeo will be held in conjunction with the tournament at Highland Park Fish Camp, 2640 W Highland Road, Deland, FL. An adult must accompany all participating children. The event is free to all children 12 years of age and under. Because of a new headline sponsor, DMF Bait Company (DMF) will be presenting the kids' events on the trail and because of them, the annual scholarships will be increased to $10,000 beginning with the 2022 Classic.
Sign up for the Kids Rodeo is Saturday at 8:00 am with fishing from 9:00 am - 11:00 am. The Crappie USA Kids Fishing Rodeo is a chance for children of the area to get out and enjoy nature, do a little fishing, and win some prizes. All participants are eligible for a chance to win one of the ten, Crappie USA $1,000 scholarships. The scholarships are awarded annually at the CUSA Classic. To date, more than $385,000.00 in scholarships have been awarded.
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