A pair of native anglers beat 45 different fishing groups and took dwelling first-place honors and a $10,000 test at Crappie Master’s 2022 kickoff event January 21-22 on the St. John’s River in Florida. In an expert angling world that thrives on gear and gear sponsorships, the successful staff of Randy Stormant and Bobby Robinson stands out. They fished from a nondescript, 13-foot johnboat with no electronics and used fly rods with out reels.
Stormant, of Deland, Florida, and Robinson, of close by Pierson, have fished collectively for years. Their solely different event expertise, in accordance with Crappie Masters LLC Proprietor Blake Jackson, is 2 native membership occasions—each of which they gained. The lads took the primary day lead, catching a seven-fish restrict weighing 13.83 kilos, lower than a pound forward of seven different groups.
Rivals fished in shirtsleeves on the primary day, however an in a single day chilly entrance introduced a blast of frigid air and precipitation on day two. Anglers bundled up and lots of professionals figured fish would possibly transfer to deeper water. Stormant and Robinson, although, continued to fish shallow, swimming their crappie jigs round brush and lily pads in bends on the primary river. “When crappies are on the brink of spawn, they keep in shut,” Robinson advised F&S, including the water temperatures have been between 56 and 58 levels, a temperature vary that he stated fires up pre-spawn fishing. It paid off, yielding a second-day 15.11-pound bag, cementing the win with a complete of 28.94 kilos of crappie.
Brian Sowers, the Crappie Masters event director and the event’s weigh-in emcee, requested the lads how they succeeded—particularly with their restricted gear. Previous to the event, organizers predicted success would seemingly come from anglers utilizing spider-rigging techniques or long-line trolling. “There isn’t a reel within the boat,” Stormant stated, “all jig poles. We simply jigged the duvet all day lengthy. That is the one form of fishing we do.”
Successful Lures and Deal with for Crappie Fishing
Requested in regards to the jigs he and Stormant used used, Robinson stated: “They’re Slater’s jigs. Proper now, you might want to be fishing with one thing with just a little little bit of chartreuse in it—get the fish’s consideration. As for rods with reels, it seems like they don’t plan on altering techniques anytime quickly. “I don’t want a reel,” Robinson stated. “They wouldn’t match on my poles.”
Stormant added: “The rods don’t even have eyes (guides), only a tip eye.”
Ten appears to be a magic quantity, in accordance with Jackson. The anglers used customized, 10-foot, 10-weight fly rods, with 10 ft of 10-pound monofilament line tied to the attention on the rod’s tip. “Then they’ve their jig and a cork,” Jackson stated. “It’s similar to a cane pole set-up, however in graphite.”
Robinson’s late father was a severe angler on the St. John’s River. Stormant gave an emotional shoutout to him on the weigh-in, saying he’s the person who taught them how you can fish. “Plenty of years in the past, we put his daddy’s ashes within the river right here,” Stormant stated, including that he known as on his dad to ship some optimistic karma because the second day progressed. The occasion was winding down and despite the fact that that they had caught some 60 fish throughout the day, they sensed they wanted a pair massive ones to present them an opportunity at successful. “So, I began bitching at his daddy,” Stormant joked. The prayer paid off. At 2:30 p.m., they boated a 2.2-pound fish. Two minutes later, one other one, about the identical dimension, went into the livewell.
“After which I stop bitching,” Stormant stated.
An Spectacular Match Debut
The staff chalked up their win to persistence. Stormant stated he misplaced some fish that have been larger than those that made it into the bag. “I used to be just a little sore about that,” he stated. “We didn’t ever stop.”
Jackson, who monitored day two motion from a digital camera boat stated he was amazed on the ability with which the lads finessed fish to the touchdown web. “Not having a reel with some drag actually makes it difficult,” Jackson stated, evaluating the spunkiness of St John’s River black crappies to smallmouth bass. “They solely misplaced one or two fish. It was undoubtedly spectacular.”
“It’s all within the approach,” Robinson stated. “They put up extra of a struggle that manner. The rods are actually versatile, they assist play the fish out.”
Jackson calls it a storybook end. “It was the definition of two outdated buddies who exit and tackle the skilled facet and get a wire-to-wire win with a large bag,” Jackson stated.