G. Sam Piatt
PDT Outdoors Columnist
Crappie USA Inc. will hold a one-day qualifying tournament next Saturday, May 17, on Cave Run Lake 10 miles southwest of Morehead.
Anglers will be fishing for a 7-fish limit of crappie, which could net them a check along with the opportunity to advance to the Cabelas Crappie USA Classic, one of the most prestigious events in crappie fishing.
This year’s classic will be held Oct. 16-18 on Lake Cumberland out of Somerset, Ky.
A pre-tournament seminar will be held Friday evening at the Morehead Convention Center, 111 E. 1st Street in Morehead.
The public is invited to turn out and meet the top crappie fishermen in the region.
The tournament weigh-in site will be held on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Claylick Boat Ramp.
This will be a good opportunity for curious non-competitors to come out and learn how the big crappie are caught.
Interviews of the top five teams will be conducted after the weigh-in.
The Morehead Tourism Commission will welcome all Crappie USA anglers and their guests.
Actually, teams (two fishermen) can enter the tournament Friday night. The fee is $100 per team, but there will also be a $20 late fee.
This, the Amateur Division, offers a chance for local and new up and coming crappie fishermen to fish on a competitive level at half the cost of the Semi-Pro entry fee.
All participants must be a member of the American Crappie Association. The membership fee is $25 for adults and $10 for spouse and youth memberships. These, too, will be available Friday night.
The host lodging will be the Day’s Inn, 170 Tom’s Drive in Morehead.
A kids fishing rodeo is also a part of this event.
For more information, visit the Web site at www.crappieusa.com.
OLD CRAPPIE GANG
I haven’t heard if any members of the Old Crappie Gang, of which I am an honorary member, plan on entering this Crappie USA event or not.
Probably not, since it is an amateur event, and these guys are strictly pro all the way.
They’ve been fishing Cave Run for crappie for 30 years or more, holding a camp-out in the spring and in the fall.
They had decided to retire after only two showed up at last spring’s event. Well, three counting me.
Then last summer, too, we lost the Barbourville connection, Boyd Noble, who died suddenly of cancer. Boyd was the one who fixed his special, corn fritters, to go with the pan-fried crappie cookout held at the mid-week point of the camp.
He was also the Champ of the Camp with that prodigious white crappie, caught in the Caney Creek area, that tipped the scales at just over three pounds.
But at any rate, the OCG, with members from the Ashland to Olive Hill area, is making a comeback and planning on setting up camp in the Twin Knobs Recreation Area May 20-23.
The 2014 fishing season is still young, but already the Ohio River has surrendered a record fish.
Austin Hoffman of Hilton, W.Va., was fishing cutbait April 26 in the tailwaters of the Robert C. Byrd Dam when he landed a blue catfish that was nearly four feet long and weighed almost 53 pounds.
To be exact, the new West Virginia record was 47.75 inches long and weighed 52.95 pounds.
TOM CLAY RETIRES
Tom Clay recently retired as business manager at Greenbo Lake State Resort Park.
During his 15 or more years at Greenbo, Tom was able to gain several things for the area’s sportsman.
Included are starting the first white-tailed deer hunt on park property in 1997 and having placed more than 1,000 Christmas trees in the 181-acre lake as fish habitat from 1998 to present.
He also got started the first goose hunt on resort property in 2001.
He got the limit on bluegill reduced to 15 a day, resulting in bigger and healthier fish.
He convinced the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to split up the trout stocking in the lake to benefit fly rodders. Instead of having 12,000 fish stocked in frigid January, the department agreed to put about 5,000 o those into the lake in October.
Tom also got the fishing pier down from the boat dock named in honor of Delbert Grizzle, and got Grizzle’s two one-time state record largemouth displayed at the lodge entrance.
“They say there’s no “I” in “team,” but it sure seemed like pulling teeth every time I would ask for something,” Clay said, “but in hindsight I guess I did get a few things accomplished for this area.”
Tom is president of the Kentucky Outdoor Press Association, which recently presented fish and wildlife with a check for $225 to sponsor a student to attend the department’s summer camp at Camp Robert C. Webb on Grayson Lake.
Tom was named Water Conservationist of the Year in 2,000 by the League of Kentucky Sportsmen.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (606) 932-3619 of Gsamwriter@aol.com.