PHOTO COURTESY CRAPPIE USA SHOWING OFF THEIR CATCHES — Anglers Ricky Green, left, and Robert Harris hold up the crappie they caught in 2020 at a Crappie USA tournament west of DeLand.

Anglers from around the country will be descending on West Volusia next month as Crappie USA kicks off its 26th season of providing competitive angling to crappie anglers.

The tournament is hosted in part by the West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority.

The two-day competition, the first-ever Winter Classic Championship, kicks off Friday, Jan. 14, on the St. Johns River west of DeLand. Anglers can fish the river from the I-4 bridge to and including Lake George.

Anglers will be vying for a $15,000 payout and an opportunity to compete in the 2022 CUSA Classic. The top three teams in each of several divisions qualify for the 2022 Classic in mid-October on Kentucky and Barkley lakes in Paris, Tennessee.

The St. Johns River is known for its beautiful black crappies. Two-pound specks are not unusual, as this stretch of river consistently produces good stringers of black crappie by a variety of methods.

Because of the abundance of crappie, the St. Johns River and other attractions in West Volusia are also popular vacation destinations. There are plenty of lodging opportunities and other amenities in the area to accommodate visiting anglers and their families — more than just good crappie fishing.

DeLand is just minutes away, and it is well-populated with dining opportunities to fit anyone’s tastes. As West Volusia Tourism says on its website, “Every place you dine is where the locals go.”

Tournament teams may consist of one or two anglers, with a third member allowed if the angler is under the age of 16 years old. Participating anglers must be members of the American Crappie Association (ACA).

The tournament weigh-in will be held at St. John’s Marina and Resort on State Road 44 west of DeLand.

A Crappie Kids Fishing Rodeo will be held in conjunction with the tournament at Highland Park Fish Camp, 2640 W. Highland Park Road in DeLand. An adult must accompany all participating children. The event is free to all children 12 years of age and under. Sign-up for the Kids Rodeo is at 8 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, with fishing 9-11 a.m.

The 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 10 Crappie USA $1,000 scholarships. The scholarships are awarded annually at the CUSA Classic.

For more information on the Classic and other CUSA events, visit the website at www.crappieusa.com and www.facebook.com/crappieusa/.

For information about West Volusia Tourism, visit www.visitwestvolusia.com or call 386-734-0162.

PHOTO COURTESY CRAPPIE USA
GETTING YOUNG PEOPLE INVOLVED — While the Crappie USA tournament is for professional anglers, the 2020 tournament also had a Kids Fishing Rodeo that allowed youngsters up to 12 years of age to enjoy nature, do a little fishing, and win some prizes. A Kids Fishing Rodeo will be held next month, as well.

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