Fifty teams from 15 states traveled to DeLand to compete Jan. 14 and 15 for $17,200 and the coveted CUSA Winter Series Championship. This Winter Series Championship event was presented by Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s and hosted in part by the West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority.
The winning pro team comprised a pair of anglers from Kansas and Missouri.
This CUSA Winter Series Championship was an event in which all of the teams had to be qualified through CUSA’s Winter Series qualifying events over the past couple of months, including one in DeLand last September.
The field of boats all came together each afternoon at the tournament’s weigh-in site at the St. John’s Marina & Resort on State Road 44 west of DeLand.
On the first day of the event, the anglers faced a 10- to 25-mph north wind, with temperatures starting out in the 40s, quickly rising into the 60s. On day two, the winds were light and variable, with the temperature rising into the low 70s.
The team of Frank Haidusek of North Vernon, Kansas, and Michael Parker, of Grain Valley, Missouri, brought 27.68 pounds to the scales after the two days of competition. They took home a check for $5,000, along with a bonus worth $100.
Over both days, the team caught roughly 50 fish.
Two Georgians, Craig Chapman of Danville and Jason Little of Cochran, took home the title on the amateur side with a two-day weight of 23.69 pounds. The team took home the Champion Plaque and a check for $2,500.
Tournament Director Darrell Van Vactor sent special thanks to Georgia Turner with the West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority for hosting this event. He also thanked St. John’s Marina & Resort for hosting the weigh-in site both days, along with all of CUSA’s national and local sponsors.
With this tournament, Crappie USA kicked off its 26th season of providing competitive angling to crappie anglers.
The two-day competition, the first-ever Winter Classic Championship, kicked off Jan. 14 on the St. Johns River west of DeLand. Anglers fished the river from the I-4 bridge to and including Lake George.
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.
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, go to www.visitwestvolusia.com or call 386-734-0162.