Area prospers from classic
By JOHN BRANNON Messenger Staff Reporter
The 2007 Crappie Masters tournament now under way at Reelfoot Lake is a major outdoor sports event for northwest Tennessee, according to Vanessa Henson, coordinator for Reelfoot Lake Tourism Council.
She reports that 220 boatloads — two per boat — of fishermen are registered to compete in the tournament.
Registration was held Wednesday at Ellington Hall at Reelfoot Lake State Park. Anglers from 15 states showed up.
Fishing began at 6:30 a.m. today and continues through 2 p.m. Saturday.
Official fishing and weigh-in times are:
Fishing: 6:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Weigh-in: 2 p.m., but not later than 4 p.m.
Fishing: 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Weigh-in: Not later than 3 p.m.
American Legion Post 174 on Highway 21 at Blue Bank will serve as the weigh-in site. Each boat is allowed to bring seven crappie to the weigh-in. The heavier the seven fish, the better the chance of winning.
A total of $175,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded.
To be eligible to compete in the Reelfoot tournament, fishermen must have qualified in a tournament in another state.
And while they’re here, they enrich the local economy.
“We did a survey,” Ms. Henson said. “The average angler spends $250 a day. Most of those who came through the registration line said they’ve already spent $500 to $1,000 in the three days they’ve been here.
“It impacts everybody. Gas stations, bait shops, restaurants, motels. At one restaurant yesterday morning, a buffet style had to be set up just for breakfast. They had over 130 in for breakfast, and that’s not counting the local people.”
The crappie tournament is sponsored by the council and Crappie Masters of Lebanon, Mo.
Competing fishermen vie for a total of $175,000 cash and prizes.
Published in The Messenger on 10.19.07