The Big Momma Crappie Tournament held on Grenada Lake on Saturday (Sept. 17) was a day of perseverance and firsts for Hernando's Dave and Darlene Roach, who won the Mississippi Crappie Club event with a monster slab weighing 2.41 pounds.

Dave Roach, aka "Gator," said the day started out with trouble: First their trailer came loose from their truck before they left their yard, and then about 20 miles south of Hernando a trailer tire blew out, destroying the rim and almost ruining the bearings.

This delayed the Roaches approximately one hour.

So it was 7:30 a.m. before they launched the boat at the South Greysport Landing. They pulled up to Choctaw Landing with about 20 boats fishing this area.

After nearly an hour of fishing without a bit, Darlene told Dave to fish like he would when he's fishing by himself.

So Dave moved out to a flat near the river channel. Before he could get his spider-rigging poles out, Big Momma hit one of his 3 ½-inch minnows.

While pulling in the fish he broke his new B'n'M Slo-Troller pole, and Dave Hernando said he had to grab the line and reach for the net.

Finally netting the fish, he could not believe his luck.

Dave said this was his first tournament, first time fishing Grenada and his first win. And it all came from a 1981 Bass Tracker with a 30 horsepower outboard, proving the fishermen are more important than the boat.

The $2,000 the husband-wife team pocketed came in handy, especially since Dave said he didn't tell Darlene about paying the entry fee. And after buying two T-shirts, he had $30 left to buy gas for the event.

On top of it all B'n'M President Jack Wells promised to send the Hernandos a complete set of poles after Dave's rod broke.

The next event – the 2011-12 Magnolia Crappie Club season opener – is slated for Oct. 22 at Arkabutla Lake.