The Magnolia Crappie State Championship was held at Ross Barnett in June, and the two-day tournament was won by a team pulling crankbaits. In fact, the top-three teams pulled crankbaits, and that's all we did. We didn't pick up a jig pole or buy a minnow.

Brad Chappell and Bo Hudson, both of Ridgeland, won the 2010 Crappie Championship going away with a two-day total of 22.06 pounds. I mean, it was a slam dunk this past season for these young fellers who have been tournament fishing for only a couple of years.

Shoot, Brad and Bo, long-liners for life now I'm pretty sure, won our points race for the year, set a club record at Grenada for the heaviest seven-fish stringer at 19.42 pounds, and walked away with more prize money than any of the 50 teams competing in MCC this past season.

Bernard Williams and Don Terry, both of Jackson, placed second with 19.74 pounds, and yours truly, fishing solo, came in third with 19.59 pounds. Again, the top-three teams pulled cranks for two days and nothing else. You do know how I love to pull me some crankbaits, don't you?

MCC was started 19 years ago by several Barnett-based crappie fishermen. None of us makes a living at this tournament business. MCC is strictly a non-profit, for fun, fishing organization run by unpaid volunteers. And, yes, for the fourth or fifth time - 10 years total - I will serve as MCC president next year. Our annual elections were held earlier this summer, and, somehow - a mistake I think - the members voted me back into the president's spot.

Returning as president after a couple of years "off" will be a challenge. Our numbers are down a little from our peak just three or four years ago. I'm guessing the sluggish economy, as much as anything, put the tournament brakes on some of our MCC teams.

However, at the same time, outgoing president Brad Taylor of Greenville tells me we had more first-year members than ever in MCC this past season. Man, that's great. That alone speaks to the potential strength of this crappie club and to the interest in tournament fishing from folks new to the tournament scene. Y'all come on back in October when we start our 2010-11 season.

Briefly, MCC teams are made up of two people who are partners season-long. We limit boats to six poles, we weigh your best seven crappie and we fish one tournament a month from October through May on some of Mississippi's larger lakes and reservoirs. Club membership is required.

For more club info call me at 601-624-0359 or visit our website at

I'll promise you only one thing if you give MCC a look-see. You'll meet some of the friendliest, most helpful crappie fishermen who are willing to share most of what we know and then try our best to kick your butt on T-Day. Don't dare come hoping to supplement your income or expecting to win. You will be disappointed. MCC's motto is "This Is Fun," and that's how we plan to keep it.

I've seen so many changes in crappie fishing since MCC held our first tournaments. We've gone from the one-pole, one-jig approach to multiple rod sets, pushing and pulling all kind of baits through the water.

When we first started holding tournaments, we weighed in a team's best 30 fish. That quickly went to 20, then to 15, then to 10, and, for the last few years, we've weighed a team's best seven on T-Day.

There have been a couple of reasons for the reducing number of weighed fish.

One, we recognized the potential impact our tournaments could have on some lakes. In the good old days, weighing in a limit of crappie was not a problem. It is today. Shoot, some of us have a real problem coming up with 30 crappie. I know I do, and I'm guessing that some of you more honest types do, too.

And, secondly, MCC reduced the weigh in fish to make our tournaments competitive for every team entering. Hey, back when we weighed 20 and 30 fish on T-Day, the outcome was always predictable. The same really strong teams were kicking our behinds every time. I may not be able to come up with 30 fish today, but I figure I can get seven good 'uns in the boat. Can't you?

The strong crankbait bite is continuing right into the heat of the summer. Heck, it's getting better!

I used to hate summertime crappie fishing. Wouldn't go. Not only did the hot weather bother me, I wasn't catching many fish, and the few I'd catch would be relatively small. Look, the only summertime pattern on my home lake, Barnett, has been to hit the deep-water stumps, and every man with a jig pole hits every stump out there over and over and over. Summer crappie fishing became one of my least favorite things to do.

Now, thanks to learning more and more about pulling crankbaits, I can't tell you how much more I enjoy catching those huge slabs out in the middle away from the stumps and all the fishing pressure. I am thoroughly impressed with the quality and, on some days, the quantity of crappie coming from Barnett's deep-water ledges and flats this summer.

Oh sure, a good jig fisherman will catch more fish - probably two to one, unless it's a little windy. But, buddy, the size I'm catching is just unreal. So far, the biggest one I've measured and weighed this summer was almost 18 inches long and weighed 2.97 pounds. That's about as big as they grow, y'all.