Mike Jones of Greenville had a dream of bringing the best crappie jig tyers from around the country to Ridgeland, Miss., specifically at the Pelican’s Cove Grill on Ross Barnett Reservoir, for a spirited competition complete with big bucks and prizes. The cream of the crop arrived at the Pelican’s Cove Grill on Jan. 27.
Van Pierceall was recently crowned the first State of Mississippi Hand Tied Jig Champion after four rounds of tying different jigs. Though the competition was tight, Pierceall pulled away in the final stage.
Pierceall, from Stoutsville, Missouri, won a magnificent custom-made championship trophy featuring hand carved painted crappie reproductions and $1,000! Pierceall originally started tying crappie jigs as therapy while experiencing some health issues, and it soon turned into a passion for the avid crappie angler. Since 2015 he has made and sold thousands of Thumper jigs each year.
“If you aren’t fishing a Thumper Jig, you’re just taking a boat ride,” Pierceall said.
The four rounds
Each competitor competed in four rounds of competition where they had a limited time to tie four different styles of jigs. Before each timed event they were told which style of jig that they had to tie, and then they had to tie three identical jigs of each style for judging.
The jigs were then put in numbered envelopes so that no judge would know who tied each set of jigs.
Second place went to Albert Wood of Terry, Miss. Wood garnered $600 for his second-place finish in his first crappie jig tying competition. Wood is an avid fly tyer and angler and has traveled around the country catching fish on his hand tied jigs and flies. It should come as no surprise to those who know him that he enjoys working at Bass Pro Shops in Pearl. His love for tying jigs and flies, and catching fish with them, shines through as well.
Third place in the judging competition went to Steve Hart, of Ridgeland, Miss. Hart won $400 for his efforts in his first competition as well.
Judges for the event were Dan Dannenmueller, of Crappie Now, and two-time professional crappie angler of the year, Ron Stallings of TTI Blakemore and Roadrunner Lures and Mike Giles, Bass Pro Shops Regional Pro Staff Angler, lifelong jig tier, speaker, author and avid outdoorsman.
Wood wins People’s Choice Mississippi Jig Champion
Albert Wood was also awarded the People’s Choice Champion. Wood was given a custom carved trophy and $1,000 for his Best of Show jig!
The People’s Choice contest was judged by the public who came to the event over two days. Each jig tyer put their best jig up for display and the audience voted for their favorite.
Second place and $600 went to Ross Wager from Opelosusas, La. Wager ties thousands of jigs each year and is an expert custom jig tyer.
Third place in the People’s Choice competition went to Steve Hart. Hart won $400 for his efforts in this competition.