, Muskogee, OK


November 11, 2011

Crappie catches were so good, it was scary

Fort Gibson Lake provided both quality and numbers of slab crappie for anglers in the recent Bobby Garland/Crappie Pro Monster Fest.

Three of the 25 teams broke the 20-pound mark for their two-day limits of 14 fish each.

The team of Mackey Whyte and George Nelon of Texas weighed in 10.46 pounds on day one and added 10.33 pounds the second day, for a total catch of 20.79 pounds and pocketed $2,500 for their efforts.

It was the duo’s first visit to Gibson and they used their limited practice time on Friday locating structure along the main river channel ledges in upper regions of the lake.

During the tournament, the two anglers used two rods each with a variety of jig-type baits and reported catching around 50 legal-sized fish (at least 10 inches in length) over the two-day period.

“The majority of time we were in 12 to 16 feet of water, but I’d say most of our fish came from probably around nine or 10 feet down,” said Whyte. “Fort Gibson is a neat lake and we had a really good time fishing it.”

Placing second with 20.44 pounds and winning $850 for their efforts, was the team of George  Foster of Coweta and Gary Rowe of Wagoner, local anglers who saw the bite change as the fish moved out deeper and deeper each day once the tournament started.

Rowe relayed to me prior to the tournament he thought it would take a little over 20 pounds to win the thing.

“The front that came through with the rain and a cold north wind just before the weekend, which normally happens around the first week of November anyway,” said Rowe. “During our practice period we were catching a lot of fish in six feet of water or less, but by Sunday we were catching them as deep as 23 feet. The bites never really ceased — they were just on the move. We probably caught 70 or more keeper-sized fish, with many being over a pound and a quarter.”

Another Wagoner pair, Brett Brumnett and David Templeton, took third place with a total weight of 20.14 pounds and won $685  fishing laydowns in the river. Missouri anglers Kevin and Charlie Rogers finished fourth with 19.23 pounds earning $550.  The Oklahoma team of Todd Huckabee and Barry Morrow ended up 5th and won $350.

Big crappie of day one and the tournament was a 2.09 slab weighed in by Johnny Rice and Jeff Powell and was worth $250.00.

 There were 36 limits (seven fish per team) caught by the pro teams over the two tournament days and sponsors indicated in their comments that they hope to bring a similar event back to Oklahoma again next year.

One thing’s for sure, Rowe has promised to take me crappie fishing provided I come down with a case of amnesia immediately following our trip ... not a problem, Gary!

John Kilgore’s outdoor column runs Fridays in the Phoenix. To reach him with news or comments, call 348-9431 or email him at jkilgoreoutdoors@

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