Truman Lake has been a regular stop now for the Crappie Masters National Qualifier Circuit in the month of June over the past couple years, and this go around it set up to fish very differently than in the years past.
In 2021 and 2022, the water level at Truman Lake had been around 10 feet higher than what it was here in 2023.
Along with a lower water level this year, Truman Lake had also experienced a later spawn than in the years past. The Truman Lake crappie were not set up on a normal summertime pattern just yet.
With all of these factors, anglers were faced with the challenge of simply finding tournament-size fish over this two-day event.
Many teams began practice earlier in the week. They were met with beautiful weather all week long, including both of the tournament days, with highs reaching the mid 80s and light and variable winds.
The day one weigh-in was full of excitement with a great crowd on hand at Bucksaw Resort and Marina. Many were gathered around to watch the 2022 Truman Lake Champions, Dalton and Larry Gorham, secure the top spot again.
They went into Championship Saturday with a weight of 10.86 lbs, edging out Oklahoma’s Brian Young and Diesel Byrd by 0.06 lbs and Truman Lake’s very own Richard Bowling and Gary Lee by just 0.08 lbs.
Vince Coats and Lane Peterson sat in fourth place with a weight of 10.71 lbs and the 2021 Truman Lake Champion, Jon Gilotte, and partner, Brandon Fulgham, with a weight of 10.59 lbs ended up in fifth place after the first day of fishing.
If you were able to tune in or come out for the day one weigh in you heard all of the anglers talk about having a tougher time coming across the “kicker” fish, which they were referring to any fish 1.50 lbs or bigger. A lot of teams thought it was just a timing deal, “being at the right place at the right time.”
These big Truman Lake fish would come up off the bottom to feed for short periods of time before going back to laying on the bottom. This created a lot of skeptical thoughts from your top 10 teams after day one. They wondered if they could duplicate their performance and there was a lot of hope from the rest of the teams that they would be able to make a jump up the leaderboard on day two.
Your top ten after day one were all separated by less than a pound with your top 20 teams being separated by just over 1.50 lbs. Tournament director Blake Jackson stated, “This is the closest the weights have been in recent years, all the way throughout the leaderboard, and literally every team in the event has a good shot at moving up the leaderboard and cashing a check on championship Saturday”.
Many teams and spectators believed team Gorham would go back to back in 2023, as they had been on a hot streak fishing local events on Truman Lake, winning two events just the weekend before.
But as the scales locked in with Jon Gilotte and Brandon Fulgham to the right of Tournament Director, Blake Jackson, and your day one leaders, Dalton and Larry Gorham, to the left, team Gorham came up just a little bit short, allowing Gilotte and Fulgham to take home the trophies and check worth $10,000.00.
Mike Vallentine and Matt Beckman moved up from ninth place to finish the event in second place for the third year in a row with a two-day total of 20.88 lbs, earning a check worth $4,000.00.
Richard Bowling and Gary Lee remained in third place with a two-day total of 20.54 lbs earning them some hardware and a check worth $3,000.00. Along with third place, Bowling and Lee also claimed the top prize in the big fish category with a 2.36 lbs Truman Lake giant from day one earning them another check for $1,000.00.
Vince Coats and Lane Peterson sat in the fourth place spot with a two-day total of 20.51 lbs and earned $2,000.00. Kyler Beckman and Dillion Stocking moved up to fifth place with a two-day total of 20.50 lbs, earning them $1,500.00.
Tournament Director Blake Jackson would like to thank everyone in the Clinton, Missouri area for coming out to weigh in both days to make for an incredible event, along with David Lee with Clinton Tourism for hosting this event.
Take a look at the complete results below!