By Andrew Edwards
The American Crappie Trail National Championship has come to a close, and the winners are two familiar names in the fishing community – Josh Jones and Josh Reynolds.
The team brought home the $65,000 first place prize after three full days of fishing on the Alabama River, and are now crowed national champions and anglers of the year. The tournament started with 80 teams, and once Josh and Reynolds took the first-place spot after the day two weigh-in – the two would never relinquish the lead.
“It’s so exciting to be crowned the champions of the tournament, and it’s even sweeter because we’ve been kind of labeled the black sheep of the fishing community. In the end, all the doubters out there are what fueled us to reach new heights,” Jones said.
Reynolds, who helps Jones with the network, says that the two work well better than anyone else out there.
“We’re trying to redefine the meaning of teamwork in this sport. We try to use the newest equipment and the newest strategies, because staying modern is the best way to success in this sport,” Reynolds said.
Jones is also aware of how important Reynolds is to the team’s success.
“He keeps me grounded,” Jones laughed. “If you know me, I’m kind of a spark plug and can get mad out there, so that can lead to getting down on myself. He’s the optimistic one that gets us through the days.”
But what was the duos secret to success the past three days? Conditions on the river wreaked havoc for many of the anglers, as rising waters made it extremely difficult to catch fish – due to the murkiness in and around the area.
“We fished about a mile and half away, south of the dam, and we tried to stay as close to the edge of the river as we could. We eventually found some timber stumps on the side of the shore, and those were really the closest for quite a while. The crappies were just swarming all over the place there,” Jones said.
It was a long and strenuous three days for all fishers involved, but the team of Jones and Reynolds prevailed in high flying fashion. Their 39.09 lbs just edged out the second placers, TC Llyod and Eric Cagle, who brought in 36.60 over the past three days.
“It’s a privilege to have been able to come down here and fish for the weekend. The Alabama River really is a great site, and the conditions that everyone had to endure the past couple of days really doesn’t tell the whole story about the number of fish there is in there,” Jones said.
Full results can be viewed on the American Crappie Trail Facebook page.