Skarlis Rewires for Crappie Classic
Sep 12th, 2013 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Sep 12th, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Walleye excitement abounds in September and October, months traditionally known for competitive angling’s championships. This year will be no exception for the highly decorated, veteran touring walleye pro Tommy Skarlis. Other than the fact that he and crappie fishing partner Kyle Steinfeldt have qualified for the prestigious Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters Classic Championship in Grenada, Mississippi.
Sandwiched between berths in both the Cabela’s National Walleye Trail Championship and the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit World Championship, scheduling will be tight, but for Skarlis and Steinfeldt the crappie championship is one they simply cannot miss.
“It has been a long time since I have been this excited about a tournament,” Skarlis says. “Especially since it is between the two major walleye events. I feel that all the commotion of tight schedules will actually build my intensity and force me to focus during all three events!”
Skarlis is no stranger to these year-end events having qualified for over 36 consecutive championships in professional walleye angling. But he is a stranger to Lake Grenada, other than time spent studying it via Navionics Mobile Apps.
“There is certainly an intimidation factor that comes into play when fishing an unfamiliar body of water, especially with a championship on the line. However, the physical and mental preparation will be the same, and I’m confident in our ability to make the right decisions!” he says.
He says the first step is becoming familiar with current bathometrics (contour maps), and isolating likely fish-holding structure and locations-then to eliminate the unproductive water before ever dunking the Ranger 620VS. With the new Navionics+ it’s simple to download the necessary lake data and transpose it to a competitive game plan.
“We feel that by trying to beat the other teams at their own game, we would be at a severe disadvantage,” Skarlis explains. “Rather, our objective is to pull a few tricks of our own, including incorporating Humminbird’s Side Imaging technology. But the additional details will be kept under wraps until after the derby’s final weigh in.”
Following their qualification on Iowa’s renowned crappie factory, Lake Rathbun, they secured official sponsorships with Do-It Molds and Off Shore Tackle. The team hopes to garner additional educational value while competing, but also to share their northern crappie and walleye experiences with traditional crappie fanatics.
“Aside from putting my 9- and 10½-foot St. Croix Eyecons to work hoisting slabs into the boat, I’m very excited for a short-lived step away from my traditional competitive walleye pursuits. Chasing a national title at the Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters Classic Championship will be a highlight of my 2013 fishing season!” he says in closing.
For more info: Both anglers can be found on Facebook, and Skarlis regularly checks in with the fishing community at EvinrudeNation.com.