By Josh Beavers
Back a few weeks ago, two longtime fan-favorite residents took to the waters fishing for Crappie at the largest tournament of its kind in the world.
When all the fish were taken off those shiny hooks and the Crappie were weighed, Justin Smart and Wesley Miller laid claim to second best in all the world and a purse of $40 grand.
Pretty good for a couple of Webster Parish boys.
“This achievement is so meaningful to us not only because of the money but it’s one of the strongest fields you will ever fish against,” Miller told the Journal. “It was also held in a place that we consider to be our home water and that meant a lot to us as well.”
The event was held on the waters over in Shreveport, but the next event is a little closer to home. Miller and Smart are sponsoring the 3rd Annual Lake Bistineau Crappie Rodeo on November 13 at the Port O’ Bistineau.
Pre-registration and fish fry are set for Nov. 12. Registration can also be completed the morning of the tournament.
The first-place prize is $5,000. Entry is $100 per team.
The Journal asked the duo why they loved fishing:
“I think for me it’s the competition,” Smart said. “It’s the hardware. The money spends but the trophy lasts forever. Competitive team fishing has been something I have been doing since my early high school years. Winning a tournament is one of the greatest feelings of all. In this case second place feels good, too.”
Miller added: “I love the opportunity to get to meet new people daily who are interested in learning to fish. I love that look on their face when they catch their first slab crappie. In the past two years of guiding, I’ve made many new friends that will be lifelong relationships.”
Miller runs Big Sasquatch Outdoors, a full-service fishing guide business.
The Journal asked each man how they got into fishing? What makes it special?
Smart told us, “I started at a very young age. My dad would take me to the lake or a pond and really invested his time teaching me how to fish. At the age of 11, I fished my first bass tournament with him, and we won. I didn’t do much but hold the net that day but I’ll never forget the way I felt when they called us and handed us that trophy.”
Miller added: “I can’t remember not wanting to fish. It’s what I’ve always done and it’s all that I’ve ever wanted to do. Fishing is and always will be my true love.”
While the two are putting on the upcoming tourney on Bistineau, The Journal wanted to know what was next for the duo as a team.
“I feel like we have developed the reputation of a team who will always be in contention, no matter the venue,” Smart said. “I would suspect you will see us jump into any of the national tournaments that come close to us during next year.”
He said to watch for them in upcoming tourneys on Lake Darbonne, Lake Fork, and the Ouachita River.
“We will definitely return to the Crappie Expo tournament next year as we have gained automatic invite status for finishing in the top 25 this year,” Miller said. “The tournament next year is going back to Branson, MO and will be held at Table Rock Lake sometime in early October of 2022.”
Both men wanted to thank supporters.
“Whether it be financially, just words of encouragement, or congratulations, it really means so much to us,” Smart said. “Our achievements as a team mean a lot to us as well. We work extremely hard to compete against these guys and we took some beatings along the way. Each time though we get better. I feel like you can never stop learning in this game because you will be passed quickly. We are still getting better every trip out.”
For more info on the upcoming tourney, you can call Justin at 318-540-7883 or Wesley at 318-465-1668.
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