Crappie anglers, tournament pros and manufacturers will have a home of their own in Branson, Missouri tomorrow through Sunday at the second annual Crappie Expo. For people who love to catch (and eat) crappie, this is by far the biggest event of the year.
Wally Marshall, known in the fishing world as “Mr. Crappie” and the prime mover behind the Crappie Expo, has slated a wide range of events and activities at the Expo designed to appeal to anglers, families and fishing manufacturers.
“This Crappie Expo has been my dream,” Marshall said. “It’s a place where anglers can meet tournament pros and manufacturers, and the manufacturers can talk to the end users of their products. It’s designed by crappie people for crappie people.”
Each day there are fishing seminars by expert crappie anglers and pros, entertainment by live bands, weigh-ins for the $200,000-prize Mr. Crappie Invitational crappie tournament and, of course, a convention center full of booths featuring the newest in boats, electronics and crappie-fishing gear. Marshall says the event is adhering to Branson Convention Center COVID-19 guidelines, which include social distancing, regular cleaning of high touch point areas, and temperature checks.
“On Sunday, we’ll have the tournament pros on the main stage for a Q-and-A. People who come to the Expo can ask the pros questions on fishing techniques or strategies or gear,” Marshall said.
Seminars on crappie fishing techniques and electronics will be held throughout the Expo as well.
And there’s even free food: Starting at 11 a.m. on Oct. 31, the Expo serves “the biggest free fish fry in the world” using, of course, crappie fillets cooked in conjunction with Mr. Crappie Fish and Critter Fry batter and Savannah Hushpuppies. The meal is sponsored in part by Riceland Brand Oil and Cajun Fryers. The fish fry is free for Expo attendees.
“This really is a family-friendly event. The entertainment, the food, the chance to think about all things crappie—it’ll be great for any kid who likes fishing,” Marshall said.
Youth 15 and under get into the Expo free; adult admission for the Expo is $10.
In addition to the headline sponsor, Ford Motor Company, and Ranger Boats and Favorite Fishing, around 100 manufacturers are slated to be on hand.
On Saturday and Sunday fishing boats will be raffled off; Saturday’s prize is a Vexus AVX 189C boat and trailer; Sunday’s prize is a Ranger Z175 with a Mercury 115 hp 4-stroke motor and a Ranger trailer.
“You just put your name in the hat, and be in attendance, and you might win a boat,” Marshall said.
The $200,000 Mr. Crappie Invitational’s first day of fishing features 100 top crappie-angling teams and a weigh-in at Table Rock State Park Marina at 3 p.m.; the best 50 continue fishing on the tournament’s second day and the weigh-in moves to the main stage at the Expo. On the final day of the tournament the top 25 teams battle it out, with the finale weigh-in at 3 p.m., again on the main stage of the Crappie Expo.
“It’s going to be the biggest crappie tournament in history,” Marshall said. “This is the future of crappie fishing and crappie-fishing tournaments.”
The Expo’s hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 30, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct 31 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 1. For more details, go to www.crappieexpo.com
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