|Trinity Standard - Local News
Copyright 2013 - Polk County Publishing Company
Trinity anglers claim Texas crappie titles
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY -- Three of the top 2013 Crappie Anglers of Texas (CAT) awards were presented to two Trinity men following the group's Texas State Crappie Championship tournament held Sept. 13-14 at Lake Fork near Mineola. Richard Bailey of Trinity claimed the CAT Division II Angler of the Year Award and the Rev. Ron Conaster place second in this year's crappie standings. Conaster, a former Lake Livingston fishing guide, also was awarded the group's Sportsman of the Year honor. Conaster explained the Angler of the Year awards is given based on points earned throughout the year during six tournaments held across the state. Lake Livingston hosted the group's second 2013 event on Feb. 16, a tournament which was won by Bailey. Bailey noted that in the one-day CAT qualifying tournaments, the anglers turn in their seven biggest crappie to be weighed with the winner being the one who has the heaviest stringer. The winner is awarded 100 angler of the year points, second gets 99, third is awarded 98, etc. During the two-day championship, a total of 14 fish are turned in for weighing. Overall, Bailey finished with 596 points and Conaster accumulated 593 during the qualifying events. In addition, Conaster and his partner, John Mallet of Montgomery, won the championship tournament with a two-day stringer weighing 18.91 pounds. CAT's Division II, in which Bailey and Conaster competed. Includes non-professionals while professional anglers compete in Division I. The group also has a junior anglers' division for crappie fishermen who at 17 years of age or younger. "I've won too much so I'm going to be bumped up to Division I next year," Conaster said with a smile. "When I was working as a guide, I competed in that division but when I retired they let me drop down to Division II," he said. Conaster has been competing in the CAT events since it was formed six years ago, while 2013 was Bailey's first year. "We have a lot of fun at each of the events," Conaster said. "We have about 237 members, but not everyone competes in every event. Anyone who is interested in crappie fishing is welcome to join. "I really like the completion," Conaster said. "I guess that goes back to rodeo days. I addition I've met some really good people and some really good fishermen." Conaster said when he was presented the Sportsman of the Year Award he was taken by surprise and felt very honored. "I wasn't trying to win that award but when I did it was really something," he added. While Conaster and Bailey competed separately during 2013, they plan to team up in 2014. This week both will travel to Mississippi to compete in the Crappie Masters National Championship at Lake Geneva. Conaster, who serves as the pastor of the Risin' Sun Cowboy Church in Trinity, will once again help host the Lake Livingston CAT event in February. "This will be the fourth year we will hold an event here and the tournament headquarters will once again be here at the church," he said, adding that those wishing to compete in that event or any CAT tournament can go to the group's website. www.crappieanglersoftexas.com top join.