SANTEE, S.C. — The Santee Cooper Lakes -- Marion and Moultrie -- will be the home of a Crappie USA special two-day event in March as the fishing association celebrates its 25th anniversary focusing on crappie anglers.
The event is sponsored by Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s and will have crappie fishermen vying for a guaranteed $10,000 payout for one-day events and $20,000 for two-day events. The three two-day events are rescheduled from 2020 because of COVID-19 and will be phased out when completed.
Anglers may also compete in the $50,000 points race and an opportunity to qualify for the Regional Championships and the 2021 Crappie USA Classic. The Regional Championships will all feature a $25,000 payback and the Classic will be highlighted by a $165,000 payback.
Anglers fishing the event will be testing their crappie fishing skills against other anglers and whatever Mother Nature has in store. This event is a Region 2 qualifier in the new CUSA regional competition.
Crappie anglers have a right to get excited about spring crappie fishing as the bite starts early in Florida and works its way south. As crappie anglers think about fishing Lakes Marion and Moultrie, they have visions of big slab crappie. Also known as Santee Cooper, crappie can be caught in good numbers and good size all year long in this SC impoundment.
There are live trees, dead trees, deep water, shallow water, and open water. These lakes offer everything a crappie desires and will challenge anglers and their favorite crappie catching techniques.
The 2021 Regional Competition is based on four regions. Each region will have its own championship and points will be tabulated both regionally and nationally. Visit the CUSA website for complete scheduling.
How to Enter
Teams may consist of one or two anglers, with a third member allowed if the angler is under the age of 16 years old. Early registration can be accomplished on the CUSA website at https://www.crappieusa.com/Tournament_Registration.cfm. Teams may also enter by calling (502) 384-5924 or by entering at the mandatory pre-tournament seminar on the night before the tournament begins. Entry fees vary by length of tournament. All fees are posted on the website linked above. Late entries are subject to a $25.00 late fee.
Participating anglers must be a member of the American Crappie Association (ACA).
Sign up at https://www.crappieusa.com/Membership_Information.cfm where the various levels of membership are available. Each membership will include a subscription to the Crappie Digest, the official publication of Crappie USA, and one of the top crappie fishing publications in the nation.
Anglers will sign up at registration, be given a copy of guidelines for social distancing, be given a copy of the rules, and be given their weigh-in voucher. At that point, they will leave the registration site.
At the weigh-in, social distancing will be maintained in the weigh-in line and only a few teams at a time will be allowed to be in the line. Other anglers can wait in vehicles and boats. All staff will be wearing facemasks and we encourage all anglers and spectators to do the same.
Registration and Seminar
Late registration and a pre-tournament seminar will be held the day before the tournament at the Best Western Plus Santee Inn, 9059 Old Number Six Hwy
Santee, SC, 803-854-3089.
Late Sign-in begins at 5:00 pm and runs to 7:00 pm. A National Sponsor Field Test Product Drawing accompanies the seminar starting at 7:00 pm local time. This seminar is open to the public. Those not fishing the event are encouraged to attend this meeting and meet some of the region’s top crappie anglers. Social distancing rules will apply.
The Weigh-In Site
The tournament weigh-in will be held at Santee Town Hall Gazebo, 194 Municipal Way,
Santee, SC. Fishing hours are 7:00 am to 3:00 pm and all anglers are required to be in line by 4:00 pm. This is the perfect opportunity for non-competitors to learn how the big ones are caught. Interviews of the top 5 teams are conducted following the weigh-in with social distancing rules in effect.
Tournament Host and Lodging Site
The town of Santee, SC welcomes all Crappie USA anglers and their guests to the area and hope that they take the opportunity to enjoy the local attractions. For more information on the area visit the website at https://santeetourism.com/ or call 803-854-2152 ext. 203.
Lodging is provided by:
 Best Western, 9059 Old Number Six Hwy, Santee, SC, 803-854-3089
 Hampton Inn, 9050 Old Number Six Hwy, Santee, SC, 803-854-2444.
The number of rooms in the area may be limited. It is recommended that participants make their reservations early.
Crappie USA "Free Crappie Kids Rodeo"
No Crappie Kids Fishing Rodeo will be held in conjunction with the tournament.
The Classic Championship
The CUSA Classic Championship will be held October 14th - 16th at Lake Hartwell, SC at Anderson, SC. The 2021 Crappie USA Classic presented by Bass Pro Shops/Cabela's features a guaranteed payout of $165,000 in cash and prizes.
National Sponsors of Crappie USA are: Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s, Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, Mustad Hooks, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Talon, Lake Master Maps, Gamma, B’n’M Poles, Driftmaster Rod Holders, Ego Nets, Brushpile Crappie, Charlie Brewer Slider, Crappie Now Magazine, Jenko Fishing, Big Bite Baits, Crappie Magnet, EFX Graphics, Fin n’ Frames, Crown Trophy, JR Madd Breading, Freaky Franks Tackle, EZ Drift, Allegro Marinades, Pro Controll, Bubba Blade, Flambeau, and Smooth Moves Seats.