Fishing tournament honors ‘crappie legend’

Published 5:25 pm Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The First Annual Gene “Coach” Cost Crappie Classic will take place April 16 at Lake Mitchell.

The tournament honors Cost, who spent 14 years as the football, basketball and baseball coach at Jemison High School before becoming vice principal and eventually principal.

At 84 years old, Cost continues to teach Sunday School at First Baptist Church in Jemison.

Besides becoming known as a vital member of the Jemison community over the years, Cost has developed quite a reputation for catching crappie.

Gene Cost has made it a priority to get back on the water in recent weeks. The Gene “Coach Cost Crappie Classic will be held. (Contributed Photo)

Gene Cost has made it a priority to get back on the water in recent weeks. The Gene “Coach Cost Crappie Classic will be held. (Contributed Photo)

“In this county, he is known as a crappie legend,” tournament director Darrell Harris said. “He is just so competitive.”

Cost has not been able to fish for the last year and a half due to medical reasons. However, he has made an effort in the past two weeks to get back on the water in preparation for the tournament.

“My mother and daddy started taking me fishing when I was 6 years old,” Cost said. “When school was out, I liked to fish every Saturday.”

Though he may not fish in the tournament, he is expected to make an appearance at the weigh-in.

“I was amazed by it because I didn’t think something like that would happen,” Cost said. “I’ve fished quite a bit with Darrell so I would help him any way I could.”

The secret to Cost’s fishing success could be the fact that he makes his own jigs.

According to Harris, that was the reason for the tournament requiring the use of jigs only with live bait, spider rigs and trolling not allowed.

The tournament will have a 100-percent payout with $600 awarded to first place, $400 to second place, $300 to third place, $200 to fourth place and $100 to fifth place.

There will be a five fish weigh-in and prizes are based on 20 boats, but the opportunity exists to have a larger amount shared among the top five if the number of boats exceeds 20.

An entry fee of $80 cash per boat is required to enter the event with an extra $10 requested for entry into the “Big Fish” pot.

The event will begin at safe sunlight with weigh-in scheduled for 2 p.m.

The Harris Classic was held on March 12 on Lay Lake. Harris plans to host both events each year in an attempt to promote more crappie tournaments throughout the area.

The plan for next year is to allow people entered in the Harris Classic to be qualified to participate in the Gene “Coach” Cost Classic as well.

“We hope to build it up to 40 or 50 boats, which would be an unbelievable payout,” Harris said. “So far the community has really been behind the effort.”

For more information about the event call (205) 966-9307.