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Legend Biography

Darrell Van Vactor


President & CEO of Crappie USA

Sponsors: Coming Soon

Growing up in Western Kentucky it seemed only natural to have a strong dedication
to the sports of hunting and fishing. That dedication led Van Vactor to a job while in
college working at a resort on nearby Barkley Lake where in a few months his boss
changed his job description from mowing campsites to taking resort guest on guided
fishing trips.
Starting Van’s guide service in 1969 that he still maintains today helped him
understand the need for educating anglers to make them more successful while on
the water and convinced him to do seminars around the country at major sport and
travel shows with an emphasis on tips and techniques to make the attendees better
fishermen and help them enjoy their time fishing even more.
It was through the sport show circuit that Van Vactor was offered a tournament
director position with Johnson Worldwide Associates in their Crappiethon
tournament trail.
In 1996 Van Vactor and a group of partners purchased Crappiethon from Johnson
and Crappie USA tournament trail was born. The idea was to hold one, two and four
day competitive events with a low entry fee and position them close to as many
anglers as possible. At the same time Crappie USA was founded Van Vactor started
Outdoor Kid Inc. a non profit company that holds free events for youngsters through
12 years of age and awards college scholarship to the youth fishing the events. In
October 2014 the amount awarded in these scholarships exceeded $300,000.00.
In 2002 Van Vactor and his group founded King Kat Trail which today is the largest
competitive catfish trail in the nation.
Over the years Van Vactor has been the focus of many, many TV shows, how to
Video series, magazine articles and covers and served as editor of Outdoor Journal
the Official publication of both Crappie USA Inc. and King Kat tournament trail. He
has worked closely with US Fish and Wildlife Service, MICRA, Ky Department of Fish
and Wildlife and other organizations bringing attention to invasive species and
promoting laws and regulation changes in several states to better protect and
preserve or nation fisheries.
Darrell and his wife Stacie work together daily to better serve their members in
both the American Crappie Association and King Kat Association yet still save a little
time for their favorite past times of fishing and Elk hunting.
“Only in America can a young boy from Kentucky turn his favorite sport into a
successful career”.

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