The Missouri River Catfish Classic Win Goes To Jeremy and Angelo Stone
by Ron Presley
Anglers competed in 5 different locations along a 500-mile stretch of the Missouri River in this unique tournament.
The Missouri River Catfish Classic (MRCC) took place at different locations along the Missouri River where anglers competed for the same prize money. Entries from each location were used to create a single prize purse to be distributed to the winners according to tournament rules.
The November 4, 2023 tournament attracted 50 teams who competed along the river from Nebraska City, NE to the Klondike, MO Boat Ramp. The event covered about 500 miles of the Missouri River.
Participating teams competed for a 1st place payout of $5,000. Second place paid $2,500 and 3rd place paid $1,250. The Big Fish winners earned a check for $1,000 and the 2nd Big Fish earned $500. Several more prizes were donated by various companies.
First Place and Top Veteran
The top spot at the Missouri River Catfish Classic went to Jeremy Stone and Angelo Stone. They teamed up to bring 152.30 pounds to the scales and earn the $5,000 check for first place. Their bag included a 66.30-pound blue cat.
Angelo won the Top Veteran spot to add $1,000 to his payday. The veteran award was supported by Kaleb Page and the Catch the Fever Crew, Kaleb Mcadams with Mcadams Construction, and Britt Moore with Bottle Bobbers.
Jeremy and Angelo launched at the Lexington River Access with plans to travel upriver toward the Missouri City area. Due to the challenge of running in the dark, they decided to cut the travel short and ended up fishing halfway in between.
“We anchored fished all day,” reported Jeremy. “We were primarily setting up between dykes and fishing back towards them. The first spot we tried was a dud even though we had marked some nice fish.”
Finding no success at the first spot they moved on. They encountered a lot of trash and debris in a lot of the spots they wanted to fish making for an added challenge and a tough bite. During prefishing, Jeremy and Angelo had noticed the best bite was first thing in the morning. Tourney day was no different.
“The bite got good at our second spot when the sun started to come up,” recalled Jeremy. “We hit a 66-pound, a 49-pound, and a 38-pound blue cat within about 15 minutes of each other. Those were the only fish we caught all day. The bite completely shut off for us around 10:30 a.m. Those 3 fish just happened to be big enough.”
“We primarily fished 20-foot depths and looked for structure,” continued Jeremy. “We used TWC Rods with Abu Garcia C3 7000 Reels, baited with fresh shad on Triple Threat 8/0 circle hooks.”
“At first we were leery of the tournament set up of multiple locations,” concluded Jeremy. “However in the end, regardless of the outcome, it turned out to be a blast and a pleasure not having a 50-truck waiting line at the weigh-in. All of the experience and excitement wouldn’t have been possible without my wife and mom pushing my dad and I to join the tournament. We signed up at the last minute and I couldn’t have asked for a better person to win it with than my dad!”
Second Place and Big Fish
The runner-up spot went to Joel Roberts and Justin Claar. Their bag weighed 145.36 pounds and included the Big Fish of the tournament at 89.4 pounds. It was Justin’s new personal best. They earned the 2nd place check for $2,500. Big Fish of the tournament added $1,000 to their earnings.
“Justin and I fish together a lot,” stated Roberts following the tournament. “But neither of us had been on the Missouri River in a month. With the water being in the mid-40s we expected the fish to be on the slow side of the river.”
Roberts and Claar moved around to different spots. They mainly fished holes behind the wing dikes but they did try a few mud flats with mediocre success using shad for bait. They caught about 15 fish in total. Water depth didn’t seem to be a deciding factor for them.
“We caught a lot of fish up until about noon,” recalled Claar. “Then finding spots that hadn’t been fished became tough.”
“On our third set, our rods were constantly moving,” added Claar. “Joel’s rod went down and he started reeling it in. Then, BAM, my rod got slammed! I couldn’t get it out of the rod holder at first as it was screaming drag. It was my new PB at 89.46 pounds.”
“It was a great day of fishing,” continued Claar. “It was nice to fish a tournament that was spread out all up and down the Missouri River, especially since we were using fall/winter tactics. It opened up the river and allowed us to have more places to fish.”
“We would like to thank everyone involved in making the Missouri River Catfish Classic happen,” recognized Claar. “We also want to thank Kevin Parks for donating the trophies. Second place this time— maybe 1st next time!”
“Neither of us has ever fished a tournament that included the entire Missouri River,” concluded Roberts. “It really opens up the playing field and allows anglers to pick and choose where they want to fish. We will definitely fish it again in 2024.”
The 3rd spot went to Daniel Meredith and James Jackson with a bag of 138.30 pounds. Meredith and Jackson earned the 3rd place check for $1,250. They also won a $250 Gift Certificate for being the highest finishing team with a Maci’s Fish ‘n Finds decal on their boat and another $250 store credit for being the highest finishing team using MulTBar Rod Holders.
Meredith and Jackson found a hot bite early on tournament day. The bite slowed down as the day went on but they continued to search and find fish. They were fishing on the rope and targeting water that ranged from 10 to 20 feet deep.
“The morning bite was definitely better than the afternoon bite,” reported Meredith. “We had to move a lot during the afternoon. We fished 7 different spots in the afternoon.”
They fished with Catch the Fever Heavy Hellcat Rods with Whisker Seeker Triple Threat Hooks as the terminal tackle. They deployed them from MulTBar Rod Holders.
“We used shad all day,” explained Meredith. “The Hellcat Rods definitely did their job. We caught our biggest fish, a 67-pound blue, at 930 a.m.”
As the day wore on and they searched to improve their bag something very unusual happened. The appearance of a whole school of Asian carp erupted around the boat.
“We were fishing behind a straight dike,” recalled Meredith. “Out of nowhere the whole area was covered in a bunch of bubbles and Asian carp started jumping out of the water. I never saw anything like it. It did not affect the fishing though and we caught 3 fish out of the hole. We also caught a 21-pound tagged fish. It is the first tagged fish we have ever caught.”
“It was a great turnout for the tournament to be held so close to deer season,” concluded Meredith. “I can’t wait until the next one. Hopefully, we can get more people to fish this great tournament next year. The trophies were awesome, they look great. Thanks to the Missouri River Classic for a great time.”
Second Big Fish
Second Big Fish went to Charles Scott and Morgan Reed with a 69.4-pound blue cat. They earned a check for $500 donated by AMPED OUTDOORS.
Top Female Angler
A weight of 85.56 pounds earned Missy Joliet the Top Female Angler Award. She was fishing with Josh Vail and Bobby Feugate. The team weighed 85.56 pounds and finished 10th overall. The $1,000 award was sponsored by Kevin Rogers with Side Dump Industries, Kaleb Mcadams with Mcadams Construction, Mark McMurray with Bluff City Outdoors, and John Daniel with D&J Marine.
Top Youth Angler
Tatum Delrosso was fishing with his dad Mackensie Delrosso and Jason Anderson. The team brought 54.94 pounds to the scales in one fish! They finished 17th overall and Tatum earned the Youth Angler Award.
The Youth Angler Award was donated by Kaleb Page and the Catch the Fever Crew, Kevin Rogers with Side Dump Industries, and Adam Fleagle with Fleagle Electric.
Smallest Fish Over 15 Inches
The award for the Smallest Fish Over 15 Inches went to the team of Philip Brown and Sam Kracht. The $1000 prize was donated by Justin Wentzal with Autumn Custom Seeding and ACS Materials.
This event could well be a positive force in the growth of the sport of catfishing. It combines the popularity of smaller local tournaments with the payout structure of larger tournaments.
Kudos to Craig Norris who managed the event by having the local directors text him the weights from their respective locations. He entered the weights into his computer to sort and determine the winners.
“I went live on the Facebook page at 6 p.m. that same day and announced the top 5 for the event,” explained Norris. The following day, I loaded up the trophies and took off to meet the top three teams at their houses and presented them with their trophy and checks. It was awesome to have their families be a part of the presentation.”
“I want to personally thank the tournament directors at each location,” noted Norris. “They are a huge part of setting the foundation for this event. Without them, the Missouri River Catfish Classic would not be possible.”
“Thanks also to all the anglers and sponsors for supporting and making this event so great,” concluded Norris. “The 2023 MRCC has set the bar for this event and the 2024 MRCC will be even better – LET’S GET IT ON!”
If you are interested in being a sponsor of a future Missouri River Catfish Classic event, contact them at email@example.com.
To keep up with tournament information, join the Missouri River Catfish Classic Facebook Group.