Catfish anglers from six states traveled to Carlyle Lake, IL for a King Kat Tournament Trail event presented by Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s. Twenty-one teams gathered to test their catfishing skills against other anglers and Mother Nature.
Anglers fishing the August 15, 2020 event were vying for $ 4,920 in cash and prizes, and an opportunity to qualify for the $120,000 Classic Championship to be held October 30 – 31, 2020 on Milford Lake in Milford, KS.
Anglers were served up a day of mostly sunny skies and light winds on Illinois’ largest man-made lake. The air temperature around Carlyle Lake rose to the mid-80’s by weigh-in time at 3:00 pm. Eighteen of the 21 boats entered brought catfish to the scales. The final results were very competitive with first and third place separated by only 1.5 pounds.
The top spot at Carlyle Lake went to Zac Kopp, Eric Sasse, Levi Sasse. The team from Vandalia, IL, had a total weight of 36.1 pounds to claim first place and earn $2,600.
The three-man team reported fishing north, central, and all over the lake to catch their winning bag. Their fish came from water that varied in depth from 5 feet to 12 feet deep on fresh shad.
“We started our day catching fresh bait in the old river channel,” reported Zac. “We were dragging fresh cut shad across some points and underwater “holes” on the old river channels. There were a lot of soft bites— they would smack the bait and miss the hook. We caught 14 fish the entire day and pulled into the weigh-in expecting to see 40-pounds plus.”
“We had no idea we were anywhere close, let alone winners,” continued Zac. “We had fished the “Chasing Cats” tournament here two weeks ago taking 4th place. Figuring that the weather was close to the same we used the same game plan as then. The win was very unexpected. Very grateful! Great day!”
The runner-up spot went to Jeff Outz and Kenny Sudderth from Canon, GA. The Georgia boys weighed in 35.46 pounds to earn the second-place check of $1,100.
Outz and Sudderth fished below the railroad trestle that crosses the Kaskaskia River in Keyesport. They found their fish in 8 to 12 feet of water using shad for bait. They reported dragging baits all day to catch about 12 to 15 fish all day.
Ken and Tom Luttrell came to the scales with 34.6 pounds to claim the third spot on Carlyle. Their bag earned them a check for $800.
The Fat Boy Custom Rods team fished in the Kaskaskia River using shad for bait. The cats ranged from very shallow to moderately deep. The team reported catching fish as shallow as 2 feet but also caught them in 12 feet deep water. They culled their weigh-in fish from a total bag of about 15 for the day.
“The bite was slow, ”reported Ken. “We only caught 15 fish for the day and it included a lot of small fish. We focused on heavy structure. The bait of choice was shad.”
Jokingly, or maybe not so jokingly, Ken credited a lot of patience, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent with their success on a slow day of fishing.
Craig Shirey from Baltimore, OH, and James Wesney from Somerset, OH were in the money with 30.24 pounds that included Big Kat of the tourney. Their big fish weighed 11.06 pounds and earned a check for $420.
Shirey and Wesney traveled about halfway down the lake on the opposite side of the weigh-in to find the Big Kat which came from about 18 feet of water.
They reported wind blowing from different directions throughout the day so they just trolled to catch their fish. They used shad to catch approximately 20 fish on the day.
The Remaining Top Catfish Teams
4th Place – Jake Nalley and Scott Linton – 33.46
5th Place – Thomas Walsh Jr. and Tim Walsh – 32.88
6th Place – Chris McCauley and Nathan McClain – 3186
7th Place – Craig Shirey and James Wesney – 30.24
8th Place – Paul Cypher Jr. and Bill Stewart – 29.64
9th Place – Willie Smith and Nick Anderson – 27.98
10th Place – Wallace Maver and Justin Graham – 27.46
Tournament directors, Bobby Brown and Tim Fortner gave special thanks to Clinton County Tourism, the City of Carlyle, the Army Corp of Engineers, and Mariners Village Resort for helping make it a successful event.
The 2020 Championship
This year’s Cabela’s King Kat Classic Championship will be held October 30 – 31, 2020 on Milford Lake in Milford, KS. The Classic features a guaranteed payout of $120,000 in cash and prizes. The points race is set to pay $30,000 to the top 20 places based on the competitor’s top-five finishes.
Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s King Kat Tournament Trail sponsors include: Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s, Excel Boats, Mercury Marine, Mustad Hooks, Humminbird, Minn Kota, B’n’M Poles, Gamma Line, Driftmaster Rod Holders, Ego Nets, EFX Graphics, Catfish Now, Fin n’ Frames, WavePro, Kiobassa Sausage, and Crown Trophy Wave Pro.