Anglers reported a late bite due to cold front and full moon.
Fifty-three teams made up of 123 anglers from 10 states traveled to New Madrid, MO to fish the last event of the season for the Twisted Cat Outdoors tournament trail. This is a popular destination for catfish anglers because the Mississippi River normally produces some nice fish and it did not disappoint.
The city of New Madrid was holding its Fall Festival to add excitement to the day for spectators and visitors alike. The Saturday, October 3, 2020. event included all kinds of street vendors and the city’s annual fish fry. This year the fish fry had limited seating to conform to COVID requirements but also had carryout available for anglers and spectators.
A Friday night registration took place at the New Madrid Community Center to set up the 7:30 Saturday morning launch. Anglers were required to be back for weigh-in by 3:30 where they could weight a three-fish limit. In Missouri, all three weigh-in fish could be overs.
At the end of the day, there were 86 fish weighed for a total weight of 1899.50 pounds.
When the tabulation was finalized, Jason and Daryl Masingale, along with David Coughlin had brought three fish to the scales that weighed 120.80 pounds. Their bag included Big Fish at 58.14 pounds. The team earned $4,000 for first place and added $530 for Big Fish and $250 for Dave’s Marine Big Fish Bonus. They also received a $200 Gift Certificate to American Upholstery.
“David Coughlin was catching big catfish when most guys were just trying to break the 20-pound mark,” offered Daryl speaking of the third man on the boat. “David was one of the guys we really looked up to when we first started tournament fishing years ago. He took the time to talk with us at the tournaments when we first started and we have to admit his advice was instrumental in our success throughout our years of tournament fishing. We have fished with David several times fun fishing but this is the second or third time we’ve fished with him in a tournament.”
“New Madrid is one of our favorite areas to fish,” reported Daryl. “But this year we haven’t had much opportunity to fish that area. With the low water levels, we knew where we wanted to fish. Our game plan was to concentrate on bouncing fresh skipjack on mid-river wood structure in 30 to 40 feet depths, the deep river channel in 60 to 90 feet depths, and river channels that were 30 to 60 feet.”
“The bite was very soft,” added Jason. “We learned early that we had to slow down our presentation and when the fish bit we had to give them time to take the bait. Sometimes we waited 10 seconds or more before reeling the line tight to the fish to set the hook.”
The team caught about 10 fish all day but struggled to get the big fish bites. The three fish they weighed in was the only fish caught that were over 20 pounds.
“It wasn’t a good big fish catching day,” Daryl said. “We were definitely thankful for the three good bites we got that gave us the win. We were really surprised to see our weight hold up for first place. There were a lot of really good teams fishing the tournament and we expected to see 140 pounds or better winning the tournament.”
“The town of New Madrid rolls out the red carpet for the cat fisherman,” concluded Daryl. “This year was no exception, even with the issues that coronavirus has plagued us all with this year. Twisted Cat has once again put on a great tournament for all the fishermen. With 53 boats fishing it was a great one to be a part of.”
The runner-up spot went to Corinth, MS anglers Larry Muse and David Shipman. Both are well known on the tournament trail, but this was the first tournament they had fished together. They had a three-fish bag that weighed 91.36 pounds to earn a check for $2,000.
“The Mississippi River is at its best stage to bump right now,” reported Muse. “We were bumping in water that ranged from 40 to 90 feet deep. The bite was off because of the cold front that came through the day before so we tried to keep our bait in the water every minute of the day without taking a break.”
Shipman and Muse were marking more fish than they could get to bite. They caught 5 fish all day for what was a 3 fish weigh-in so there weren’t many to cull.
“In Missouri, you can have 3 big fish,” explained Muse. “So, we ran big baits all day since we didn’t need any unders. This was the first time David and I had partnered up but we had a good day and plan on doing it again sometime. The people of New Madrid really support the tournament and festival that is the same day. We love going there.”
“I think a cold front stops the bite for maybe 24 hours or so,” offered B’n’M pro-staffer Shipman in explanation of the late bite reported by many. “Add the full moon and for whatever reason, the fish won’t do much until noon or after. Deer are the same way. No use going to your tree stand until about 10:00 am on the full moon and then stay until 2:00 or 3:00 pm. I think the deer may stay up feeding all night with the bright moon. I’m not sure about the catfish but it’s probably the same.”
Muse concluded by thanking his sponsors, Dales Tackle, Rig Rap, Warrior Cat Rods, Bass Pro Shops, Creek Life, and everyone who supports tournament catfishing. And thanks to David Shipman for asking me to fish it with him.
Cary Long and Adam Bond teamed up to win third place at New Madrid. They did not decide to fish the tournament until about a week before. It turned out to be a good decision as they brought 90.99 pounds to the scales to claim the third-place spot and earn a check for $1050.
“Neither of us had an opportunity to prefish,” reported Long. “But we had a good idea of where to fish because we have fished the area many times before. Of course, nothing that was supposed to work did so we were searching. We caught a total of nine fish for the day. Three of those were 30-pound class fish.”
The team caught their fish bumping with skipjack, saying the bite was slow all day. They caught one big fish fairly early and the other two after noon.
“There was no pattern to the fish,” explained Long. “They were caught in depths that ranged from 14 feet to 90 feet of water. We felt very fortunate to have the weight we did. It was a very tough day for fishing.”
Remaining Top Ten
4th Place – Ronnie Strickland, Ronnie Strickland & Michael Parham – 86.06 lbs
5th Place – Hunter Jones, Chris Stout, & Ryder Jone – 80.42 lbs
6th Place – Chris Brinegar & Troy Phillips – 77.85 lbs
7th Place – Joe Hardy, Barry Wilson, & Fonzie Malikham 75.32 lbs
8th Place – Andy Needham & Tye Needham 72.54 lbs
9th Place – Nooner Hall, Les Thompson & Trenton Thompson – 71.19 lbs
10th Place – Tim Spencer & Mickey Hammers – 71 lbs
Furthest Distance Traveled (American Upholstery) $100 went to John E. Orr who drove all the way from Elk Point, South Dakota to fish the tournament. John is the owner/operator at Cat River Anchors.
A Wyldgear Cooler was given away in the angler raffle to Wade Kaminski and Logan Tanner won $500 in a cash raffle.
“This is the third year that Twisted Cat Outdoors has been in New Madrid,” said Twisted Cat Outdoors Tournament Director Alex Nagy. “It’s a stretch of river on the Mississippi that is known for big catfish. The city of New Madrid holds an annual Fall Festival the first weekend in October and the tournament weigh-in always wraps it up on Saturday afternoon on Main Street in downtown New Madrid.”
“I have never been to a fishing tournament that draws the number of spectators that come out at New Madrid,” concluded Nagy. “They really get into the weigh-in, so it’s great to feed off the crowd as the anglers bring their fish to the scales. It was our last event for the year and the perfect place to wrap up a season. New Madrid is a city that supports the sport and the Mississippi River is a world-class fishery. This event keeps growing each year and we are highly excited to be coming back in 2021!”