Chris and Kyli Baldwin take CatMasters at PK for the second time.
In its fourth year, The CatMasters at Possum Kingdom remains one of the highest paying catfish events in the nation. Admittedly not a big catfish lake, but the winner will take home a check for $30,000. This year’s event attracted nearly 130 catfish teams from all over the nation to Possum Kingdom Lake for a two-day tournament.
Each team could be up to three anglers. Participating anglers could fish all of Possum Kingdom Lake with a river boundary of the Bunger Bridge at FM Road 1287. High winds and warm temperatures proceeded the tournament but a cold front moved in and many anglers blamed the front for a tough bite on day one.
At the end of day one Chris and Kyli Baldwin took the lead with a weight of 44.74 pounds. Chris and Kyli won the tournament in 2018, finished 3rd in 2019, and the stage was set for day two.
The winds continued on day two and a large bass tournament added hundreds of boats to the lake making boat control and navigation difficult for the anglers. Some reported getting blown off anchor and having to find someplace to hide out of the wind. By most accounts, the fish were very scattered and 5 fish limits were hard to come by.
Both tournament days both proved to be tough fishing. Possum Kingdom is known for feast or famine catfishing and can change from one to the other pretty quickly. Success required anglers to be extremely patient, wait for the bites, and cull through the smaller fish.
Chris and Kyli Baldwin demonstrated their catfishing skills by winning their second CatMasters championship at the 2020 event on Possum Kingdom Lake. The Oklahoma team brought 108.97 pounds to the scales to earn a check for $30,000. Kyli was also named as the top Finishing Female Angler and Chris bought himself in the Calcutta.
Chris and Kyli arrived at Possum Kingdom a week before the tournament. They were on a mission to break down the lake and form a strategy. An overriding factor was the weather. The air and water temperatures were much warmer than the year before and they expected a completely different bite. In fact, they struggled all week in prefishing, not catching a single blue over 7 pounds. They did find one school of 5 pounders on one of the cooler mornings.
“After crossing off dead water all week we decided that the best thing to do was to weed through the smaller fish and just hope for the best,” revealed Chris. “Little did we know, there were bigger fish nearby. The next thing we knew the 5 pounders turned into 10 pounders and things were looking up.”
After being in the lead on day one with such a small stringer they realized that fishing was just that tough for everyone. They started day two hoping that the 10-pound fish they were catching would still be there.
“On day two we were an hour in with only two 4-pound fish,” reported Chris. “Then the teenage fish moved in. We were fishing on Spot-Lock using fresh cut and live shad. We put some baits on the bottom and some suspended. We couldn’t believe what was happening.”
“We already had a 1st place in 2018 and 3rd place in 2019,” recalled Chris. “We felt like the odds were against us to pull off another win!”
“It was some of the toughest fishing we had ever experienced on that lake,” concluded Chris. “We have learned over time to never give up and that miracles really do happen. We had very little to work with but went out and fished our hearts out for the win.”
The runner-up spot went to Kevin Parks (Parks Planer Boards) and Ryan Gnagy. The team from Kansas weighed a two-day total of 107.49 pounds to claim second place honors just 1.48 pounds out of the lead. They earned a check for $6,000 as they held on to their second-place position from day one.
“We had a game plane going down there and we stuck to it,” said Gnagy in a Facebook post. “And it paid off! I would like to congratulate all the teams that placed in it as it can be a tough place to fish. I’d especially like to congratulate Chris Baldwin and Kyli Baldwin on yet another awesome win down there…. they are very hard to beat! They got us by a little over 1lb in a 2-day event…. both teams were sweating the finals.”
Sky Brock and Erin Brock are not new to Possum Kingdom. This was their 4th time competing at The CatMasters. The Texas team completed the tournament with a two-day total weight of 51.77 pounds. They held on to their third-place finish on day one and earned a check for $5,000.
“I finally held my tongue just right,” joked Sky Brock. “A hard front came through on Thursday. That front gave us a NNE wind on Friday, which wasn’t too bad. Saturday, we had a complete 180-degree change. The strong south wind made the lake very rough and the fishing tough.”
Team Brock had their best bag on day one. They put a 21-pound blue in the livewell. They lost one good fish and landed three more to give them a total of 29.78 pounds. It was good enough for third place on day one.
“Day two was tougher for us,” Sky said. “There was a hard wind on Saturday and a 200-boat bass tournament, so there was a ton of boat traffic. We fished south of the weigh-in and only brought in three fish for 21.99 pounds. It wasn’t easy fishing but patience is a virtue.”
Sky and Erin suspended Warrior Cat Rods on both days with Carolina rigs over rocks and bait that was moving in and out of the area. They were targeting water that ranged from 30 to 50 feet deep. Keeping fresh shad on was a must according to Sky.
“This lake can bring the greatest of catfishermen down to their knees,” concluded Sky. “It will make them ask themselves if they even know what they’re doing anymore. PK is the toughest lake I’ve ever fished and it changes every year as far as where the fish are going to be. My recommendation would be not to wear your feelings on your shoulders. Put your pride aside and just enjoy the scenery and conversations with all of the great people who travel from all over the country to PK for the love of catfishing.”
Remaining Top Ten
4th Place – Mick Petree & Smoky Brown, TX – 48.10
5th Place – Daniel Armstrong & Amber Armstrong, TX – 45.68
6th Place – Edward Miller, Troy Armstrong & Doreen Smith, OK – 42.61
7th Place – Michael Gordon & Kimberly Turner, TX – 41.34
8th Place – Lonnie Fountain, Dawn Fountain & John Tinsley, GA – 37.64
9th Place – Randy and Tanya Bane, TX – 37.10
10th Place – Kennith Holmes, Timothy Cline & Drake Holmes, TX – 36.98
Big Fish Tuesday – Michael Reed, Aaron Hagan, Bryan Scarborough – 17.5
Big Fish Wednesday – Greg Pavur and Sandra Pavur – 12.49
Big Fish Thursday – Mark McCoy and Craig Dillard – 14.04
Youth Angler – Drake Holmes fishing with Kennith Holmes and Timothy ClineTop Finishing Female Angler Kyli Baldwin fishing with Chris Baldwin
Day One Big Fish – Louis Parker & Brad Doyle
Veteran Big Fish – Brad Doyle
Day Two & Overall Big Fish – Edward Miller, Troy Armstrong & Doren Smith
US Army veteran and 18-year pro rodeo clown, Dewayne Morris, kept things lively as he emceed The CatMasters at PK weigh-in. The Weatherford, TX resident is completing his second year with The CatMasters and is pleased with what he has found. He summarized his observations following the tournament.
“I knew little about competitive catfishing prior to last year,” offered Morris. “When I did take a look into the catfishing world, I was blown away at what The CatMasters had achieved in such a short time.”
“The payouts are well above average and the production efforts are outstanding,” continued Morris. “Still in its growing stages, I believe that The CatMasters will be the industry leader in catfishing tournaments across the country very soon.”
“It’s not hard to put your name behind an organization like that,” concluded Morris. “I have found the staff and the leadership to be honest, hardworking, and great to be around, and the anglers are skilled and friendly.”
Tournament director, Bryan St. Ama offered praise for the volunteer staff, the sponsors, and the anglers saying, “We could not do it without the support of a lot of people. I want to thank them all and invite you to visit our website to see exactly who they are. You can also check out future event dates, information on the points race, and other relevant information.”
Editor’s Note: The next CatMasters event will be held on Grand Lake of the Cherokees in Oklahoma. Registration is now open for the December 10-11, 2020 tournament at Grove, OK.