Catfish anglers from several states traveled to Watts Bar at Loudon, TN for a King Kat Tournament Trail event presented by Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s. Visit Loudon County CVB hosted 20 teams that gathered to test their catfishing skills against other anglers and Mother Nature.
Anglers fishing the May 1, 2021 event were vying for $4,500 in cash and prizes, an opportunity to qualify for regional competition, and the opportunity to qualify for this year’s King Kat Classic Championship on the Red River at Natchitoches, LA, November 5-6, 2021. The Classic features a guaranteed payout of $125,000 in cash and prizes.
The competitors were greeted with a nice day to be on the river. Mild temperatures and light winds prevailed. The anglers were challenged with no current, a condition that tends to make for a tough bite. Still, the top team posted almost 100 pounds to win.
Teaming up to take the top spot were Darlene and David Hill. The team from Louisville, TN brought 99.82 pounds to the scales and earned a check for $2,200. Their bag included the second big fish of the tournament at 34.39 pounds. They caught about 15 fish on the day.
Darlene and David were fishing in Kingston where they were targeting water about 20 to 30 feet deep. David attributed the team’s success to finding active fish. The team was fishing on the rope using fresh skipjack with an emphasis on the “fresh.” They were pinning the fresh skipjack on a basic Carolina rig tied with tackle from Bottom Dwellers Tackle.
“The weather was clear and 75 degrees,” reported David. “There was no wind and no current. We fished shallow early in the morning and moved out to mid-creek after that. We then moved deep in the afternoon. We used Okuma baitrunner reels. I love the sound of a screaming reel.”
He added one final reason for the team’s success, saying, “I have the best partner, Darlene my wife.”
The runner-up spot went to James Witt and Brent & Jeremy Chase. The three-angler team brought 91.50 pounds to the scales to earn the second-place check of $1,100.
The team was also fishing in Kingston. They were targeting water in the 15 to 25 feet range. They used a combination of anchoring and dragging baits to catch about 10 to 15 fish on the day.
Samuel Cate and Chris Vittetoe teamed up to claim the third-place spot. They brought 81.93 pounds to the scales to earn a check for $800.
Cate and Vittetoe targeted 25 feet of water in the Kingston area to find their fish. They used the old reliable skipjack while fishing on the rope. They caught about 8 or 10 fish on tournament day.
The father/son team of Wade and Jordan Rose nailed the Big Kat of the tournament. The Watts Bar beast measured 42 inches long and weighed 40.31 lbs. It was just a few months ago that 14-year-old Jordan was named Junior Angler of the Year at the King Kat Classic in Milford, KS. The team was anchored in about 30 feet of water near Kingston when the big fish came to the boat. The big blue was caught on cut shad and earned the team a check for $400.
Tournament director, Willie Pranker thanked the Loudon County CVB for supporting the tournament and all the anglers for coming out to fish one of the best catfishing rivers in the country.
The 2021 Championship
This year’s King Kat Classic Championship will be held on the Red River at Natchitoches, LA, November 5-6, 2021. The Classic features a guaranteed payout of $125,000 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, Mercury Marine, Mustad Hooks, Gamma Line, Driftmaster Rod Holders, Ego Nets, EFX Graphics, Catfish Now, Fin n’ Frames, Cat River Anchors, Smooth Move Boat Seats, Power-Pole, and Lowe Boats.