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2019 Tournament Results

Location:Cabela's King Kat Classic: Decatur, AL - Tennessee River (Wheeler Lake)
Date:11/01/19 - 11/02/19

Team Bodine wins King Kat Classic on Wheeler
(Wayne and Travis Bodine moved up from 3rd place on day one to claim top honors at Decatur, AL. )

Louisville, KY – November 4, 2019 – Catfish anglers from 21 states traveled to the Tennessee River for the King Kat Tournament Trail Classic presented by Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s. One hundred and ten teams gathered at Decatur, AL to test their catfishing skills against other anglers and Mother Nature.

Prefishing on Wheeler and Wilson Lakes progressively worsened as the Classic neared. Temperatures had held from lows in the 60s to highs in the low 70s for a couple of days preceding the tournament. Rain moved in and temperatures began to fall. From about 1:00 am on Thursday morning until midnight the air temps dropped from 72 to 42 degrees and winds had reached as high as 19 miles per hour. Anglers started day-one fishing at below freezing temperatures and winds that pushed the chill factor lower. Day two was similar but warmed into the mid-60s.

Pre-fishing produced some good fish. One angler reported a 100-pound-plus fish a couple of days before the tournament began. The good fishing gave anglers optimism as they began the two-day event on November 1st and 2nd. Competitors were vying for $126,340.00 in cash and prizes.

Results for the Top Catfish Teams

First place at the Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s King Kat Classic in Decatur, AL went to the father/son team of Wayne and Travis Bodine. They fished their way from the third spot on day one to the top spot when the tourney ended. They weighed a two-day total of 268.30 pounds to earn a fully rigged Excel StormCat 230 boat package.

The boat includes a 250 Mercury 4-stroke, Helix 10 SI DI, MinnKota Ulterra 36v 112lb thrust, Driftmaster rod rack, Full set of B’n’M Poles, 35-gallon X-Treme bait tank, Xtreme oxygen box, Xtreme cutting board, and WavePro air ride seat pedestal. They added the $500 Decatur Morgan County Tourism lodging bonus for staying in a Decatur/Morgan County hotel. Team also finished the points race in second place to add another $4,000.

The Bardstown, KY team had not fished Wheeler since the King Kat tournament in March when they did not put a fish in the boat. Wayne set up on Thursday and got to do some scanning for about an hour and a half before the weather got rough and ran him off. The team had planned to get in the boat and do some more scanning after Travis arrived, but decided to give it up and go with what hey had marked.

“Day one we went upriver,” reported Wayne. “About everyone else went downriver so we went up about 20 miles to avoid the crowd and fished our way back to Decatur. We anchored all day on all types of structure—rocks, trees, anything we could find on a ledge and mark. Then we would go back and anchor up on it.”

“We anchored the old-style way,” continued Wayne. “We threw a box anchor that weighs 40 or 50 pounds. We just kept moving all day. We covered a lot of water.”

“Catfish tend to group by size and you can catch overs or unders on a spot,” instructed Wayne. “But we did not find big groups of fish. It was a big area that we fished. We probably covered 20 miles of river. There were no spots where we caught multiple fish.”

The team threw back a 49-pound flathead because they had blues that weighed 57 and 52 pounds. They had their overs but couldn’t catch the unders they needed on day one.

“I think we had six fish and weighed in four,” said Wayne. “Most of the fish came from 25 to 35 feet of water. We did catch one in 45 feet but that was the only fish that came out of deep water.”

“Wheeler has deep and shallow water,” continued Wayne. “But the depth of water had nothing to do with where we caught our fish. It was all about the structure.”

On the second day the transducer fell off the boat and left the Bodine team without sonar.

“I think it worked to our advantage,” advised Wayne. “Because all we had was our waypoints. We just hopped from waypoint to waypoint on the second day and it worked out. We fished five or six of the same spots we caught fish on Friday and picked up some on spots we did not catch fish on before.“

“Wheeler is a great fishing lake,” added Travis. “We caught a lot of good fish this week and competed against some of the best anglers in the country. The best part was throwing back those overs. We don’t get to do that much at home.”

“I think we had a total of nine fish on Saturday,” concluded Wayne. “So, we were able to weigh a limit. We threw back a 47, a 33, and some smaller fish. We decided to go with the spots we had and hope it would work out. We needed a lot of luck and we got it. We got lucky, that’s the bottom line.”

The runner up spot went to Dale and Mathew Kerns. After leading day one, with 133.95 pounds, the Norris City, IL team finished with a two-day bag of 248.85 pounds that included Big Fish of the tournament at 72.15 pounds. Second place earned them a check for $6,000 and they added $2,200 for Big Fish. Dale and his partner Greg Edwards were the points National Points Champions on the year to earn another check for $10,000.

“Friday morning started with a bang on Wilson,” reported Dale. “We anchored up and by 6:45 we were landing our first fish. We guessed it to be about 60 pounds. Then at 7:15 a rod straightened out and the line was going out. I reeled up the other three rods and the chase was on. Twenty minutes later we landed a second big fish that we guessed to be around 80 pounds. We were off to a good start.”

The fish they estimated at 80 turned out to be the 72.15 Big Fish of the Tourney. Earlier in the week, Dale had caught a fish that he estimated at over 100 pounds in the same spot. So, they decided to move on in search of smaller fish.

“To our surprise we didn't get a decent bite the rest of day,” recalled Dale. “The only exception was a two pounder. We knew that weighing only three fish would haunt us on the final results.”

Team Kerns started in the same area on day two, but no big fish. They decided to do something different and headed for the dam on Wilson.

“We ended up suspending in 90-foot water,” concluded Kerns. “We managed to catch 12 fish but it was not enough to secure the win. We had a good year and fortunate to have fished with some great folks. I want to extend a big thanks to Jeremy Coe and everyone involved with the King Kat Trail.”

The third-place spot went to Jason Shaw from Hallsville, MO and Kevin Woolfolk from Pierce City, MO. They teamed up to bring 240.75 pounds to the scales and earn a check for $ 4,500.00

Shaw and Woolfolk fished on the lower end of Wheeler Lake. They fished on the rope both days, mentioning that the day-one weather made for tough fishing. They used skipjack in 30-foot water to land about 30 fish for the two-day tournament.

Local anglers Josh Williams and Warren Simmons from Rogersville, AL weighed 239.25 pounds to earn the fourth-place check for $3,500.00.

Williams and Simmons fished out of a new StormCat 230 below Wilson Dam. They used the technique of back bumping below the dam in current. They were targeting fish in 12 feet of water after using sidescan imaging to locate them. Williams and Simmons had 16 fish in two days of fishing. They used skipjack and shrimp to tempt their cats.

Joe Westbrook and Demetria Westbrook from Chandlerville, IL rounded out the top five with a two-day weight of 223 pounds. They earned a check for $2,500.00 for their fifth-place finish.

Joe and Demetria fished Wheeler Lake below the power plant. Their strategy was not to catch a lot of fish but focus on quality fish. They drifted both days targeting 10-22 feet of water. They caught fish all day, stating that the fish were hanging tight to the bottom.

Team Westbrook used skipjack for bait. They responded to the cold front by downsizing their baits, reportedly helping the bite. They said they were excited to compete against the best catfish anglers in the country.

Other Awards

Chris Grose from Greenwood, WV, was awarded a $500 Gift Card as Junior Angler of the year. He fished all year with his dad Mike and finished 6th in the National Points Race.

A second Decatur Morgan County Tourism lodging bonus of $500.00 for staying in a local hotel went to the B’n’M Poles team of Michael Haney and Rodney Crimm in a random drawing from all competing anglers.

The Remaining Top Twenty Catfish Teams

The 2019 Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s King Kat Classic paid the top twenty finishers:

6th $1,500 Mike Carpenter and Brian Ellison

7th $1,200 Josh and Zed Moore

8th $1,100 Terohn Heinrich and Shane Hill

9th $1,000 Mike and Jackson Mitchell, Rick Sexton

10th $1,000 Carl Morris and Rob Parsons

11th $1,000 Bradley Williams and Ray Waldrop

12th $900 Mark Farrow and Joe Ludtke

13th $800 Casey Tutorow and Andrew Han

14th $750 Daniel Bell and Bill Duncan

15th $750 Ron Goucher and Aaron Churchwell

16th $650 Bass Pro Cabela’s Gift Card Josh Smith and Brandon Kennedy

17th $650 Bass Pro Cabela’s Gift Card David Shipman and Brett Nash

18th $600 Bass Pro Cabela’s Gift Card Trevor Nederhoff and Josh Brown

19th $600 Bass Pro Cabela’s Gift Card Travis Hunter and Jeremy Ransom

20th $600 Bass Pro Cabela’s Gift Card Jerry, Nikki, and Hannah Ishcomer

The National Points Championship

The 2019 Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s King Kat Tournament Trail paid the top twenty teams in the National Points race:

1st Points $10,000 Dale Kerns and Greg Edwards

2nd Points $4,000 Wayne and Travis Bodine

3rd Points $2,000 Carl Morris and Rob Parsons

4th Points $1,800 Anthony Murphy and Michael Snyder

5th Points $1,700 Mike and Jackson Mitchell, Rick Sexton

6th Points $1,400 Chris and Mike Grose

7th Points $1,200 Justin Cook and Gary Ryan

8th Points $1,100 Jerry Ishcomer and Noah Ishcomer

9th Points $1,000 Will and Russell Sylvester

10th Points $900 Sam Brooks and John Raines

11th Points $800 Casey Tutorow and Andrew Han

12th Points $700 Lonnie and Dawn Fountain

13th Points $600 Willie Smith and Nick Anderson

14th Points $550 Donnie Fountain and Ray Ferguson

15th Points $500 James Wesney and Craig Shirey

16th Points $450 Josh and Zed Moore

17th Points $400 Ron Goucher and Aaron Churchwell

18th Points $350 Tom Petrowski and Henry Neafus

19th Points $300 Tyler Sapp and Phillip Johnson

20th Points $250 Jim Page and Richard Tucker

Epilogue

Tournament director, Jeremy Coe sent a special thank you to the Decatur Morgan County Tourism office for making the Classic an awesome event. He also thanked the Park and Recreation Department for working behind the scenes to make everything work smoothly.

“Thanks to the sponsors who attended,” said Coe. “Kiolbassa Meats for feeding everyone all three days; Excel Boats for working extremely hard to provide the beautiful StormCat 230 in time for the Classic; and WavePro for showing off a great product and making the Classic hot seats something special.”

"WOW! That’s all I have to say about this Classic,” concluded Coe. “We weighed in 105 boats on day one with the top 25 boats weighing more than 100 pounds of Wheeler Lake catfish. The top 40 teams weighed more than 90 pounds. If that doesn’t speak to how tremendous this fishery is then I don’t know what will. Wheeler and Wilson Lakes are truly the top catfish destinations in the country. Congrats to all 110 team for making the Classic a great tournament. We always look forward to returning to Decatur."

National Sponsors

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, Xtreme Bait Systems, Clear Boards, EFX Graphics, Catfish Now, Fin n’ Frames, WavePro, and Crown Trophy

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