Bluegrass Catfish Bash win goes to Mitchell, Mitchell, and Sexton
The Bluegrass Catfish Bash was co-directed by Matt “Catmatt” Jones and Michelle Mock Jones. The March 23, 2019 event was staged out of the Lynnhurst Family Resort in Murray, Kentucky. In addition to a great catfish tournament, the event featured a Kayak Division and a Kid’s Derby on Saturday morning.
It requires the help of a lot of volunteers to run three tournaments in one day. It was done very successfully. The events included the Kids Derby, the Kayak Division and the Boat Division. Also, the weigh-in was 100 percent on the water. The fish only left the freshwater of the boat’s livewells for 1 to 2 minutes, just long enough to be weighed and they were returned to the water.
There were 40 boats in the main event. The payout schedule was one place for every 10 boats so the top four were in the money. There was a big fish prize and also a prize for the first boat that finished out of the money. This boat received a $100 Gift Certificate from Dale’s Homemade Tackle.
Thirteen kids participated in the Kids Derby and seven kayakers compete in the Kayak Division where three places were paid. There was also a G3 Boats Bonus of $1,000 to the top finishing team in a G3. The tournament distributed a total purse of $10,000.
The days leading up to the inaugural Bluegrass Catfish Bash were characterized by prefishing in some heavy winds in the daytime and camaraderie around the campfire at night. Fortunately, those winds died down to much more fishable east winds by tournament day. Many of the competitors praised the Lynnhurst Family Resort and staff for their hospitality and for hosting the event.
When the weigh-in was over it was an Alabama team that claimed the top spot. They were fresh off a top-ten finish the previous week at Cabela’s King Kat on Wheeler. Mike Mitchell, Jackson Mitchell, and Rick Sexton kept their fishing streak alive with an awesome 160.02-pound bag that included the big fish of the tournament at 64.33 pounds. They also won the G3 Bonus.
The team started the day fishing in a creek where they had caught a 30-pound blue in practice. It was the only fish they had caught. Being only his second time on the river Mitchell used most of the day Friday to scan for places to fish. The team ended up catching 4 of their 5 weigh-in fish in a new area they found on tournament day.
“It was a struggle for real,” commented Mike. “We had zero fish up until 1:00 when we caught a 28-pound striper. You know that was not what we were looking for. Then, just minutes later a rod went down and we got a good under.”
“The clock kept moving,” said Mitchell. “Around 2:45, with about one hour left to fish, we hit the perfect spot and landed our other 4 fish. And that was the only fish we caught. We were anchored near structure and deep ledges in 45 to 55 feet of water using cut skipjack.”
“As always I would like to thank my sponsors,” concluded Mike. “Monster Rod Holders, G3 boats, Big Cat Fever, Slime Line, Blacksheep Catfish Leaders, Foley Spoons, River Rats Reel Repair, and TTI Blakemore.
We had a blast. It was a very well-run event. Thanks to CatMatt and Michelle Jones!”
Second place went to the B’n’M Poles team of Joey Pounders and Brad Box. They weighed a total of 96.56 pounds with their biggest fish weighing 52.12 pounds.
“Brad and I were running late,” reported Pounders. “We got to the Paris Boat Landing about 2 pm Friday. We spent about 3 hours scanning on that portion of Kentucky Lake. The result was only 3 or 4 spots that we marked to fish.”
“The next day we decided to go blind and fish further south around Camden, TN,” continued Pounders. “I liked it because it was more river-size and the contour lines were closer to the bank. We ended up catching our fish in the eddies and dead water.”
“The weather was cold that morning but sunny all day,” concluded Pounders. “There was a lot of wind on Friday which was also a reason for us going to the river. I don’t like fishing in waves because flatheads sometimes have the softest bites and it’s hard to see that in rough water. The current was pretty swift in the river but that helped us locate fish in the calmer water. Brad stuck the 53-pounder in 9 feet of water. We used skipjack and live shad for bait. The best bite was off skipjack chunks.”
Ricky Eiselt and Rob Benningfield claimed the third-place spot with 87.09 pounds. Their big fish was 38.68 pounds.
The final team in the money was Jason Jackson and Frank Kastl. Team Jackson/Kastl brought 71.27 pounds to the scales. Their big fish weighed 24.97 pounds.
The first team out of the money (fifth place) was Pete Moreland, Daniel Stroud, and Randy Templeton. They brought in 67.68 pounds with a big fish of 21.39 pounds. They won the Dale’s Tackle Bonus.
First place – Denny Ransom – 51.80-pounds, BF 28.40
Second place – Spencer Bauer – 36.30-pounds, BF 13.24
Third Place – John Shimburski – 8.62-pounds, BF 4.98
“The Bluegrass Catfish Bash turned out to be exactly what we were hoping for,” stated Michelle Jones. “There were lots of campfires, lots of laughter, lots of fun, lots of food, and lots of fishing. Every bed was full in the whole resort. Overall, we feel like we accomplished everything we were shooting for.”
“We couldn’t have hoped for more from the Bluegrass Catfish Bash,” Concluded Michelle. “We are already excited and planning for the second edition in 2020. We want to thank Lynnhurst Family Resort, Backwoods Brock and the Adventures of the A-team, Jody Harrison and the Fishlife crew, and all the children, families, and anglers for being here. Also, a special thanks to all our vendors and sponsors that helped make the Bluegrass Catfish Bash a huge success.”