Central Texas Catfish Trail holds Benefit Tournament for Mike Padgett
Catfish community gathers for one of their own
by Lisa Hill
Mike Padgett, from Moffat TX, is considered a pioneer in rod and reel catfishing by many members of the Central Texas Catfish Trail. The catfish community came together in his honor and for his benefit on Belton Lake. The event was the Central Texas Catfish Trail Mike Padgett Benefit Catfish Tournament.
Anglers gathered at the Crawfish Express on Friday night June 8th for registration and a rules meeting before fishing began at 7:30 pm the same night. Anglers fished through the night with final check-in scheduled for 7:30 am on Saturday morning at the North Point Yacht Club.
All fish over 10 pounds were released. Anglers were requested to donate all fish under 10 pounds for a future fish fry that would raise additional funds for Padgett.
A total of 23 teams registered from the Central Texas area with one goal in mind. The aim of the tournament was to help Mike Padgett, who was diagnosed with colon cancer 4.5 years ago. The Central Texas Catfish Trail was able to raise about 10,000 which included prize winnings given back, donations, shirt orders, and a 50/50 drawing. Proceeds from the event went to help defray medical costs for Padgett.
Jerry Dillard has a personal story to tell about his friend and mentor, Mike Padgett.
“I seriously think he was catching blues before anyone else around here knew they existed in Belton Lake,” began Dillard. “He is one of the nicest and most helpful guys you will ever meet. Mike was the first to introduce me to catfishing with rod and reel over 10 years ago. Before his sickness, he was employed at Wilsonart here in Temple where my mom worked too. Every year Wilsonart had a fundraiser for the United Way Foundation and Mike would give a fishing trip to the person that donated the most to United Way.”
“One year my Mom won the trip and Mike Padgett took my dad, my younger brother, and myself to Lake Tawakoni,” continued Dillard. “That was how I got introduced to catfishing with rod and reel. Many of the other guys in our area got started in a similar way by Mike Padgett taking them out fishing. He did it from the kindness of his heart.”
“Over the years I’ve learned a lot from talking and fishing with Mike,” concluded Dillard. “And I know a lot of the guys that fish the Central Texas Catfish Trail would say the same. That is why we decided to put this tournament together. We wanted to give back a small amount for a guy in need. A guy who has done so much for all of us.”
1st Place – Team Tight Lines – $1,100 – Greg Callaway, Denise Callaway, Jonathan Watts
2nd Place – Team Pickett – $600 – Duke Pickett and Levi Pickett
Big Fish – Team Pickett – $250
3rd Place – Team Huffington & Martin – $300 – James Heffington and Gary Martin
4th Place – Team CamoCattin – $200 – Randy Bane, Mike Padgett and “Stick”
Smallest Fish – Team We Try – $100 – Timmy Saxon and Chris Rose
For more information on the Central Texas Catfish Trail visit their Facebook page.