Fish of a Lifetime Comes in King Kat Tourney on Wheeler

Big Kat at King Kat pushes 115 pounds

Carl Morris Jr. and Rob Parsons crushed the King Kat record for biggest fish ever weighed at a King Kat event. The huge 114.96-pound Wheeler Lake, Alabama beast quickly became the talk of social media and the accomplishment was shared worldwide.

Morris, from Johnstown, OH, and Parsons, from Mt. Vernon, OH, are longtime tournament partners with several championships and angler of the year awards between them. They are known on the catfish trails as hard-working professionals and always among the teams to beat. They brought a big one to the scales at a King Kat tournament out of Decatur, AL on Lake Wheeler.

catfish, Tournament, Wheeler Lake, Decatur, AL, King Kat

King Kat Photo

Their strategy on Wheeler was to spot-lock on some structure downriver near the dam. They had found some potential structure holding fish while prefishing. Their hope, as with all tournament anglers was to find “Ole Sad Daddy.”

“We spent most of our tournament day spot-locking on different structure,” reported Parsons. “We had scouted it out the previous two days. We were marking some fish, but they were not cooperating for us.”

By 2:00 pm they only had 3 fish in the boat that weighed around 45 pounds. They were sitting on their last spot when they observed a boat drifting by and catching a few fish and it encouraged them to try drifting for the rest of the day.

“We had been struggling,” offered Morris. “We were catching a few fish but the overs were just barely over and we couldn’t catch any unders.”

In an effort to make something change, Morris pulled a rod from the Monster Rod Holder and said, “Rob, I’m gonna’ move this rod to your side as it’s not fishing right the way we are sitting.” Morris had moved it around several times before. Finally, Parsons took the rod and threw it off the front hoping for a better outcome.

Having no more action they decided to spend the last hour drifting. They thought they might find a few fish along the ledge.

“It was a split moment decision,” added Parsons. “We wanted to see if we could at least put a limit on the boat. We had reeled 5 of the 6 rods in as we prepared to move.

“Rob grabbed the Fat Boy Custom Rod that he had put over on that side,” explained Morris. “He said, ‘the line is slack, it’s up front. Carl, there is a fish on here. Man, it feels like a big fish!’”

When Parsons started reeling up the slack it appeared to be snagged. Then as he continued to reel the snag started fighting back. Parsons would crank it up 10 to 15 feet then it would scream right back to the bottom.

catfish, Tournament, Wheeler Lake, Decatur, AL, King Kat

Carl Morris Jr. Photo

“Rob fought it for a while,” stated Morris. “I was laughing as I watched the image of the fish go up and down on the depth finder. I was also taking some video of him catching it.”

“After fighting the fish for what felt like forever, we started seeing bubbles,” continued Parsons. “It was only about 10 minutes, but now we were really getting excited. Carl netted the fish the best he could, considering it wouldn’t totally fit.

catfish, Tournament, Wheeler Lake, Decatur, AL, King Kat

Rob Parsons Photo

“When the bubbles came up, I knew he had a big one on,” said Morris. “I stopped videoing and grabbed the net. The fish filled the net completely and I couldn’t fold it to close him in. It took both of us to get him up and over and in the boat.”

Once the fish was in the boat Morris pulled the hook and grabbed the scale. When he lifted the fish the scale said FULL. Thinking that something was wrong Morris turned the scale off to reset it and tried again.

“It said full again,” declared Morris. “I looked at Rob as it hit me. The scales only go to 100 pounds. This fish is over 100 pounds because it goes to FULL fast!

catfish, Tournament, Wheeler Lake, Decatur, AL, King Kat

King Kat Photo

The scale they were using bottomed out. They were not going to know how much the fish weighed until they got to the weigh-in.

“We were nervous wrecks getting to weigh in,” joked Morris. “We stopped to check the fish multiple times. I was driving only 40 mph and for those who know me that never happens! We couldn’t wait to get it on the scales but we just kept quiet and waited our turn as we wanted to surprise the crowd.”

Morris and Parsons were watching the live feed when Jeremy Coe weighed Jerry and Noah Ishcomer and Stacey Gaston. They saw Gaston’s new personal best 89-pound blue come out of the livewell and be weighed.

“We looked at each other,” recalled Morris. “And said, ‘is it possible that’s another 100-pound fish? It was just two years ago when we brought in an 85-pound fish thinking we would have a shot at Big Fish. The Cooksey’s brought in an 86 and beat us by one pound. We were both thinking that would not happen again. We were happy for the Ishcomer Team, but was also happy when we heard 89 pounds.”

This is the fish we spent many hours on the water chasing,” concluded Morris. “We have always wanted to catch a triple-digit fish but 85 pounds had been the closest we have come. We have set the bar pretty high for ourselves as that will be a tough one to ever beat. But we both believe there are a few more bigger ones out there. It may be another 15 years but I bet we will both still be chasing after him!”

Congrats to all the teams that placed well,” concluded Parsons. “It took more than 100 pounds just to be in the top 10. The Ishcomers and Gaston were a deadly combination this weekend. We really didn’t know the true size of the fish. We found out at the weigh-in with the rest of the crowd. It was a once in a lifetime fish for sure!

Epilogue

The new personal best for Parsons and the new boat record for the team was good enough to place second in the tournament with only three fish of the allowed 5 in a King Kat tournament. And by all accounts, it is the lake record for Wheeler.

The near 115-pound fish broke the King Kat record for biggest fish ever weighed at a King Kat event. The huge 114.96-pound Wheeler beast contributed to a total weighed of 143.72 pounds to claim the runner-up spot in the tournament for Morris and Parsons. The team used skipjack to weigh-in 3 fish of a 5 fish limit. They had to throw a 34.5-inch fish back when they caught the big one.

catfish, Tournament, Wheeler Lake, Decatur, AL, King Kat

King Kat Photo

First place in the tournament went to Jerry and Noah Ishcomer and Stacey Gaston. The father and son from Jasper, TX teamed up with Gaston from Greenville, AL to bring 156.9 pounds to the scales and claim the tournament victory.

As another testament to the big fish in Wheeler, they weighed only 4 fish of a 5 fish limit to post the victory. One of their 4 fish was an 89.28-pound personal best for Gaston. Not bad, considering they were not sure they were even going to fish the tournament because of boat troubles the previous week.

The team competes under the name of the “Catfishing Christians.” They fished downriver from Decatur using both anchoring and drifting techniques and caught fish both ways. They used skipjack for bait targeting fish at 25 to 30 feet deep in cover.

The next King Kat Tournament presented by Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s will be March 30 at Milford, KS – Milford Lake. For complete information on the King Kat Trail, visit their website at www.kingkatusa.com.

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