Personal Best ─ Conner King
by Ron Presley
The enthusiasm of youth
Like most anglers do, 13-year-old Conner King reminisces about his personal best (PB) catfish. Also, like most catfish anglers, he looks forward to breaking it.
Conner comes from a catfish family, so it’s no mystery that he would have a passion for catfishing. His mom, Jennifer, and dad, Wayne, are long-time members of the catfishing community. The King family lives in Mr. Vernon, Indiana and the Ohio River is their main fishing destination.
“He fishes pretty much every day,” reported Jennifer. “After school on weekdays he fishes for bass, blue gill, and crappie in a pond in his backyard. On weekends, he catfishes for fun on the Ohio River with his dad.”
In fact, when it comes to his catfish knowledge, Connor looks up to his dad. “He has taught me everything I know,” said Connor.
Conner’s Personal Best
Conner’s current PB is a 50-pound blue cat that he caught when he was 11 years old. Before that his PB was 42-pounds. Both were caught on the Ohio River.
“I was fishing the Ohio River with my dad,” explained Conner. “We were dragging upriver because there was little to no current.”
He remembers his dad saying, “Oh, wow – that is a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be.” And big it was. That fish turned out to be Conner’s new PB.
“When I got back to the dock everybody was there to take pictures of my fish,” recalled Conner. “It was pretty cool. My mom, sister, grandma and my biggest fan, grandpa, were all there.”
“The River Days Festival was going on in my town,” recalled Conner. “You could hear the music from the boat because it was right on the river. A lot of people saw my fish.”
Conner put the icing on the cake by releasing the blue after taking some pictures.
“The CPR went great. It swam off just fine, thanks to our we’ll oxygenated livewell. A good livewell is a must for professional tournament catfishing fishing,” Conner advised.”
Conner knows where he would like to go to catch his next personal best. Not surprisingly, he chooses the Big Muddy.
“I would go to the Mississippi River,” offered Conner. “I would use a cut skipjack head and I would be bumping with my Blackhorse custom bumping rod.”
Conner’s enthusiasm and skills related to catfishing has also garnered some well-deserved recognition in the sport. In 2016 he earned Cabela’s King Kat Angler of the Year Award in the Youth Division.
“I was pretty ecstatic when I heard that I was Cabela’s King Kat Junior Angler of the Year,” offered Conner. “I never thought it was going to happen, but my parents knew for a while that I was getting it. But I never did.”
When asked which was better, the AOY or the PB he responded, “Catching my PB was probably cooler than getting Angler of the Year, because it is awesome to catch a big fish and to be able to see it swim away and let another person catch that same fish.”