Morris and Parsons win Cabela’s King Kat Tournament at Paducah,KY
Carl Morris Jr. and Rob Parsons moved from 9th place on day one to claim top honors at Paducah, KY.
Catfish anglers from thirteen states traveled to the Ohio River for a King Kat Tournament Trail Super Event presented by Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s. Thirty-four teams gathered at Paducah, KY to test their catfishing skills against other anglers and Mother Nature.
Competitors were vying for $9,875 in cash and prizes, and an opportunity to qualify for the $120,000 Classic Championship to be held November 1 and 2, 2019, on the Tennessee River (Wheeler Lake) at Decatur, Alabama.
The weather was great with temperatures in the low 80’s with light winds. The current was light but picked up some after storms rolled through on Thursday and continued through Friday morning.
A bit of drama developed at the weigh-in with the report of a big fish coming to the scales. The next to last boat to weigh did in fact have a big fish that propelled the team from ninth place on day one to the top spot after day two. The difference between first and second place was less than half a pound.
Results for the Top Catfish Teams
The top spot at Paducah went to Carl Morris Jr. from Johnstown, OH and Rob Parsons from Mt. Vernon, OH. They weighed 221.84 pounds that included Big Kat at 73.32 pounds. The team earned the first-place check of $4,400 and added the Big Kat check of $700.
Morris and Parsons fished downriver about 5 miles in the morning and 10 miles upriver in the afternoon. They were positioning themselves where they could use the wind to their advantage. They targeted 35-80 feet of water, trying different techniques. They had their best success spot-locking using skipjack for bait.
“The fishing was slow,” reported Morris. “It seemed like we caught fish in groups. We had found a group of good size fish and we sat on them both mornings. We got a 40 pounder on day one. We had another spot that has some nice unders. It was our goal to get enough weight to be in the game for day two.”
“We had close to 90 on day one,” continued Morris. “We thought we were doing okay until we saw 6 teams over 100. So, we went back to those big fish on Saturday morning and the bite was slow. Then about 8:30 Rob got the 73-pounder walking bait back into a hole. We went back to our under spot got 6 fish drifting. That was it, the bite stopped but we had a good bag for the day.”
As luck would have it the would-be first and second place teams pulled in to the ramp together. Dodd and Morris had a telling conversation while Parsons and Harkness went for the trucks and trailers.
“You get em’, “asked Dodd with a big smile.
“Yes,” replied Morris with a nod. “Did you?”
“I did,” answered Dodd. “You got 100”
“Yes,” said Morris.
“You got 120,” questioned Dodd.
“Probably,” answered Morris. “You got 120?”
Yes,” replied Dodd. “What did you have yesterday?”
At this point, the trailers showed up and ended the conversation. Both men were probably adding up in their head trying to compute the possible outcome. They wished each other good luck and headed in.
The weigh-in was really interesting because most don’t come as close as this one did. These teams are often at the top and have had close encounters before, including a three-way tie on one occasion that included Morris, Dodd, and Larry Muse. In this case at Paducah, Morris and Parsons came out on top.
So, the runner-up spot went to Jeff Dodd from Trenton, TN and Roy Harkness from Ripley, TN. The B’n’M Poles team finished less than a half-pound out of the lead. They brought 221.48 pounds to the scales to finish second and earn a check for $2,100.
Dodd and Harkness bumped a little but got most of the fish draggin’ baits. They were fishing out of Dodd’s Excel Storm Cat and targeting fish in 40-50 feet of water using skipjack for bait.
“We got there on Wednesday, but didn’t fish much before the tournament,” reported Harkness. “We were basically looking around and finding stuff that we could fish and have some confidence in, and it worked.”
“Day one we caught 8 fish,” continued Harkness. “We just fished hard and kept baits in the water without a lot of running around. Once we had our targeted 100 pounds, we started looking for a big one. The big bite never came on day one.”
“Once we got our 5 fish in the Storm Cat on day two, we went looking again. Most fish came off dragging, but we did target a big fish and spot-locked on him. We got out the new B’n’M bumping rods out and Jeff put a 54.5 in the boat.”
“It was close,” concluded Harkness. “But Carl and Rob are good buddies. If we are going to get beat, I want it to be them. Just two weeks ago we had beat them in Helena by a little more than half a pound, so they were saying payback. They always put in the time and effort to be successful, so I just give them a hug and congratulate them.”
The third spot went to the father/son team of Dale and Matthew Kerns from Norris City, IL. They brought 195.64 pounds to the scales to earn a check for $1,500.00.
Dale and Matthew fished downriver between Dam 53 and Olmstead. They landed 9 fish on day 1 and only 4 on day 2. Team Kerns took advantage of an early bite targeting 40 feet of water.
They tried several techniques during the two-day tournament. Dale said they anchored, drifted, and a little bit of everything else. The team used Asian carp for bait.
Adam Dehner and Michael Brock from Independence, KY brought 188.7 pounds to the scales to claim the fourth spot and earn a check for $ 700.00.
After a good day one that left the team in second place, they reported a shutdown on day two. They said they were looking for structure downriver from Paducah with their best luck coming on skipjack. They also reported using various techniques in search of fish. They anchored, bumped, and used every other method to catch fish.
The fifth-place spot went to Donnie Fountain from Jasper, GA and Ray Ferguson from Knoxville, TN. The team had a total weight of 174.2 pounds to earn a check for $475.00.
Fountain and Ferguson chose to fish up the Tennessee River towards KY Dam. They had 6 fish each day as they targeted structure in 20 feet of water. They used skipjack to bump on day one and drift on day two.
The Remaining Top Catfish Teams
6th Place – Ken and Tom Luttrell – 165.44
7th Place – Nathan McClain and Chris McCauley – 161.78
8th Place – Anthony Murphy and Michael Snider – 159.72
9th Place – Scott Cress and Jason Jones – 148.60
10 Place – Lonnie and Dawn Fountain – 147.56
Tournament director, Jeremy Coe thanked the Paducah CVB for hosting King Kat for the 3rd year. Their support was instrumental in making the event a success.
“We are excited to return to this great catfish fishery,” said Coe. “The fishing has just got
better and better every year! We saw great weights and some big Ohio River fish come to the scales. We always look forward to returning back to Paducah and have big plans in the future so stay tuned!”
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