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My 1st. Catfish Tornament

This Aug 17th. I flew up to Winnipeg Manitoba to be in my first catfish tornament. This is Cats On the Red Catfish Classic at Lockport Manitoba. My partner Frank is from Winnipeg and is a fishing guide in Manitoba. He has fished this section of the Red River many times and I have some experiece from my 4 trips there over the years. Some of the baits we plan to use are Goldeye, Shrimp, chicken livers. A special bait this time of year up there is leopard frogs, Cats just hit them hard. Either you hook the cat or he has cleaned the hook in flash.

Thursday And friday we prefished the section of the river included in the tournament. On Thursday I caught 2 cats over 20lbs each. On friday Frank caught 2 cats and I got 1 not as big as we got on thrusday afternoon. We did decide where we were going to fish on the first day of the tournament. I had a lot of nervous energy that made sleeping friday night harder than usual.

Saturday morning Frank and I were surprised by how the river had dropped over night. That made loading our car top 12ft boat much harder. We had to walk over about 20ft of slippery rock to reach the water. Once we got the boat underway we motored up to the launch site about 1/2 mile up river. In a way we did not have to deal with the traffic jam of guys launching thier boats at the ramp. All togther there were 72 boats entered in the tournament. We were no.15 on the 1st. day to start off. We got to our spot without any problem and no one was even close to us. About 20 boats picked the dam area as thier spot.

You have to decide if you want to weigh the fish you catch right away or you have to release it. They had 6 boats with digital scales to weigh you catch and give you a writtren statement of the offical weight. We had a berkly 50lb. digital scale which we used to determine if we wanted the fished weighed or not. The problem is there was a variance between our scale and the offical scales that came up 1 lb lighter than our scale. Frank had the hot hand again getting 3 cats just over 20lb average. The cats were really bitting very slow only 3bites in 6 hours. I got the of the day. It only weighed 12.5 lbs. We decided since the fish were bitting so slow best not gamble in throwing away. WE did get it weighed and end the 1st day with 4 fish total offical weight of around 73 lbs.

Sunday morning it was raining when we started out to put our boat in the river. The river was still very low with all the rocks being wet made loading the boat tricky. We were the 20th boat to go at the start and lucked out for no one got to our spot ahead of us. The rain turned into a fine mist and then just stopped for the day. The clouds hung low but no wind made it not bad at all. The fish seemed to be in a feeding mood which made thing much more exciting for us. Frank once again had the most action, but I got sore arms fighting a few cats. Since the cats were bitting so well we became more selective as which fished we weighed in. Once again we got our 4 fish by around 1:30 p.m.

When we got to the award dinner that night we had no idea of where we stood. We did know we had gotten the 8 fish limit with a total weight of 152.6. As it came about we got, which was a real bonus far as I was concerned. If the tournament is held next year I am looking forward to spending more time with Frank wetting our lines for those big cats.


UPDATED 04-14-02