7/20/2019 (Sidney, MT) – With near perfect weather and stable to slightly dropping water in the forecast, anglers could only hope that the fish would cooperate for the 11th Annual Monster Cat Roundup in Sidney this past Saturday. Fisherman knew it would still prove to be difficult, however. As is customary at the "Roundup", Channel Catfish were in the middle to nearing the end of their spawn and water temperatures were hovering in the upper 70's. This traditionally causes fish to become a bit "tight-lipped" and makes the anglers take extra precaution with each of their individual catches. A good working live-well aerator on the boat or in a large cooler becomes essential to every team. Anglers also introduce fresh water at every stop and can be seen introducing ice and frozen water bottles to their water storage system throughout the day. All of this with the intent of weighing in five healthy fish at the end of the day and returning them all safely to the water at the conclusion of weigh-ins.
Shortly after 5 AM Saturday morning the first anglers began showing up for boat inspections performed by our Montana Cats Staff. Over the next 90 minutes each and every boat was safely unloaded into the water. As the 7 AM takeoff approached, anticipation grew. This year's tourney field featured 48 jet boats and only 6 shore teams. The "shot gun" start began at 7 AM with each of the five flights released just minutes apart from each other. Teams headed North, teams headed South, teams headed by water, teams headed by land. All fifty four teams dreaming of big cats and lots of them and only eight short hours to find them!
It was a beautiful day with highs around 80 and a 5-10 mph. breeze. As teams began showing up around 2:00 PM for weigh-ins, It seemed the story of the day appeared to be very tough fishing. There was one team, however, that showed up at 2:00 PM where the story proved quite the opposite. The team of Chase Hagler, Savage, MT., and Garett Leuenberger, Sidney, MT., had called tournament staff at 10:00 AM to see if they could weigh-in early that day and were beyond excited to be somewhere in the "26-27 lb. range". Montana Cats Circuit rules do not allow for early weigh-ins and the anglers were told to stay fishing or return for a 3:00 PM Weigh-in. This proved to be the best advice they could get as they continued to upgrade throughout the day, culling out four of those five tournament fish and when it was all said and done they racked up 38.25 lbs. The second largest weight in the 11-year history of the event. A mere .11 lbs. off the tournament record set by the Wise Guys out of Billings way back in 2013. One of the most impressive accomplishments of the day for the championship squad was weighing in three fish over nine pounds. Hagler and Leuenberger became the first tournament team in Montana Cats Circuit history to weigh-in both the largest and second largest fish on the same tournament day. Chase's 9.68 pounder would win big fish honors, while Garett's 9.38 pounder was just as impressive. Chase also brought a 9.27 to the scales.
In Second place were tourney veterans and 2017 Champs, Rod Seder, Billings, MT., and Rob Seder, Hardin, MT., with a superb weight of 30.58 lbs. This is the third consecutive top five finish for the Seder's at the Monster Cat Roundup. Finishing in a very close third place was the Glendive duo of Cole Plouffe and his teammate Brett Burman with an outstanding weight of 29.53 lbs. It's a 2nd consecutive top 10 finish at the Roundup for Plouffe. Plouffe was also a 3rd place finisher at the Milk River Catfish Classic back in June and he now finds himself tied atop the 2019 MT Cats Angler of the Year Standings with only one event remaining. Fourth place went to the father/son team of Josh Marottek, Medicine Lake, MT., and Charles Marottek, Poplar, MT. These guys have worked their way up the leaderboard every year and now have their best finish ever at the Roundup with a weight of 25.93 lbs. Rounding out the top 5 was another one of our 12 Billings area teams this year. The tourney veterans of Corey Bushman and Scott Swanson ended the day with an impressive 25.67 lbs.
At the end of the day, eleven teams weighed in 20+ pounds, the third most 20 lb. baskets in tournament history. 48 of the 54 teams brought fish to the scales, proving that the Yellowstone Channel Cat population is indeed alive and well. We are excited about the future of this event and look forward to filling the 60-team field in 2020. Make sure to mark your calendars for the 12th Annual Monster Cat Roundup to be held back in Sidney on Saturday, July 18th, 2020. In the meantime, it is time to get geared up for the final leg of the 2019 Montana Cats Circuit. The 9th Annual Missouri River Catfish Clash is coming to Williston, North Dakota next month. The culminating event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 17th at a ramp site to be determined by Missouri River water levels. The all-important Angler of the Year is sure to be determined at the Clash. Cole Plouffe, Glendive, MT., and last year's AOY, Jason Flaten, West Wendover, NV. are currently tied with 46 points. That doesn't it mean it stops there as seven different anglers have 40+ AOY points heading into final battle of the season. It is going to be an epic finish that you will not want to miss. See you ALL in Williston!
Please enjoy the pictures from the event and the complete finals results from this past weekend below.
Pictures for this event can be found here.
|Chase Hagler||9.68 lbs.||Big Fish Award|
|Chase Hagler||9.38 lbs.||2nd Biggest Fish Award|
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