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Team MT Cats Compete at Cabelas King Kat

Team MT Cats Compete at Cabelas King Kat

August 25, 2012 by MT Cats Staff

Burwell, NE 8/25/12 – The largest and most recognized catfish circuit in the country finally found it’s way to within Nebraska borders. Cabelas answered the call from many of the regions top anglers that have been clamoring for a shot at a championship event against some of the nations best and a chance to qualify for the famous Cabelas King Kat Classic held at the end of every September. The event was held at the renowned Calamus Reservoir in Northeast Nebraska, home to some of the biggest channel cats in the world, and it simply did not disappoint. Much to the pleasure of Cabelas and the Burwell, Nebraska chamber of commerce the leader board showcased just why it was a sought after location for such an event.

Thirty-five high profile teams, from eight different states, flocked to the rural area reservoir. Lincoln, Nebraska anglers, Josh Koll and Mat Helm, turned in one of the best Channel Catfish limits ever seen on the Cabelas King Kat circuit. The amazing basket tipped the scales at 118.75 lbs. An astonishing 23.75 lb. average. For their efforts they received a check for $2,500 and a guaranteed spot in the Cabelas King Kat Classic. The veteran tournament squad used an unconventional approach on the waters of Calamus, choosing to anchor up in fourteen to seventeen feet with cut shad and creek chubs. It paid off in a big way. The rest of the top five all chose to use the ever-popular drift fishing method. Taking runner-up honors were Kansas natives, David Studebaker and Rich Witt. Their five fish limit was impressive in its own right; coming in at 79.75 lbs. Rounding out the top three was Cory Muhlbach of Shelton, Nebraska and Craig Stephens of Riverdale, Nebraska with 75.4 lbs.. Craig is an experienced Nebraska Circuit angler and the president of Central Nebraska Cats.

Montana Cats was well represented by Jason Flaten of Gillette, Wyoming and Chad Dawson of Dickinson, ND. Fishing in their first ever King Kats event, they found themselves just outside the top five. Finishing in 6th place with 55 lbs., less than four lbs. out of 4th place. The top 20 teams automatically qualified for the King Kat Classic, so there outstanding finish more than got that job done. Following the weekend of events, Cabelas was so impressed with the body of water and the limits that hit the scales that they already marked a return trip for next year on August 24th, 2013. Results such as these and quality team numbers are beginning to move the circuit northwest. In 2013, Cabelas will make stops in Burwell, Nebraska, South Sioux City, Nebraska, and Grand Forks, North Dakota. News like that is certainly exciting for the competitive catfish angler in this part of the country! Please enjoy the top six results from Calamus below.

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Muellers, Verhaselt Break Savage Record

Muellers, Verhaselt Break Savage Record

June 09, 2012 by MT Cats Staff

Savage, MT 6/9/12 – The 9th Annual Savage Volunteer Fire Dept. Catfish Tournament is officially in the books and this years leader board truly tells the tale. In a year where records seem to be falling left and right on the Montana Cats Tour, the Savage tournament proved to be no different. Never before had so much weight been brought to the scales. Once again anglers were only able to weigh-in their five biggest slot fish, as only 12″ to 18″ cats count towards your final tally. Anytime you can land over five pounds it is a very successful day on the water and anything near six and you very well could be looking at a championship. This year it took nearly six pounds just to squeak into the top six and take home some prize money.

Local anglers, Chad Mueller, Brady Mueller, and Justin Verhaselt would rise above the rest and turn in a new tournament record, 7.83 lbs, besting the previous mark set by Brenner, Brady, and Jason Flaten in 2006 at 7.74 lbs. The trio pointed to the use of chicken livers and targeting current seems as their keys to the championship. Brady and Chad are some of Montana’s most accomplished catfish tourney anglers and were excited to sit atop the mountain after many years of knocking on the door. Brady has a runner-up finish at the Monster Cat Roundup in 2010, a 12th place finish in last years Milk River Catfish Classic, and a top-five finish at last years Inaugural Missouri River Catfish Clash, while Chad is a two-time runner up at Sidney’s Monster Cat Roundup in 2009 and 2011. A well deserved title indeed.

Taking runner-up honors was the tournament veteran crew of Brenner Flaten, Chad Dawson, and Cade Flaten. Finishing well off the pace, they weighed in a five catfish limit at 6.50 lbs. The three anglers felt fortunate after the events culmination, as they did not have a single slot fish in the boat before noon. Rounding out the top three was another local squad: Don Mastvelten, Kirk Sanders, and Donny Dillman. They pushed for 2nd place honors, coming up just short with 6.45 lbs. Despite not be able to weigh-in a slot fish, Brandon Mueller was able to bring even more success to the Mueller family this past weekend. Brandon cashed-in on the tournaments big fish pot when he weighed in a 14.435 lb. Yellowstone trophy. It is one of the bigger fish ever weighed in at the Savage tournament and Brandon’s personal best after many years of chasing kitties in the Sidney area. Congrats on a fantastic catch Brandon!

There are a few things that you can always count on when it comes to fishing. A great time in Savage, Montana on the second weekend of every June is one of them certainties. The folks with the Savage Volunteer Fire Dept. are first class and put on a top shelf event year in and year out. If you are an avid tournament angler and would like the challenge of targeting “slot fish” for a change, it is time to start making your plans. We can assure you it will not disappoint. Anglers who have fished the tournament the previous year always have the first chance at registration, so if you are new to the party, do not wait long as it fills its 60-team field very quick. Come and enjoy an incredible calcutta that you have to see to believe and enjoy a farm-raised catfish feed after a long day on the water. Please enjoy the top six results from this past weekend’s event below.

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Records Smashed at Lake Mac

Records Smashed at Lake Mac

May 05, 2012 by MT Cats Staff

Lewellen, NE 5/5/12 – The water is back up on Lake McConaughy and it seems to only be benefitting the area catfish population. When the catfish are active, the annual Nebraska Catfish Classic held on Lake Mac and the North Platte River is tough to beat. The 15th Annual took place this past weekend, headquartered once again out of the Oregon Trail Trading Post in Lewellen, Nebraska. Darrell and the crew kicked off the weekend with a free fisherman’s feed, followed by the Calcutta and social on Friday night. The weather cooperated with sunny skies opening up to provide an 80-degree day for all to enjoy.

Rest assured, no one in attendance will soon forget what they witnessed at the weigh-ins. For the second year in a row, the tournament record was broken, however, this time it went down by over ten pounds. Kevin Robertson and Doug Canning placed their 10-fish limit on the scale and watched it dial up to an amazing, 92.68 lbs. The duo had a balanced basket with nearly every fish over 9 lbs., and their biggest coming in at 10.4 lbs. They pointed to using live minnows and having some valuable pre-fishing as the keys to the impressive victory. Both men were excited to finally claim the tournaments top prize after competing in the event for over a decade.

Perhaps the bigger prize is the bragging rights they have now acquired over their sons, Nathan Robertson and Jeremy Canning, who came in nipping at their heals with an equally amazing basket of fish, tipping the scales at 91.78 lbs. Nathan and Jeremy came up just short of taking down their elders, but can be proud of the fact that they weighed in the second biggest weight in the fifteen years of the event. They were aided by the big fish of the day, a 12.14 lb. bruiser. Focusing their efforts up the North Platte River, the teammates managed to catch, what they estimate to be, over 100 catfish on the day and were not able to keep more than two rods in the water at any time. Both of the top two teams had the benefit of Air Boats to navigate the rough terrain that the North Platte is known for, especially in low flows, as was the case this year.

Rounding out the top three was Mark Canning and Alex Canning with an impressive 10-fish basket at 80.92 lbs. Incredibly, thirteen teams brought in over 60 lbs. and over half of the 52-team field weighed in over 30 lbs. The day proved difficult for some of the teams, however, as eighteen teams failed to weigh fish. Every year teams have to make the all-important decision on whether to concentrate their efforts in the lake or make their way up the river. The decision can often make or break a team’s ultimate success and this year was no different.

Any prospective catfish tournament anglers looking for an early season event that is fun, profitable, and accommodating look no further than the Lake Mac Cat Classic making its return for a sixteenth time next year on Saturday May 4th, 2013. Darrell and the crew at the Oregon Trail Trading Post will treat you right and you will make a few friends in the process. Please enjoy the complete results and podcasts from this past weekend below.

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Montana Cats 2012 Outlook

Montana Cats 2012 Outlook

April 04, 2012 by MT Cats Staff

The sun is beginning to peak through in Big Sky Country. That can only mean one thing to all of us here. Its almost catfishing season! For many of us, this open water season cannot arrive fast enough. Due to last years harsh winter season and the record-breaking snowfall it seems as if it’s been two years since some of us have hit the water. That winter had a major effect on last seasons warm water fishing. Many of the rivers and streams across Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas were nearly unfishable for a lot of the spring and summer months, or at the very least, a precarious situation for many. Those that did brave the conditions, however, were treated to some of the finest catfishing in recent memory. Even the surrounding reservoirs reached all-time peak levels and provided anglers with a new obstacle when targeting their favorite species. The Montana Cats Circuit was also affected greatly. A record setting Yellowstone Challenge beat the rough high water conditions and went off without a hitch last May. The same could not be said for the remaining three events on tour. For the first time in history, Montana Cats was forced to move an event to a later date. The 12th Annual Milk River Catfish Classic faced a “100 year flood” on the Milk River and was forced from its customary 1st weekend in June, and moved to mid July. The tournament did not disappoint, however, despite the change of plans as the 2nd greatest weight in tournament history hit the scales. The Monster Cat Roundup, held in Sidney in July and the Inaugural Missouri River Catfish Clash held in August, out of Williston, ND, were both held in flood conditions, but the catfish didn’t seem to mind as new tournament records were achieved and the bars were raised high for future years to come. Outside of the tournament scene, positive fishing reports came from every direction as late summer and fall gave way to more stable river conditions. One body of water in general, the Milk River, seen three cats of greater than fifteen pounds pulled from its depths. This is unheard of for the modern day Mighty Milk. All three genuine trophies were released to fight another day. Fort Peck Reservoir and the Yellowstone River also boasted numerous large fish in the summer of 2011.

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High Waters, Weather Effect Savage Tournament

High Waters, Weather Effect Savage Tournament

June 11, 2011 by MT Cats Staff

Savage, MT 6/11/11 – The 8th Annual Savage Volunteer Fire Dept. Catfish Tournament brought an all-new ball game this year. Only two weeks prior to the event, the Savage area was dealing with all-time record flows and high water. This in turn dramatically changed the traditional tournament landscape. Anglers had to deal with extremely high fluctuating waters, impassible muddy banks, and unstable weather leading up to the tournament. The prevailing thought was that it would be a struggle to catch the illusive “slot fish” needed to take home the top honors. (teams are only allowed to weigh-in 12″ to 18″ channel catfish) When anglers gathered on Friday night for the annual calcutta, the tournament organizers promised the event would go on as planned and it would be a success. 61 teams filled the competition nearly six weeks in advance. Despite the weather and high water, there was the usual excitement in the air.

This year’s event would smash tournament records, unfortunately in a way the anglers would like to avoid. Their thoughts and concerns came true as it turned out to be the most difficult Savage tournament on record. The statistics were staggering; only eleven teams would catch a fish, and twenty-one total catfish would hit the scales. Not a single team weighed in their limit of five “slot fish”, and one 17″ slot fish would be good enough for sixth place and a spot in the prize money. Tournament veteran, Jim Messer, would captain the championship squad. Jim’s team weighed in four cats at 5.175 lbs., blowing away the field by more than 6 tenths of a pound. Shawn Conradsen captained the runner-up squad, catching four fish at 4.455 lbs. Local angler, Bink Miller, cashed in on a separate cash pool reserved for the big fish contest. Bink’s big cat tipped the scales at 7.955 lbs.

As is customary at the Savage catfish tourney, the fire dept. hosted the community and tournament anglers to a farm raised catfish feed following the weigh-ins and award presentation. Despite the high water, the event once again went off without a hitch. The fire dept. and the whole community of Savage should be commended for their outstanding hospitality and ability to put on such a fun-filled event. The 9th Annual Savage Volunteer Fire Dept. Catfish Tournament will return to Savage on Saturday, June 9th 2012. As a reminder, returning teams will be mailed entry forms next April, they will have until May 1st to fill out the form and return. On May 1st the tournament will open to the public and new anglers will be able to join in on the fun. Hope to see you all next y

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