8/19/2017- Williston, ND – We couldn’t have asked for better conditions for the 2017 Catfish Clash, as 53 boats set out to conquer the Mighty Missouri this past weekend! The Williston section always provides big fish and plenty of them. The days leading up to this year’s 7th annual “Clash” were consistent and in-turn it provided a bit of river stability that all anglers were able to enjoy. Weather on the day of the event was about as ideal as one could hope for. Some gusts of wind picked up during the last hour of the event, but for the most part you couldn’t have asked for a much better day. Air temperatures stuck in the mid 80’s, storms stayed by the wayside, river flows (although higher than years past) lacked any major fluctuation, and water temperature was a reasonable 70 degrees.
Targeting post spawn Channel Cats in mid August is not always a gimme, but as the fish look to regain a few lost pounds coming out of spawn, one will always maintain high hopes of coercing a few big cats into taking their baits. Coercing seemed to be the name of the game for many anglers as the ‘sit and stay to make it pay’ method seemed to be a popular vote during weigh in interviews. Fishing was certainly more difficult for this year’s tournament than it had been in the past, however.
Tournament champions Brenner Flaten of Glasgow, MT and Cole Plouffe of Glendive, MT focused on a 3 mile stretch of river to pull away from the field. In a last ditch effort during Friday’s pre-fishing, the duo targeted a short stretch of river that seemed to be holding some decent catfish. The duo had strategized going into Saturday, and as the horn sounded the next morning, Brenner and Cole ventured to that same familiar location to find their theory was indeed correct. They landed the majority of their fish in the first few hours of the day and credited frogs to being their bait of choice. They had their limit of five cats at just under 36 pounds just before the noon hour. They were unable to upgrade in the afternoon, but it didn’t end up mattering. Their “hot stretch” of river produced nearly 25 cats in total for the seasoned tournament anglers! Flaten and Plouffe had teamed up for three previous Catfish Clash events and had placed in the top 8 all three times, this year they finally scaled the mountain. The championship is Brenner’s 6th career MT Cats Circuit victory.
Brady Flaten of Glasgow, MT and Nate Molstad of Havre,MT are the two most decorated anglers in Clash history, and they nearly pulled it off once again! Concentrating on just a handful of spots, both above and below the bridge, they too ‘grinded it out’ so to speak. The bite may have been a grind as they were only able to land ten fish, but the quality of fish (including Nate’s Big Fish Runner Up of 10.95 lbs) was enough to put these two in second place with an outstanding 33.60 pound basket. The 3-time champions certainly have nothing to hang their heads about after another fine performance.
Local duo Caleb Wells of Williston, ND and Josh Pruitt of Watford City, ND proved that their second place finish in 2016 was no fluke as they proceeded to round up five Missouri River beauties for a third place finish with a whopping 31.35 pounds. Back to Back top three finishes is an incredible accomplishment and they have their sights set on the top spot in the future.
Ryan and Presley Mehling, a father/daughter combo from Hardin, MT, made a memory to last a lifetime and filled the crowds hearts as they took the stage. They fought hard all day. Their 11th and final catfish came during the last hour of the tourney as they made their way back to the bridge. The final fish boosted their 5-fish basket all the way up to fourth place with 30.64 lbs. When Presley (six years of age) was asked “who caught all the fish” she replied “I did”, and when asked “how long did it take you to reel in the largest one” (9.91 pounds) she replied “30 seconds!” She is indeed a trooper, but we’re sure Dad may have helped out quite a bit more than she was leading on! It was an outstanding highlight to the weekend’s events and will not soon be forgotten. Rounding out the top five are Montana Cats Circuit veterans Nicholas Fortier and Randy Franco, both of Billings, MT. The team claimed their fish were very temperamental and each of the seven fish they were able to land throughout the day had taken quite a bit of time before committing to their baits. Patience was a virtue but yet once again these two prevailed. Their five largest channel cats were enough to award them fifth place with an official basket of 29.92 pounds.
Big Fish Honors went to Corey Bushman of Billings, MT. Corey landed his beast of a Missouri River Channel Cat early in the contest and the day continued to go well… but then again how could it not when you have a 14.44 pound ‘kicker’ in your live well? Corey’s fish fell just short of Bryan Armour’s 2014 Big Fish of 14.63 pounds, which not only holds the Missouri River Catfish Clash’s Big Fish record, but is the largest channel cat in Montana Catfish Association tournament history. Corey’s beautiful cat now moves into a close second in both categories. After 18 years of Montana Cats events, only one fish has ever hit the scale’s larger than Bushman’s in 2017. That’s something to think about!
Per tradition on the Montana Cats Circuit, the B’n’M Poles Angler of the Year was awarded upon completion of the Clash awards. Brenner Flaten was able to help his teammate Cole clinch the 2017 Clash victory, but he also ‘sealed the deal’ on the Montana Cats 2017 “AOY” title following his two third place finishes in both the Yellowstone Challenge and The Monster Cat Roundup. Along with the AOY title, B’n’M Poles awarded Brenner a gift of $250.00 and offered him free entry into the 2017 Mississippi River Monsters Catfish tournament to take place the weekend of September 15th in Memphis, Tennessee.
The 7th annual Missouri River Catfish Clash concludes the 2017 Montana Catfish Association Circuit. It has been an outstanding year once again! The Clash would like to recognize and thank our sponsors for their continued support:
Blue Rock Distributing, High Caliber Sports, Scenic Sports, Thrivent Financial, Cat River Anchors, RS Anchors, CM Built Doors, Whisker Seeker Tackle, B’n’M Poles, 4 Mile Bar, Riverside Marine and Cycle, Degenstein’s Auto Plus, and Walt’s Market
Lastly, the Missouri River Catfish Clash along with the Montana Catfish Association would like to thank all of our fellow anglers for participating and sharing our passion for the sport of catfishing and the love of angling. See you all in 2018 at the season opening Yellowstone Challenge!
|Corey Bushman||14.44 lbs.||Big Fish Award|
|Nate Molstad||10.95 lbs.||2nd Biggest Fish Award|
|1.||Brenner Flaten (Glasgow, MT) / Cole Plouffe (Glendive, MT)||35.97 lbs.|
|2.||Brady Flaten (Glasgow, MT) / Nate Molstad (Havre, MT)||33.60 lbs.|
|3.||Caleb Wells (Williston, ND) / Joshua Pruitt (Watford City, ND)||31.35 lbs.|
|4.||Ryan Mehling (Hardin, MT) / Presling Mehling (Hardin, MT)||30.64 lbs.|
|5.||Nicholas Fortier (Billings, MT) / Randy Franco (Billings, MT)||29.92 lbs.|
|6.||Josh Moore (Sidney, MT) / Jordan Riedmann (Bismark, ND)||29.30 lbs.|
|7.||Corey Bushman (Billings, MT) / Scott Swanson (Billings, MT)||29.03 lbs.|
|8.||Darrin Hanson (Williston, ND) / Chase Rehak (Williston, ND)||28.39 lbs.|
|9.||Jeremy Workman (Williston, ND) / Brett Colebank (Williston, ND)||26.94 lbs.|
|10.||Troy Cotter (Sidney, MT) / Mike Licking (Sidney, MT)||25.78 lbs.|
|11.||Josh Marottek (Medicine Lake, MT) / Charles Marottek (Poplar, MT)||25.54 lbs.|
|12.||Jason Haugen (Williston, ND) / Kristina Haugen (Williston, ND)||24.99 lbs.|
|13.||Clint Hecker (Sidney, MT) / Cayden Hecker (Sidney, MT)||24.62 lbs.|
|14.||Justin Jones (Sidney, MT) / Logan Jones (Sidney, MT)||24.61 lbs.|
|15.||Rick Ellingson (Williston, ND) / Jeremy Stansel (Williston, ND)||23.49 lbs.|
|16.||Matt Reynolds (Sidney, MT) / Carrie Niblock (Sidney, MT)||23.12 lbs.|
|17.||Steve Norcutt (Glasgow, MT) / Tara Harrington (Glasgow, MT)||22.24 lbs.|
|18.||Bryon Armour (Lewistown, MT) / Ty Thomas ( Lewistown, MT)||21.83 lbs.|
|19.||Travis Kennedy (Billings, MT) / Kevin Howie (Billings, MT)||20.95 lbs.|
|20.||Rod Seder (Billings, MT) / Rob Seder (Hardin, MT)||19.81 lbs.|
|21.||James Bergeron (Sidney, MT) / Marty Ross (Sidney, MT)||19.50 lbs.|
|22.||Tyler Colebank (Williston, ND) / Blain Stevens (Williston, ND)||17.96 lbs.|
|23.||Jason Arnson (Williston, ND) / Casey Heller (Williston, ND)||17.44 lbs.|
|24.||Steve Harris Jr. (Sidney, MT) / Loren Dempsey (Sidney, MT)||17.26 lbs.|
|25.||Chris Kolstad (Glasgow, MT) / Willy Lauckner (Nashua, MT)||16.67 lbs.|
|26.||Roy Mehling (Fairview, MT) / Bobby McElvaing (Billings, MT)||14.04 lbs.|
|27.||Chad Mueller (Sidney, MT) / Justin King (Sidney, MT)||11.98 lbs.|
|28.||Otis Oblander (Ballintine, MT) / Austin Oblander (Ballintine, MT)||11.61 lbs.|
|29.||Bobby Wise (Billings, MT) / Robert Wise (Billings, MT)||11.42 lbs.|
|29.||Brady Mueller (Sidney, MT) / Brandon Mueller (Sidney, MT)||11.42 lbs.|
|31.||Matt Bushman (Billings, MT) / Zac Bushman (Billings, MT)||11.41 lbs.|
|32.||Charles Rogella (Sidney, MT) / Reiley Christopherson (Sidney, MT)||11.15 lbs.|
|33.||Robert Ferrell (Williston, ND) / Terry Dishon (Williston, ND)||10.09 lbs.|
|34.||George Stuckers (Sidney, MT) / Cody Stenland (Fairview, MT)||9.73 lbs.|
|35.||Matt Degenstein (Williston, ND) / Mindy Degenstein (Williston, ND)||9.06 lbs.|
|36.||Jordan Lyons (Williston, ND) / Brandon Rod (Williston, ND)||7.98 lbs.|
|37.||Austin Bernent (Sidney, MT) / Bob Bauer (Williston, ND)||7.71 lbs.|
|38.||James Decker (Sidney, MT) / Steve Lowrey (Fairview, MT)||6.87 lbs.|
|39.||Scott Schmidt (Sidney, MT) / Shane Litten (Sidney, MT)||6.70 lbs.|
|40.||Todd Dooley (Sidney, MT) / Ryan Dempsey (Sidney, MT)||5.10 lbs.|
|41.||Ryan Wilson (Williston, ND), Kirby Lynch (Williston, ND)||4.37 lbs.|
|42.||Ashley Harris (Sidney, MT) Melissa Sanders (Sidney, MT)||3.36 lbs.|
|43.||Brian Bustad (Williston, ND) / Ryan Stevens (Westby, MT)||2.83 lbs.|
|44.||Derek Carda (Sidney, MT) / Adam Smith (Sidney, MT)||1.94 lbs.|
|45.||Mike Ramsey (Williston, ND) / Walter Ramsey (Williston, ND)||1.16 lbs.|
|46.||Steve Harris Sr. (Sidney, MT) / Bill Haris (Madison, WI)||0 lbs.|
|Dan Dupea (Billings, MT) / Eli Dupea (Billings, MT)||0 lbs.|
|Ryan Schwettman (Sidney, MT) / Kelvin Buxbaum (Sidney, MT)||0 lbs.|
|Nicholas Gunder (Williston, ND) / Paul Gulner (Watford City, ND)||0 lbs.|
|Mike Wickenhauser (Williston, ND) / Joe Evans (Williston, ND)||0 lbs.|
|Bryce Christofferson (Williston, ND) / Brandon Borseth (Williston, ND)||0 lbs.|
|Dustin Dishon (Williston, ND) / Nov Donoven (Williston, ND)||0 lbs.|
|53.||KaCee McPherson (Savage, MT) / Troy Johnson (Williston, ND)||0 lbs.|
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