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Flaten and Molstad Return to the Top of the Mountain; Palm Shatters Record

Flaten and Molstad Return to the Top of the Mountain; Palm Shatters Record

June 01, 2024 by

6/1/24 Glasgow, MT - When an event reaches 25 years it is commonly referred to as that event's "Silver Jubilee".  It's only natural to want something special to happen when celebrating a quarter century of growth and sustained success.  That something special happened in 2024.  The Milk River Catfish Classic celebrated its 25th tournament in simply incredible fashion.  

It was May of 2000 when two young college kids overwhelmed an inaugural tournament field of just 12 teams to claim bragging rights and put the Cat Classic on the map for good.  Those college kids were Glasgow natives, Brady Flaten and Jason Molstad.  Now fast forward 24+ years and the two longtime friends have once again climbed to the top of the mountain.  They used experience, patience, and familiarity with a specific stretch of river to land 30.92 lbs. and take home the coveted championship.  Brady said it felt great. "It's been a dry spell from hell, so it's pretty cool....fishing with Jay". remarked an emotional Flaten.

There is something very fitting about having the same team achieve bookend tourney titles during the first twenty five years of the event.  Flaten is the only angler in tournament history to fish ALL twenty five tournaments and this one proved extra special.  The duo landed around a dozen cats throughout the night and upgraded four times along the way which helped them claim the $2,000 cash prize.  It is a 5th career tournament title for Brady on the Montana Cats Circuit. 

Second place went to Chris Kolstad and Nicole Nelson, both of Glasgow.  Chris is no stranger to Cat Classic success as he had enjoyed seven straight top 20 finishes from 2014 to 2020 and was also a tournament runner-up in 2019.  He had taken the last two years off before returning to the tournament field with Nelson.  Success picked right up where he'd left off previously, however, as the team impressed with 29.08 lbs. to grab another 2nd place finish. Kolstad and Nelson were also entered in the "side pot" earning them an extra $1,200 for a total winnings of $2,700 on the night.
Third Place went to another local squad, as Ricci Olson and Dylan Guttenberg paired up to earn a 2nd consecutive top three finish!  After finishing 2nd last season, they finished just ounces out of 2nd yet again.  Finishing with a weight of 28.94 lbs.  Two consecutive years of hardware is a rare impressive occurrence.  Congratulations gentlemen.  Ricci and Dylan earned $1,800 for their efforts via the tournament and side pot.  Fourth place, went to a father-son duo out of Yellowstone County.  Todd Lindsay, Laurel, MT., and JJ Lindsay, Billings, MT., have been on a "heater" over the last two years on the Montana Cats Circuit.  This year's performance in the Cat Classic is the best ever for the Lindsay family; finishing with 27.97 lbs.  Todd quipped, "Prefishing was horrible for us.  By Noon on Friday we had decided to call an audible.  We left our comfort zone and decided to fish a new 10-mile stretch of river.  We are ecstatic with this finish, in this tournament."  Rounding out the top five was the "Wise Guys".  Bobby and Robert Wise, both of Billings, would ultimately finish in the Cat Classic Top 10 for a sixth time, but this time proved very different than the others.  While prefishing on Thursday the ultra successful father-son duo had major boat problems.  Those problems would end up relegating them to the bank.  Bank-angling is not something the Wise Guys are used to navigating, but they proved why they are two of the very best in the business.  They asked questions, they stayed confident with a plan to still catch big fish, and they got it done. Impressive.  

The highlight of the evening undoubtedly came from Josh Palm, of Glasgow, and Rory Crawford, of Wolf Point.  The night started out sour for this team when they arrived at their boat only to see it was 3/4 submerged and in danger of sinking entirely.  The teammates sprang into action while enlisting the help of a local with a tractor to pull their boat safely to shore.  Using their backup watercraft they finally hit the water with only three hours remaining.  It proved to be a memorable three hours.  Shortly after arriving at their intended fishing location, Josh landed a true fish of a lifetime.  A Channel Catfish that would end up tipping the certified scale at 20.13 lbs.  The fish smashes the previous Cat Classic record by over six pounds. In fact, the GIANT cat is 4 lbs. larger than any other Catfish ever caught at a Montana Cats Circuit event.  This is a circuit that spans 25 years and 73 different events!  It's a part of midnight weigh-ins that won't be soon forgotten by anyone that was fortunate enough to be in attendance.  The fish is believed to be over 30 years old and was safely released back to the Milk River late Saturday night.  Outstanding job Josh (and Rory)! 

Glasgow was blessed with beautiful weather ALL weekend long as the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Montana Catfish Association brought you the 6th Annual Milk River Catfish Days Festivities to the downtown area.  Savvy - The Band out of Bozeman kicked off the weekend with an impressive array of LIVE music Friday night at the Glasgow Elks Lodge 1922.  Brian "Auzzy" Austin auctioned off all 80 teams without a hitch and the 17th Annual Social and Calcutta was very well attended throughout the evening.  

On Saturday morning; the Catfish Days got started with a record 95 runners taking part in the "Catfish Crawl".  This year's event featured 1-Mile and 5K Run/Walk options as $1,000 in Chamber Big Bucks were randomly drawn and awarded to four lucky participants.  The Adult Cornhole featured over twenty five 2-person teams this year and those winners were crowned by 3:00 PM.  The traditional Bloody Mary and Breakfast Burritos, co-sponsored by the Elks Lodge and Toodie's Cafe, was another smashing success.  Kids of all ages enjoyed the School's Out Carnival on Main Street, sponsored by the Children's Museum of Northeast Montana.  The Glasgow Police Dept. hosted a bike rodeo, the Glasgow Fire Dept. provided an opportunity for kids to get soaked.  "Catfish Crazy Days'' was in full effect with downtown merchants having sidewalk sales and our local private vendors also set up all over the foot-traffic areas.  Hinsdale native, Chisholm Christensen, provided LIVE country music for a Saturday night street dance in front of Soma dis Deli prior to the Famous Midnight Weigh-Ins getting underway.  The aforementioned weigh-ins proved to be the culminating event for Catfish Days as once again over 500 people showed up to watch the fish hit the scales.  Incredible!     

We would like to thank all of our sponsors and volunteers who made this weekend so successful this year.  Special thanks to the following Catfish Classic and Montana Cats Circuit Sponsors:  Nemont Beverage (Busch Light), D&G Sports & Western, Glasgow TBID, Hi-Line Sportsmen, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, Shelly George Photography AND Thrivent Financial, Easy Clips Culling System, Marathon Oil, Enduro Products, BnM Poles, and RS Jet Boat Anchors. 

The next event on the 2024 Montana Cats Circuit will be in Sidney for the 16th Annual Monster Cat Roundup on July 20th, 2024.  Also, remember we will be BACK in Glasgow for the 7th Annual Milk River Catfish Days on June 6th-7th, 2025.  The 26th Annual Cat Classic will highlight the weekend from 4:00 PM to Midnight on June 7th, 2025.  

Posted in: Milk River Catfish Classic