(Jun. 29, 2012 - Lake Fork, TX)...
The Fourth Annual Yantis Catfish Classic at Lake Fork was held on June 23-24 at Oak Ridge Marina. This was a big fish competition with anglers competing for the largest catfish in any species. Cash prizes were awarded for the four largest fish caught each hour and bonus checks were paid to the seven anglers weighing the largest fish during the two day event. Bonuses were also paid to the youth, female and senior over 65 who landed the largest fish.
A total of 384 catfish anglers participated in the 2012 Tournament. Of those, 40 shared in a portion of the Tournament’s $26,000 prize money. For the second straight year channel cats were the only species weighed during the two-day event.
The $6000 bonus for the Tournament’s biggest fish was awarded to Jesse Williams of Longview, Texas for a 9.80 pound cat caught during the final two hours on Sunday. Williams reported that he used a Catawba worm to trick the big channel. His total winnings, including his hourly award and 1st place bonus, came to $6400.
Matraca Driskell of Grapeland landed a 9.45 pound channel cat early Sunday. It took second place overall and earned a $3000 bonus. Including the bonus, her hourly winnings, and $250 award as the Tournament’s top female, Ms. Driskell ended the day with checks totaling $3650.
Steve Jones of Dallas claimed the $1000 third place bonus for a 7.80 pounder weighed during the last hour of competition on Saturday. Jones became the only angler to take first place in multiple hours when he landed a 7.45 pound channel cat on Sunday. With his two top hourly finishes and bonus, his Tournament payday was $1800.
Youth Angler Blake Compton of Chandler took fourth place with a 7.75 pounder weighed at mid-day on Sunday. With the hourly big fish award and an additional $250 reward for being the Tournament’s top Youth Angler, Compton’s winnings for the weekend totaled $1050.
Rounding out the top seven were Youth Angler Hunter Payne, also of Chandler, who tied for fifth with James Prince of New Boston. Chandler and Prince both landed 7.25 pound channel cats and collected $550 for their efforts.
Seventh place also ended in a tie between Phil Johnson of Heath and Tad Sheiley of Southlake with 7.15 pounders. With his other hourly winnings, Johnson collected a $1050 while Sheiley earned $350.
The most active hourly winner was Troy Amason (Irving) with four money fish. Donnie Fountain (Jasper, GA), Justin Miles (Lewisville), Roger Stroman (Emory), and 7th place overall finisher Phil Johnson (Heath) each weighed three fish that collected hourly top-4 earnings. Charles Driskell of Grapeland took the Tournament’s top Senior Angler honors and the $250 bonus for his 5.80 pounder and Joe Marler Jr.’s name was drawn from among those who registered prior to the early-entry deadline. Marler’s timely entry was also worth a $250 cash bonus.
The Yantis Catfish Classic was closely linked with the City of Yantis and their eighth annual Catfish Day Festival. Activities in Yantis included a Catfish Day parade on Saturday afternoon after the tournament weigh-in was completed. The Parade Marshal, Yantis City Secretary Tonya Norris, led the procession through downtown Yantis along with Yantis Mayor Jerry Miller. Numerous local businesses and civic groups as well as anglers from the BPS Big Cat Quest Tour participated in the parade to show off their state-of-the-art cat-fishing craft. At the conclusion of the parade, the Tournament anglers and other area residents were treated to the annual fish fry prepared by the Yantis Volunteer Fire Department.
The annual Yantis Catfish Classic is a cooperative effort of the Lake Fork Sportsman’s Association and Ken Freeman Outdoors Promotions. It is open to all anglers, but it is also a part of the Bass Pro Shops Big Cat Quest Tournament Trail.
The next stop on the Big Cat Trail is The World Championship of Catfishing on July 7 at Savannah, Tennessee. After an additional Mississippi River event in August, the Quest concludes with its National Championship on September 1-2 at Clarksville, Tennessee. The Big Cat Quest’s major sponsors are Bass Pro Shops, Toyota Trucks, Berkley, and Coca-Cola. More on the Big Cat Quest can be found at the Ken Freeman Promotions web site.
The Lake Fork Sportsman’s Association is a local non-profit organization that was formed in 1999 to promote and help conserve Lake Fork as a world-class fishery. Its members are mainly lake-area homeowners, businesses, and guides. More information on the Association and its mission can be found on its web site.
The Catfish Classic’s major underwriters were the Bass Pro Shops, City National Bank, the Wood County Industrial Commission, and the City of Yantis. Other major contributors included the Oak Ridge Marina, Martin’s Fishermans Inn, and S&A Sportswear of Quitman. KMOO 99.9 FM served as the event’s official radio station.
The 2013 event is scheduled for the weekend of June 22 & 23.For more information about the 2012 tournament, please call the Tournament Director, Sam Scroggins, at 903-763-2191.