GALLIPOLIS — Catfish anglers from six states traveled to Gallipolis on the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers for a King Kat Tournament Trail event presented by Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s this past weekend. Forty-four teams gathered at Gallipolis to test their catfishing skills against other anglers and Mother Nature.
As usual, the catfish anglers approached the event on May 11 with optimism. Competitors were vying for $10,800 in cash and prizes, and an opportunity to qualify for the $120,000 Classic Championship to be held Nov. 1 – 2, on the Tennessee River (Wheeler Lake) at Decatur, Ala.
Top honors at Gallipolis on the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers went to the team of William Stewart from Butler, Pa., and Edward Duplantis from Monaca, Pa. The Pennsylvania team brought 106.72 pounds to the scales to claim the top spot and earn a check for $4,200..
Stewart and Duplantis fished the Kanawha in the morning where they found their biggest fish. With only that one big fish in the boat, they decided to move out to the Ohio River. They were able to add three more fish from the Ohio. It was enough for them to take the win with only four fish, one fish less than the limit. Shad was their go-to bait. The team fished on the rope all day. They were targeting structure at first, but made a move to fish some barges in 15 to 20 feet of water to finish out the day.
J.L. Campbell from Frankfort and John Neiberling from Chillicothe, Ohio, earned the runner-up spot with 90.38 pounds and a check for $ 2,100. Campbell and Neiberling fished downriver from Gallipolis on the Ohio River. They were anchor fishing around the Robert C. Byrd Lock and Dam. The team reported targeting small structures in 20 feet of water. They used a combination of shad and skipjack to land 9 fish during the tournament.
The third-place spot went to Rodney Harrison and Sam Thompson. The Eleanor, W.Va., team weighed in 90.14 pounds to earn a check for $1,500. Their success came by finding whatever structure they could and fishing it with shad and skipjack. They were also fishing on the rope all day long. They fished the Kanawha River about midways up to land about 20 fish for the day.
Wayne and Travis Bodine from Bardstown, Ky., took fourth place with 86.46 pounds. The team earned a check for $850. Team Bodine fished around the Belleville Dam where they caught 9 fish for the day. They were anchor fishing on structure in 10 feet of water. Upon experiencing a slow bite, the team reported downsizing their bait to get some bites. They used shad and skipjack for bait.
Rounding out the top five was Graham Maxwell from Rochester, Pa., and J. Castelluccio from Imperial, Pa. They teamed up to put 78.06 pounds in the boat and earn a check for $550.00. Maxwell and Castelluccio found their fish up the Kanawha River. They caught 12 fish on the day. They were finding structure in 20 feet of water and anchoring up to fish it.
The Big Kat of the day went to Richard and Sherry Rhodes with a 48.20-pound flathead. The big flattie earned them a check for $900.
The remaining top catfish teams: sixth place, Chad and Colton Blanton at 76.20 pounds and seventh place with Freddie and Amber Bryant at 73.76 pounds.
Tournament director, Jeremy Coe thanked Amanda Crouse and the staff at the Gallia County Tourism for having the tournament in town and helping to make this event a success every year.
“It was another great year at Gallipolis,” said Coe. “We always see some of the biggest flatheads on the trail. This year there were two flatheads that broke the 45-pound mark. That is very impressive and one of the reasons we always look forward to returning.”