Catfish anglers from three states travelled to Rocky Fork Lake for a Cabela’s King Kat Tournament Trail Event. Twenty-five teams gathered at Hillsboro, OH to test their catfishing skills against other anglers and Mother Nature.
Competitors were vying for 6,350.00 in cash and prizes, and an opportunity to qualify for the $110,000 Classic Championship to be held September 14 and 15, 2018, on the Ohio River at Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Prefishing was windy. Storm clouds rolled in on Friday bringing a cold front with it. Air temperatures in the high 60’s and rain characterized tournament day along with a light 5 mph wind and water temps at 60 degrees. The rain came in around 11:00 am and continued on through the weigh-in.
Results for the Top Teams
Daniel and Craig Shirey, both from Baltimore, OH, were fishing their first King Kat Tournament when they weighed in 54.24 pounds of Rocky Fork catfish to win it. Their first-place bag included the second big kat of the tournament at 14.82 pounds.
Team Shirey fished towards East Shore Boat Ramp. They were targeting fish on rock structure in 12-15 feet of water. The fish were holding there on a shelf but the bite ended about 10:30 am when the rain moved in.
Daniel and Craig were trolling the shelf using shad for bait. They landed 15 catfish for the day and earned a check for $3,000.00.
Second place went to Daniel Yoder of Patriot, OH and Michael Thompson from Waterloo, OH. They weighed an even 51 pounds to claim the runner-up spot and earn $1,500.00.
Yoder and Thompson fished in the middle portion of Rocky Fork Lake. They were trolling in shallow water. The team found moving fish in only 5 feet of water.
Their bait of choice was some shad, but mainly nightcrawlers. They landed 12 fish for the day and also reported an early bite that ended about 11 am.
Shawn Dauphin from Delaware, OH and Craig Williams from Tiffin, OH trailed the second-place team by just 0.1 pounds. Their 50.9 pounds was good for third place and earned them a check for $1,000.00.
A strategy change helped Dauphin and Williams. They started fishing in deep water without success. So, with no bites up until about 12:30 pm they decided to move to shallow water. Thy found a spot in 2-3 feet of water where they landed more than 20 fish for the day.
Dauphin and Williams also trolled to catch their fish. They mainly used shad but also some bluegill for bait. They speculated that the changing weather made fish move up shallow.
James and Janet Fox from McArthur, OH, fished mid-lake along with the second-place team. They took the fourth-place spot with a weight of 49.9 pounds. Their weight include big kat of the tournament at 15.12 pounds. They earned $350 for their finish and $500 for Big Kat.
James and Janet reported fishing with shad and skipjack, with skipjack working best. It was a game of unders for Team Fox. They had two fish in the 15-pound range and two more over 28 inches that they had to throw back. They just couldn’t get the good under fish that they needed.
They found their fish in 6 feet of water, stating that the bait had moved shallow pulled the fish with them. Team landed 8 total fish for the day.
“Started raining on us at 1:00 pm and never stopped,” reported Janet. “We will blame Jeremy Coe for the rain. We never caught another fish after noon, but some never starting getting bites until the rain started.”
The Remaining Top Teams
5th Place – Jerry Hite and Michael Anderson – 44.76
6th Place – Anthony Murphy and Michael Snyder – 43.28
7th Place – Chris Souders and Nick Conaway – 39.68
8th Place – David Hart and Teresa Shelpman – 32.32
9th Place – Joseph Hatfield and Kyle Gibney – 32.04
10 Place – Chris Wright and Briana Wright – 27.44
Tournament director, Jeremy Coe thanked all the local sponsors for coming together to make this event possible. They include the Visitors Bureau of Highland County, Catfish Tech, Colley’s German Shepherds, Highland District Hospital, Greystone Motel, Joey’s Pizza and Marathon station, Bayview Campground/Bait & Tackle, Buckeye Boat Repair, and Rocky Road Mini Mart.
“We are excited to be on Rocky Fork Lake for the first time,” said Coe. “It is one of 2 times since 2003 when King Kat started that we’ve had an event inside the state of Ohio. Rocky Fork Lake Produces a lot of trophy channel cats with the occasional large flathead. It is a great fishery, and the area offers great hospitality. We had a great time and we look forward to hopefully returning in 2019.”