Catfish anglers from 10 states split $12,600 Lake Tawakoni yields ‘The Big Ones’ for Cabela’s King Kat

Lake Tawakoni lived up to its reputation Saturday and yielded its king-size catfish in large enough numbers that brought over 100 anglers from 10 states to compete for $12,600 in cash and prizes in Cabela’s King Kat Tournament Trail second stop of its 2018 tour.

The event marked the 10th year for the tour to visit Lake Tawakoni, and the large numbers of big fish weighed wowed a huge crowd at the weigh-in.

The Kansas team of Kevin Parks of LeRoy, Kan., and Ryan Gnagy of Tecumseh, Kan., took first place and $4,500 plus an additional $300 Driftmaster bonus for their efforts that weighed in five catfish that weighed 181.26 pounds.

Parks and Gnagy caught eight fish using large shad heads for bait. They had been here since Tuesday.

They missed the Big Fish payout by just over a pound with their big one weighing 62.56 pounds.

The Kansans took second place in the tournament last year with a catch of 147.56 pounds. Their 181.26-pound catch this year beat last year’s first place of 168.46 pounds by 12.80 pounds.

Parks also won the 2016 tournament here.

The pair said they planned to return next year and noted Lake Tawakoni was “a great lake.”

Perhaps predictably with the “big” reputation, the Big Fish was caught by a couple of Texans.

Steve Jones of Dallas and Travis Brown of Sanger took home $980 for landing the tournament’s Big Fish weighing 63.60 pounds. They also weighed in the second-place catch of the competition with 167.52 pounds of catfish for another check in the amount of $2,300.

Jones and Brown fished with shad in 16 to 40 feet of water in creek channels. When asked where in the channels, Jones noted because of the changing weather, “They are all over the place. They don’t know where to be.”

The Big Fish weight beat last year’s winner at 56.46 pounds by 7.14 pounds.

Roger Gerloff of Jefferson City, Mo., and Marty Gerloff of Chamois, Mo., weighed five fish in at 164.30 pounds for third place. They took home $1,600 for their efforts.

While most anglers answered with the non-specific reply of “north of the Two-Mile Bridge” when asked where they fished, the Gerloffs said they fished south of the bridge, anchoring in 45 feet of water, targeting fish on ledges using locators to find their fish. The team used shad filets and noted one was caught on a head.

Their biggest fish weighed 53.18 pounds and was good for fifth-place Big Fish.

The fourth-place money of $1,000 went to Justin Cook of New Franklin, Mo., and Jason Shaw of Hallsville, Mo., for their five fish that weighed 153.92 pounds.

The team also weighed in the third-place fish in the Big Fish contest with a 59.82-pound catfish.

Again, north of the Two-Mile Bridge, Cook and Shaw fished in 25 feet of water on flats above creek channels in structure using shad for bait. They caught 14 fish.

Cook is a previous winner of the Lake Tawakoni tournament. He said weather had made it harder to pre-fish this year.

Winners of fifth place were local angler David Hanson of Lone Oak and Daniel Hanson of Cibolo. They weighed in at 141.80 pounds for a $700 check. Their largest fish weighed 37.26 pounds.

The team targeted fish in the shallow water of two to four feet using shad and a homemade shallow water pole to hold them to catch over 30 fish for the event. David stated that there had been a shad kill which pushed the fish shallow to feed.

The final three places in the money included sixth place, $500, Mickey Casey of Forney and Glenn Corder of Dallas, 134.62 pounds;

Seventh place, $400, $400, Mickey Petree and Larry Beam of Denison, 125.40 pounds; and

Eighth place, $300, Colton Quattlebaum of Emory and Tony Pennnebaker of Lone Oak, 103.40 pounds.

Winning anglers also won an opportunity to qualify for the 2018 Cabela’s King Kat Classic. This year's Classic Championship will be held Sept. 14- 15 on the Ohio River at Jeffersonville, Ind., and will have a guaranteed payout of $110,000 in cash and prizes.

The weigh-in was headquartered at West Tawakoni City Park, hosted by the West Tawakoni Economic Development Corporation (WTEDC) whose city is officially recognized as the Catfish Capitol of Texas.

WTEDC President Linda Kattner spoke briefly at the weigh-in and welcomed those attending. Also in attendance were city officials and board members including Mayor Keith Goodson, Councilman John Hinchliffe, Pete Hoyt, Larry Pare and Jim Turnipseed.

Lake Tawakoni holds the national record for the King Kat Tournament Trail, set in the 2013 tournament by brothers Dan Miles of Irving and Paul Miles of Lake Dallas with their five fish that weighed 239.80-pounds.