When you hook a fish so big that it tows your boat around for almost 15 minutes, you know you’ve got one whale of a catch.
Take it from Anthony Jacoby and Derek Allen of Ravenwood, Mo., who competed last weekend as a team in the Kansas City Catfish Midwest Classic on the Missouri River.
“For a while, something was just banging the rod in the holder and we thought it might be a gar trying to steal the bait,” Jacoby said. “But then the rod just laid over and the drag on the reel started singing, and we knew we really had something.
“We untied the boat and just let that fish take us wherever it wanted to.”
After taking the fishermen on a wild ride, the giant fish tired and Jacoby was able to lift it to the surface. Then Allen slid a huge net under the catfish, and both fishermen strained to flop it into the boat.
At the weigh-ins for the championship tournament, they learned that the blue catfish Jacoby had hooked weighed 98 pounds, a record for the Kansas City Catfish circuit.
It fell short of the Kansas state record (the tournament was based in Atchison, Kan.) of 102.8 pounds, but it was still one of the biggest blue cats caught on the Missouri River in recent years.
Jacoby and Allen won big-fish honors and took second in the tournament with a total weight of 102.1 pounds.
For Jacoby and Allen, the giant catch hardly came as a surprise. In the previous tournament in which they competed, they caught a 74.95-pound blue cat, good for big-fish honors. And in the tournament before that, they landed another 74.95-pound cat.
“Identical size, weighed on certified scales,” Jacoby said.
They landed their latest giant at exactly noon, supposedly one of the worst times of day to fish because of bright sun and high skies.
The key to their big-fish prowess? If you’re looking for a secret bait or a secret fishing spot on the river, you’ll be disappointed. Jacoby credits the team’s success to being versatile.
“Some guys just tie off in one spot and sit there for hours,” he said. “We stay on the move. We’ll try five or six different scenarios.”
Another giant catfish
Mathew McConkey of Kansas City is in the Missouri fishing record books.
He landed a 100-pound flathead catfish Monday on a trot line on the Missouri River and set an “alternative methods” record. Alternatives methods include trot lines, limb lines, jug lines, bow fishing, etc.
He caught the fish on a 4-inch goldfish in the Kansas City area. The fish was weighed on certified scales at the post office in Liberty.
McConkey’s catch broke the former Missouri alternative methods record by a mere 1 pound. That fish, too, was caught out of the Missouri River.
Pro bass fishermen head to Ozarks
Table Rock Lake in Branson will be in the national spotlight next week when the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open is held.
The tournament, which will be based at State Park Marina, will begin next Thursday and will run through Oct. 3.
The event will be the last stop on the Central Opens circuit. At stake are cash, prizes and a berth in the Bassmaster Classic.
The prospects? Veteran pro Brian Snowden, who lives near Table Rock, expects a tough tournament, with fish scattered. But he expects a few fishermen to figure out the puzzle.
“You can definitely catch a big fish in a lot of different areas right now,” he said.
Weigh-ins will be at 3 p.m. the first two days of the tournament at State Park Marina and 4 p.m. the final day at the Bass Pro Shop in Branson.
Deer with radio collars?
Hunters in northwest Missouri may encounter an unusual sight this fall: deer wearing radio collars.
The whitetails are part of a five-year study by the Missouri Department of Conservation to monitor movement and reproduction of whitetails. Biologists in charge of the program encourage hunters to react the same way as with other deer: Shoot, if it falls within legal boundaries.
“To keep the study accurate to what actually happens to the herd, we don’t want to alter what happens during the hunting season,” said Emily Flinn of the Department of Conservation. “If a hunter sees a collared deer that they could legally and would normally harvest, they should still do so.”
The Department of Conservation captured 90 deer and placed radio collars and ear tags on them, then released them back to the wild in Nodaway, Gentry, Andrew and DeKalb counties. They are keeping track of those deer through GPS satellite technology.
To reach outdoors editor Brent Frazee, call 816-234-4319 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter@fishboybrent.