The largest tournament ever held by K.C. Catfish took place in St. Joseph last weekend.
Brad Kilpatrick, CEO and founder of K.C. Catfish, said the 87 boats launched into the river consisted of two contestants for a total of 174 participating anglers.
He said the previous high count was 73 teams last year when the tournament unfolded in Atchison, Kan.
“I’ve been doing this for eight years and for my first tournament I had 13 boats show up and I was happy then,” Kilpatrick said. “And now after all these years of sticking with it, it is really starting to come together. I couldn’t be more pleased.”
The second annual St. Joseph tournament brought in fishermen from Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa — with more than $12,000 in cash distributed to the top six teams.
Sob Borisouth and Chris Butcher from Kansas City caught the largest single fish of the day — a flathead catfish that weighed in at 67.8 pounds.
The fish was caught 20 miles downstream near Atchison, Kan., using
goldfish as bait.
“We knew when he hit it that it was big,” Borisouth said. “We didn’t think that we were going to win the tournament but we knew we had a big fish.”
In addition to pulling in the biggest fish, they won first place in the tournament for the combined weight of their three fish coming in at 84.4 pounds. They also received a check from Savannah Marine for using a
Mercury outboard boat motor.
And this is not the first time this year the teammates have won a K.C.
Last month, they took first place in a tournament at Kaw Point in Kansas City, Kan., after pulling in five fish with a combined weight of 122.2 pounds.
“We’re in the middle of a winning streak,” Borisouth said.
During the catch-and-release tournament, the fish were held in an aerated tank for spectators to view. Kilpatrick also gave youth in attendance free fishing poles.
Teammates Harry Bratton and Aaron Jamvold from Atchison, Kan., used goldfish and Asian Carp bait to catch two fish with a combined weight of 25.6 pounds.
Bratton’s sons Jaxyn, 3, and Jayce, 5, aided in loading the boat and presented the fish.
“I go fishing with my boys every weekend, but this was a fun competition to compete in,” Harry Bratton said.
This was also the first year the Pony Express Classic tournament was launched from three boat ramps.
This year, the fishing teams could choose to launch from the nearby French Bottoms, Nodaway Island or Jentell Brees ramps.
Kilpatrick said he will return to the area during the K.C. Catfish Midwest Open Championship at Independence Park in Atchison, Kan., on Sept. 21. Teams interested in participating can register online at http://www.kccatfish.com/atchison.html.