Tournament inspiring local competition, too

Monday, May 9, 2005

NEW MADRID - Cabela's King Kat tournament trail is expected to draw catfish anglers and club members from across the country and is inspiring some competition among local fisherman as well.

A team event, teams will consist of one or two persons. The exception is a third person may accompany the team provided the third person is under 16 years of age or over 65 years of age.

New Madrid fishermen Jerry Whitehead and Billy Tanner have formed a team. Whitehead said he has heard through "the fishing grapevine" that several top professionals have indicated they will be at New Madrid on May 28 for the tournament.

"I've heard all three of the biggest professionals have entered," said Whitehead.

While Whitehead and his teammate fish as often as possible, he said the other tournament participants will probably visit New Madrid prior to the tournament. This will give them an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the river and fishing locations.

"We may have the homefield advantage but the professionals have technology advantage," Whitehead said about the competition. "Some of these guys have sonars, charts and graphs and, I guess, laptop computers. They study water clarity, the currents and depth to consider where they want to fish."

Entry fees for the tournament is $150 per team.

Tournament hours are 6:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. All anglers must be in the weigh-in line at New Madrid's Riverfront Park by 4 p.m. There is a seven fish limit per team.

The top 20 teams at each qualifying event are eligible for the Cabela's King Kat Classic. This event is set for Santee Cooper Lakes in South Carolina in September.

Entry forms are available by calling 270-395-6774, fax 270-395-4381 or the Cabela's King Kat Trail Website at

Participants may enter by mail or at the late registration to be held from 5 to 7 p.m. May 27 at the Community Park on Mill Street in New Madrid. Deadline for mail in entries is 14 days prior to the event. All entries after that day will pay a $25 late fee.

Whitehead said he is looking forward to the competition. "We would love to win it and we are going to fish as hard as anyone out there. But, you know, they call the sport fishing, not catching."

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