Massive weights were the name of the game for competitors on the Tennessee River (Watts Bar/Fort Loudoun/Tellico) at Lenoir City. It was the location of Cabela’s King Kat Super Event on April 16 and 17, 2016. Participating anglers competed for $10,000 in cash and prizes. The event attracted 100 anglers from 12 states to see who could catch the heaviest bag of 10 catfish in two days of fishing. The top nine anglers weighed in over 200 pounds.
Anglers were greeted with temperatures in the low 70’s and a mild 5 mph wind both days. The current which was natural light was shut down each day around 1 pm. Water temperatures were in the 60 to 62 degree range.
Day one started off with a bang as Aaron Massey and David Harrison set the pace with 169.18 pounds. Their bag included a monster flathead that weighed 82.90 pounds, just 4 pounds short of the state record! Following in second place was the team of Brycen Roberts and Jeremy Chase with 130.22 pounds. Andy Cagle and Kenny Scott held down third place in the King Kat event with 125.28 pounds. The top two teams on day one were destined to hold their places on day 2.
David Harrison, Tunnell Hill, Georgia and Aaron Massey, Madison, Georgia recorded a total weight of 268.04 pounds and hung on to their day 1 lead to earn the top award. The Georgia team earned $4,500.00, plus an additional $1,130.00 for big fish of the event. They scored the Big Kat honors with their 82.90 pound flathead they caught on day 1.
Harrison and Massey fished the upper end of Watts Bar Lake close to the Fort Loudoun Dam. They targeted fish on main river ledges from a Mercury powered Alumacraft 2072 SC. They found their fish in 15 to 50 feet of water, The big flathead came from 35 feet of water.
They indicated that they had a very good time landing 30 fish a day using bluegill as their primary bait. The current was shut down around 1 p.m. each day but they did not think it affected their fishing. “This place is just awesome. We love coming here and look forward to next year,” said Massey.
Jeremy Chase of Hamilton, Ohio and Brycen Roberts of Lake City, Tennessee held their second place spot from day 1. They weighed 250.04 pounds for the two days of fishing and earning $2,3000.00 for their efforts.
Chase and Roberts fished the lower end of Watts Bar Lake close to Watts Bar Dam. They anchored in 30 to 60 feet of water both days using skipjack as bait. They also thought the loss of current each day had no effect on the bite. They caught around 50 fish over the weekend, including the third place Big Kat at 55.78 pounds.
Van Hughes of Stem, North Carolina and Lee Hughes of Henderson, North Carolina took third place with a total weight of 238.86 pounds. Team Hughes used a strategy that included crappie for bait in 15 feet of water in the back of creeks. They noted that the only other anglers in there were crappie anglers and they were catching lots of crappie. They had an idea that paid off. With all those crappie around the catfish had to be eating them.
Thinking outside the box paid off and the team landed 30 fish a day including many 30- to 40-pound fish that had to be returned to the water due to trophy catfish laws.
Their bag also included the second Big Kat honors with a 56.62-pound fish. They earned $1,000.00 for their third place finish. “This is not only the best fishery I go to, but my favorite,” concluded Van Hughes.
Rob Benningfield of Bowling Green, Kentucky and Nathan Helm of Madison, Kentucky move up from 15th place on day one to take the fourth place spot. They weighed in 217.56 pounds and took home a check for $500.00.
Benningfield and Helm fished Mid Lake on Watts Bar looking for fish in 20 to 25 feet of water. They drifted, anchored and drug baits searching for fish. They used skipjack for bait to land about 25 fish a day including 4th place Big Kat weighing 52.84 pounds. “The people here don’t realize what they have. I travel to a lot of different states fishing for catfish and this is by far the best place I go to,” declared Benningfield.
Aaron and Cristie Jenkins took the fifth place prize of $450.00 with a total weight of 211.52 pounds. The Maryville, Tennessee team fished Mid lake on Watts Bar, targeting fish in 20 feet of water. They used both skipjack and bluegill for bait. Aaron and Cristie drifted and anchored both days to land 50 total fish for the weekend.
Sixth place went to Andy Cagle of Covington, Georgia and Kenny Scott of Mansfield, Georgia. They weighed in at 210.30 pounds and earned $350.00.
Austin Coker of Knoxville, Tennessee and Derrick Coker of Maynardville, Tennessee took seventh place and a check for $250.00 with a total weight of 206.44 pounds.
Eighth place and a check for $150.00 went to the Loudon, Tennessee team of Tony and Sandra Monasmith. They had a total weight of 202.16 pounds for the tournament.
Tournament Director Jeremy Coe thanked Rachel Baker and her staff at the Loudon County Visitors Center for their support in making this event happen. “This lake is the best catfish fishery that we go to in the United States,” stated Coe. “It is soon to be the hottest lake amongst the anglers as well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new state record or world record blue or flathead be brought out of here in the future. We are very excited to call Lenoir City, Tennessee home and look forward to many more years. This is truly the hidden gem of the Tennessee River.”
For more information on Cabela’s King Kat and complete Tennessee River results visit their website or Facebook page. The next King Kat tournament will be a Super Event on the Kanawha River at Charleston, WV. on April 22 and 23.
For more information on the Lenoir City area visit the Loudon County website.