Josh Rouse: Freshwater drum, catfish, crappie tournaments draw Kansas anglers out in early July
Mark and Chad Thompson eclipsed the 125-pound mark last weekend to take home the victory during the Catfish Chasers Tournament Series event on Coffey County Lake, better known as Wolf Creek.
The pair posted 126.50 pounds on Saturday, July 10, to take down second-place finishers Will Thompson and James Douglas, whose 119.60-pound bag included the big fish of the tournament at 35.90 pounds.
Mark and Chad Thompson earned a $3,700 payday for their efforts, while Will Thompson and Douglas earned $1,850 in addition to the $500 big fish prize for a total of $2,350.
Third place went to Josh Vail and Bobby Feugate at 116.40 pounds for the third-place prize of $1,110. The fourth-place team of Kevin Park and Terry Fischer also eclipsed 110 pounds, netting a $750 payday for their bag of 111.85 pounds.
After three events, Chad and Mark Thompson sit in second place in the Team of the Year standings with 185 points behind Danny Mayer and Derek Allen (220). John Berglund and Eddie Henney sit tied for third with Josh Smith and Brandon Kennedy at 110 points, with Duane Buckridge and Justin Thornton tied for fifth with Will Thompson and Douglas at 97 points.
The next regularly slated Catfish Chasers event is on nearby John Redmond Reservoir, also in Coffey County, with a $150 entry fee and $2,000 added money. Check-in will be at the dam, with fishing from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Following that is the Victory Chevrolet Classic, which will take place Aug. 7-8 on the Missouri River at St. Joseph, Mo. Entry for that event is $200 if postmarked by July 30, or $225 after. Anglers will fish from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m., with weigh-in at the French Bottoms Ramp. A mandatory meeting for that event will take place at 6 p.m. Aug. 6 at the St. Joseph Frontier Casino.
Drum tourney a booming success
In the middle of summer, it's commonplace to find many of Kansas' lakes hosting a bevy of fishing tournaments for all kinds of species — catfish, crappie, bass.
But it's a bit more rare to hear of a freshwater drum tournament.
Despite, or maybe because of, its kitschy nature, Glen Elder Reservoir's first drum tournament on July 3 had a terrific showing, with 23 teams competing for the top prize of $460 and a total of 447 drum weighed. In all, 750 pounds of fish made it to the scales.
Tyler Schoen and Zoe Girard produced 101 pounds of fish at the weigh-in to garner first-place honors, with Mitchell Gourley and Craig Dilley finishing second with 75 pounds for a $287 prize.
Michael Peters and Gage Grauerholz weighed in 67 pounds for the third-place award of $160, while Johnny Dillow II and Jesse Wetzel produced 63 pound for the fourth-place prize ($42).
The big fish honors went to Michael and Kim Martin, who weighed in a 7.2-pounder that earned them $200 and a new electric filet knife donated by Norman's Northshore, while Camden Hamilton received the big fish award amongst the youths with a 2.6-pounder. His reward was a new rod and reel combo, donated by the Glen Elder Marina.
The event was also unusual in that there was no limitation on the size or bag limit — anglers could weigh as many fish as they could transport.
"We plan on hosting this event next year around the Fourth of July, so mark it on your calendars," said Scott Waters, district fisheries biologist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
Hopefully this takes off as a new holiday tradition. Drum are strong fighters and are a blast to catch. Maybe having more drum tournaments would help to improve the drum's status among anglers, as well.
KCC competes at Tuttle
Wichita's Derek Kruger and Kansas City's Kalin Caton made a last-minute decision to fish the Kansas Crappie Club tournament on Manhattan's Tuttle Creek Reservoir last weekend, but it ended up being the right one.
"Thank God Kalin brought minnows," Kruger laughed.
The duo weighed 8.95 pounds on Sunday, July 11, to take the victory over Topekans Brandon and Ken Manis by just 0.15 pounds (8.70), with Topekan Todd Morstorf and Gardner's Tony Niemeyer finishing third at 8.65 with the big fish of the tournament at 1.90 pounds.
"Terrible day at Tuttle, but it was for everybody," Kruger said.
North Newton's Frank Haidusek took fourth place with 8 pounds even, with Topekan Dustin Hobbs rounding out the top five with 7.95 pounds. The Lawrence father-son duo of Mike and Eric Schrock also broke seven pounds, finishing sixth with 7.50.
Leaders July 10 at Coffey County Lake (Wolf Creek)
Team ... Pounds of fish
1. M. Thompson/C. Thompson ... 126.50 ... $3,700
2. W. Thompson/Douglas ... 119.60 ... $2,350*
3. Vail/Feugate ... 116.40 ... $1,110
4. Park/Fischer ... 111.85 ... $750
*Includes $500 prize for big fish at 35.9 pounds
GLEN ELDER DRUM TOURNAMENT
Leaders July 3 at Glen Elder Reservoir
Team ... Pounds ... Prize
1. Schoen/Girard ... 101 ... $460
2. Gourley/Dilley ... 75 ... $287
3. Peters/Grauerholz ... 67 ... $160
4. Dillow/Wetzel ... 63 ... $42
Big fish: Martin/Martin, 7.2
Big fish (youth): Hamilton, 2.6
KANSAS CRAPPIE CLUB
Results July 11 on Tuttle Creek
Team ... Pounds of fish
1. Caton/Kruger ... 8.95
2. Manis/Manis ... 8.70
3. Morstorf/Niemeyer ... 8.65*
4. Haidusek ... 8.00
5. Hobbs ... 7.95
6. Schrock/Schrock ... 7.50
7. Peterson/Coats ... 5.75
8. Bragg/Beckstrom ... 3.85
9. Edgar/Bolejack ... 1.25
10. Conway/Puhr ... N/A
11. Sellman/Sellman ... N/A
*Big fish: Morstorf/Niemeyer, 1.90
1. Lincoln ... 2.75