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Print

Catfish anglers shake off the chill for shakedown tournament

March 30, 2011 at 10:50 AM

The State Journal-Register

It’s called a “Shakedown Tournament,” but the only things shaking – or shivering – were the anglers.

The Lake Springfield Open Buddy Catfish Tournament Series held its kick-off event March 26, and the report from organizer Willie Schrader was one word – miserable.

“The ice didn’t melt off my jacket until after 9 a.m.,” Schrader says. “It was so cold it was hard to cast.”

And when anglers tried to cast the line seized up in the reels – sending bait flying off the hook.

“The first cast didn’t go very far,” he says. “I casted and threw my bait off. We had to wait until the reels warmed up a little bit.”

Schrader, who runs a tournament series that has been growing in popularity, says the weather kept attendance down this time.

“It was a miserable day,” he says with a laugh. “We had 16 boats total, and we only had seven boats weigh fish.”

Still, some good-sized fish were caught.

John Bowling and Jake Branham took first with 63.7 pounds, including the big fish of the day – a 31.54-pound flathead catfish.

Second place went to Rick and Ray Booth with 45.14 pounds.

In third place with 39.86 pounds was the team of Bill Blankenship and Rusty Rutherford.

The official season opener is April 23.

It will be a daytime tournament with hours from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

For more information, call Willie at (217) 629-7915.

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