Anglers Land Dozens of Monster Mississippi River Catfish During Illinois Tournament

by Megan Molseed
(Photo by Tim Ockenden - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

Anyone who has spent time on the Mississippi knows that some magnificent sights are lying just below the surface. And also deep within the river valley. Among these magnificent creatures living within the depths of the Mississippi are the multitudes of catfish of all sizes making the grand river their home. So, it stands to reason, of course, that when an angler has the opportunity to snag one of the humongous monster Mississippi catfish that reside in some areas, they will most definitely seize the opportunity!

On Saturday, anglers from all across the country set out to cast a line. Hoping to snag a major catfish trophy. During the event, at least 67 boats full of up to three angler teams set out onto the water in one Illinois town.

And, boy did it pay off! Some of the dedicated fishers found themselves pulling in some heavyweight cats, some of these even weighed more than 100 pounds. Most of the catfish brought in during the competition were blue catfish. However, one smaller flathead did make it into the mix.

Mississippi River Catfish Tournament Has One Of the Best Showings In Years

As many as nine states were represented in the Mississippi River catfish tournament. Event organizers have even noted that this year’s event was one of the best they have seen in a long time. In fact, notes tournament director Alex Nagy, this may have been the best showing the series has seen to date.

“This weigh-in was one of the best I’ve ever seen,” Nagy says of Saturday’s event.

“That shows you this area is absolutely some of the best catfishing in the country,” the director adds. “And [possibly] the world,” Nagy adds that he is pleased to see the sport of catfishing grow over the past couple of years.

“These people are so fired up and passionate about the sport,” Nagy notes. “It’s awesome to watch.”

A Massive Mississippi River Catch Leads To An Impressive Payout

The tournament’s winning team had a limit of three big blue catfish which totaled 188.80 pounds. The heaviest of the bunch weighed in at 90.89 pounds. Another one of the winning team’s catches came in at 88 pounds, making it the second-heaviest blue catfish of the day. In all, the winning team took home an impressive $5,500 in prizes.

One of the winners, Jake Nalley, works as a local fishing guide. And, the angler notes, catching the perfect catfish takes some skill and adjusting to the surroundings of the moment.

“With all the wind and the people, we anchor-fished one spot and that was it,” Nalley explains. The angler went on to note that his team used as many as four different baits throughout the event. However, it was the fresh shad that brought in their winning catfish.