BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – For the first time in more than three years, Fort Madison will play host to a national fishing tournament.
The Cabela’s King Kat Tournament Trail will stop on Fort Madison’s river banks Aug. 11-12 for one of the tournament’s four Super events. The tournament was in Fort Madison nine years ago when the group held its year-end championship at Pool 19 on the Mississippi.
Tournament Director Jeremy Coe said his group is thrilled to bring the tournament back to Fort Madison.
“We had one of our first ever classics there 8 or 9 years ago. The reason we like the Fort Madison area is because the fisherman like it,” Coe said. ” You’ve got all the amenities.. food, hotel, everything they want when they are off the water. On the water, it’s probably one of the best fisheries there is from there north. Primarily a channel cat fishery and that fishing is tremendous right there in the pool. Probably the best in the country. At that time of the year you might pull some flat heads out of there, too.”
Fort Madison Partners Executive Director Tim Gobble said the event cost the city about $10,000 to bring the tournament in, but the tournament handles everything from set up to tear down and handles all the staffing.
Boulders Inn & Suites is the host hotel for the event and Comfort Inn & Suites is the site for the tournament seminar and registrations. As part of the tourney there is also a free kids fishing rodeo Saturday at Lake Wilson west of Fort Madison. Coe said there is no pre-registration required for the kid’s rodeo.
“They come out and fish with us and we give away some prizes. At end end of the year we draw six- $1000 scholarships and everyone that fishes in the rodeo gets entered into those drawings,” Coe said. “So far we’ve given out $348,000 in scholarships. So just show up from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Lake Wilson and we’ll get you signed up and go from there.”
The tourney itself has a guaranteed purse of $10,000 with less than 50 boats, but at 50 the purse goes up, which Coe said he believes will happen.
“It’s guaranteed at $10,000 and payback based on numbers. At 50 boats is where it starts going up. I think it will be higher than that. Fort Madison is as good a fishing as there is anywhere in the country,” he said.
“The last time the tournament was in town it was an end of the year tournament that was for everyone that qualified throughout the year. But we had a lot of boats there. This year it’s one of four of our Super events. It’s a two-day tournament with the winner having the combined heaviest stringer over the tournament. And then we have the Big Fish pot, and that pot goes to whatever the biggest fish is.”
According to tournament data compiled as an average of the tournament’s last four Super events, the event stands to bring in about $270,000 figuring the money spent by those staffing and participating in the tournament for 2 days plus an average of 1.5 days in the city prior to the event by teams exploring the river prior to the tournament.
Those wishing to participate in the event may do so by calling 502-384-5924, sign up on the website at www.kingkatusa.com, or mail in the entry to 220 Mohawk Ave., Louisville, KY 40209.
Tournament rules and regulations can be found at the Cabela’s King Kat Tournament Trail website at http://www.kingkatusa.com/tournament_trail.cfm.