Tuesday, January 31st, 2023
Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

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Catfish, bass and walleyes make for big river weekend

Rock Island, Ill. —  The third weekend of September was an unusually busy one for competitive angling in and around the Quad Cities area, as three different events featuring three different species of fish were held.

The Cabela’s KingKat Western National Championship, the 40th annual Children’s Therapy Center Bass tournament and the Illinois Walleye Trail all went off without a hitch on local waters – waters that this time of year are normally somewhat placid and clear.

But not this year. 

The Mississippi River was several feet above “normal” stage and turbid, while the Rock River was just the opposite – low and slow. Both made boat driving and angling much more challenging, but that didn’t stop anglers who came here from all parts of the country.

• Cabela’s KingKat conducts a circuit of 16 qualifying tournaments across the country that lead to two national championships: Eastern, which was held in South Carolina, and Western, held in the Quad Cities this year.  

Angling teams that qualify for the championship can compete in either or both events. The Western championship drew anglers from a dozen states. Competition waters included Mississippi River Pools 14, 15 and 16, and the Rock River from its confluence with the Mississippi to Erie, Ill. 

Tournament rules were a bit unique in that anglers did not have a central take-off location in the morning – they were allowed to position themselves anywhere in tournament waters and start fishing at 6 a.m., quit at 3 p.m., then head to the weigh-in at Rock Island by 4 p.m. 

Polygraph tests kept it all on the up and up.

James McCallister and Todd Misfelt, both of Erie, won the event and it’s $10,000 cash first- place prize fishing in the Rock River. Neil Petzel and Pete Morland, both of Ladd, took second and big fish honors anchored in the Mississippi River pool 15. 

n The 40th annual Children’s Therapy Center of the Quad Cities Charity Bass Tournament had a bit of an unusual twist at the Albany (Mississippi River pool 14) weigh-in scale. This year, two young anglers, brothers Cole and Tanner Atkinson – ages 17 and 20 – both of the Mississippi River town of Camanche, Iowa, accepted the champion’s check of $3,000. Veteran bassers Bob Walker, of Clinton, Iowa, and Mike Ottens, of Sterling, Ill., took second place. 

This event was the final of four stops on the three-year-old Great River Charity Bass Tournament Circuit, where bragging rights are highly sought and respected.

Competition was so tight that the top spot ended up in a tie: Chuck Fiser, of Aledo, and Ted Cole, of Moline, earned the same number of points, as Jim Combs, of Rockford, and Luke Berry, of Machesney Park, divided the first-place charity circuit prize of $1,000 cash and an array of top-shelf angling equipment. 
Roger Koopman, of Andalusia, and J.J. Patton, of Eldridge, Iowa, were third. 

• The Illinois Walleye Trail made a stop Sept. 21 on Mississippi Pool 14 out of Albany, drawing some 24 boats. 

While most livewells were far from full, five walleyes above the 20- to 27-inch slot limit were caught. Max Actis and Mike Stackert took top honors; Gary Merkel and John Smith were second while son and father Mica and Steve Killinger, both of the Quad Cities area, were third (Home­towns were not available for the winners).

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