|Catfish ruled the weekend in Yantis|
|Patti Sells | News-Telegram Feature Editor|
July 18, 2005 - Catfish were a big hit this past weekend in Yantis at the Catfish Day Parade & Dinner held in conjunction with the 2nd Annual Big Catfish Splash fishing tournament held at Lake Fork.
This year's tournament , sponsored by Sealy Outdoors and presented by the Lake Fork area Chamber of Commerce, more than doubled that of last years event bringing 686 participants representing three states to the area.
Anglers young and old dropped their hooks at 6 a.m. Saturday morning in anticipation of winning a portion of the $49,500 to be given away in cash and prizes during the two day event. The competition had eight hourly payouts per day for the top five fish caught, as well as overall and bonus winners.
First place hourly winners took home $500, second place-$400, third place-$300, fourth place-$200 and fifth place-$100.
The first weigh in at 8 a.m. Saturday brought a steady stream of fishermen into the docks of the Minnow Bucket Marina and continued every hour with those hoping to win the hourly prizes that totaled $1500. When the horn sounded at 3 p.m. bringing the first fishing day to an end, Ron Veazey of Yantis led the way with a catch of 11.76 pounds.
The Catfish Day Parade & Dinner followed at 5 p.m. Saturday with more than 30 floats, antique tractors, old cars, horseback riders, fire trucks and many other entries making their way to Yantis Community Center to enjoy an all-u-can-eat catfish dinner with all the trimmings.
Yantis Volunteer Firemen served approximately 500 guests with donations for the meal going towards the purchase of new equipment, according to Yantis Mayor Jerry Miller.
On Sunday, anglers once again loaded up their boats and headed to Lake Fork in hopes of catching the big one. But in the end it was Eddie Sanchez Jr., of Dallas, who reeled in a 12.81 pound catfish to take home the first place prize.
According to Sanchez, things didn't look good for him on the first day of the tournament when his fishing partner's boat experienced some trouble near Hideaway Harbor. But Jerry Martin from the Hideaway Harbor RV Park came to their rescue and let them borrow his own boat.
Sanchez's luck changed on the second and last day of the event when he landed the 12.81 pound catfish using shrimp as his bait. He won the first place hourly prize of $500 and was later named the overall winner, which won him a plaque, and a Triton aluminum boat, Mercury motor and trailer from H&W Marine, the official Triton/Mercury Dealer.
Local Ron Veazey, who held the lead after the first day, ended up with the second place prize, a Triton aluminum boat and trailer, in addition to his first place hourly win of $500 the day before. He caught his fish using punch bait, but wouldn't divulge his secrete ingredients.
Another local, Bob Young, also of Yantis, took home third place with his 10.34 catch on Saturday. The prize for the third place overall winner was $2000 dollars. The former crappy guide used cut bait to catch his fish, but took his chance on stage to plug his homemade crappy lures.
Fourth place went to Herbert O'Brian, of Arkansas. He pulled in a 9.30 pound catfish using a New Mexico water dog. His fish won him $1500.
Dewayne "Bubba" Roach, of Greenville, was the fifth place prize winner. He was awarded $1000 for his 9.10 pound fish that was caught with chicken liver.
The first one to bring in an "exact weight fish" of 7 pounds won a bonus prize in the amount of $2500. That prize was awarded to Doren Smith of Oklahoma.
According to Bob Sealy, spokesperson and sponsor of the event, next year's tournament will possibly be scheduled for May in expectations of cooler weather, more entries and even bigger fish.