Triton Angler Phil King wins Bass Pro Shop Big Cat Quest World Championship with short lived tournament record
Phil King, who has been chasing catfish for 30 years, said there's two things he was hoping to accomplish as an angler: 1.) Win a world championship and 2.) Catch a catfish over 100 pounds.
He accomplished both at the Bass Pro Shop Big Cat Quest World Championship in Memphis, Tenn., this weekend.
Around 10 a.m., King hooked up with what he knew was a big fish. He and teammates Tim Haynie and Lealon Harris pulled their anchor on the Mississippi River and let the catfish pull them around. Thirty minutes later, Haynie scooped up the fish with a net.
King couldn't help but smile when emcee Ken Hoover asked him if his big catch was going to overtake Dianne Garner's 49.35-pound catfish as the biggest of the day.
"I think we're going to have a new leader," King said. When they dumped the fish into the plastic container they were weighing the fish in and it shattered, Hoover knew King wasn't blowing smoke.
The fish weighed in at 103 pounds, setting the U.S. record for a catfish weighed in during a tournament.
"I've been trying to break the century mark my entire life," King said. "This is something I'll never forget."
Incredibly, Cary Winchester, fishing with partner Harold Dodd, weighed in a 108-pound catfish in the final on Sunday, which is only 16 pounds shy of the world record for a blue catfish. This beat King's largest fish and set a new tournament record for the second time in two days. It was the only fish they brought to the stage.
King said he wasn't too upset his record only lasted 24 hours, but his attitude could have been skewed because he, along with teammates Tim Haynie and Lealon Harris, had just won the world championship. They had a nearly 50-pound lead coming into the final on Sunday, and it only got worse for the competition.
Before the tournament, some of the anglers estimated that it would take around 100 pounds a day to win, but King, Haynie, and Harris finished with 291 pounds after a 127.5-pound final.
"There's so many good fishermen in this tournament, I think you've got to have a little luck to win," Haynie said. "We've been lucky the last two days, but we've fished hard and we've fished some areas that we know hold good fish."
But really, there wasn't too much focus on the win or the impressive 291 total.
"On this river, I wouldn't have been surprised if we had four fish go over 100 pounds," Haynie said. "They're in there — no doubt about it."
There were nearly 100 teams in the competition and they are looking for flat head, channel, and blue catfish, but, in accordance with Tennessee law, they are only allowed to bring back two catfish that are over 34 inches.
The 108-pound fish was taken to a water tank that was set up to hold some of the larger fish, and it kept the attention of the fans and the anglers who were coming in.