Smith: Lake Fork Catfish Classic fun for the whole family
By Chris Smith
June 18, 2014 at 4:58 p.m.
For the past 5 years the Lake Fork Sportsman's Association along with the Lake Fork area Chamber of Commerce has held its annual Lake Fork Catfish Classic.
Each year the event has grown in popularity and payouts for the winners are outstanding.
The LFSA is a nonprofit organization with a mission statement of "through its membership, will strive to protect and promote Lake Fork's natural resources for future generations by working with State and local agencies."
Lake projects such as aquatic vegetation planting and invasive species control are some of the LFSA accomplishments but their most recognizable symbol is the "Live Release Boat" on hand at any event on the lake free of charge. Protecting the lake's resources and environmental health are at the base of good conservation practices.
Well known as perhaps the world's best largemouth bass fishery, Lake Fork also has a phenomenal catfish population.
Evidence is in the results of the 2013 weigh in. Taking first place and $6000 cash home was Phil Johnson of Heath, Texas. Johnson brought in a 37.4 pound Flathead on the second day of the event to take the overall prize.
The tournament also has hourly weigh-ins awarding the top four fish with first receiving $400, $300 for second, $200 for third and $100 for fourth. Additional incentives for a family trip include cash prizes for Top Senior, Top Youth, and Top Female. Another perk for the family is kids 12 and under fish free with a paying adult. Keeping the kids involved with the competition adds to fun of the trip.
After the final weigh-in concludes, contestants are eligible for door prizes and several different raffles. Friends, family and fans gather around to watch the awards ceremony and see all the winners congratulated. Watching a kid walk across the weigh-in stage with their check and trophy is worth an entry fee regardless.
The tournament will be held at Oak Ridge Marina, June 21st and 22nd.
Hours are 6:00 am to 2:00 pm with the scales opening at 7:00 am for the first hourly weigh-in. If this type of event sounds interesting to you and yours, I recommend checking it out. Just watching the big catfish being weighed is fun but catching them is even better. The LFSA has a website and all the information for this event as well as current, past and future projects the group has planned.