Catfish tournament set for Ohio River, tributaries
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Benjamin Sladick remembers the stories his grandfather used to tell.
A mill worker, he used to talk about the giant catfish swimming in Pittsburgh's then-murky rivers. They were big enough to have scared scuba divers, he said.
Tall tales, you say?
Sladick is hoping to prove otherwise. He's organizing a catfish tournament, the Field & Stream Catfish Classic, in Monaca on Aug. 2 in hopes of seeing some monsters caught.
The tournament — the first of what he hopes will become an annual event — is being sponsored by his employer, Field & Stream in Cranberry, and a host of other local bait and tackle shops and gear manufacturers.
Sladick is expecting a good turnout.
“It used to be you could go to any spot along the rivers without worrying about competition. Now on a lot of nights, if you don't get there early, you have to fight to get a spot,” said Sladick, known to his friends as the “Beaver County Cat Daddy” because of his own obsession.
That's a credit to the size and distribution of the fish, said Tim Reddinger of Reddi Bait and Tackle in Bridgewater, another tournament sponsor. Anglers will compete as two-man teams. They will be able to weigh in a combined five catfish of any species.
It will take five, and probably five flatheads, to come out on top, Reddinger predicted.
“Knowing my guys around here, I wouldn't be surprised if it takes 100 pounds to win, a 20-pound-per-fish average,” Reddinger said.
What's amazing is how many such catfish exist locally, he said. The Ohio River holds countless areas where anglers who know what they're doing can realistically expect to pick up catfish weighing 25 pounds and more.
“I could take you from spot to spot to spot to spot. It just goes and goes,” Reddinger said. “We're just really fortunate to have as much good fishing as we do.”
The tournament will offer, among other things, a prize for the heaviest single catfish caught. Slavick is expecting that fish to be big. His personal-best flathead stretched 45-plus inches and weighed an estimated 40 pounds. He won't be surprised if someone tops that.
No matter what, though, he's sure everyone who develops a passion for catfish will be glad they did.
“Being out on that calm water on a warm night finding big fish, there's nothing better,” he said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Game commission to consider longer buck, bear seasons
- Frye: Mystery rifle stirs memories
- Pa. Fish and Boat Commission makes controversial trout decision
- Fish and Boat Commissioners look for chances to get kids outside
- Mentored hunting program gets tweaked
- Outdoor notices: Jan. 25, 2015
- Outdoors notebook: Legislature considering outdoors proposals