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Armstrong Co. catfish tournament reels in sizable crowd

Cory Cullum shows off his 18-pound, 5-ounce flathead catfish that was the largest catch during Cadogan Field & Stream's Catfish Tournament held Sunday, June 29, 2014, on the Allegheny River in Armstrong County.

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Friday, July 4, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Eighty anglers took to the Allegheny River last weekend hoping to bring home more than just a fish.

Entrants from across Armstrong County in two-person teams competed in the Cadogan Field & Stream Catfish Tournament, the first of two planned for this summer.

This is the second year the club has hosted catfishing competitions. The entry fee was $20 per team with cash prizes offered to the top three teams.

“We had 80 people total, and our last tournament had even more than that,” Cadogan Field & Stream vice president Jason Heilman said. “Most of the people who fished were local, but some of the farthest ones came in from Leechburg and Adrian.”

The event is one of many that the growing organization holds throughout the year, including an annual youth trout derby and turkey shoots. The club, located on Hill Road in South Buffalo Township, is approaching 100 members with roughly 20 new members joining this year, according to Heilman.

“As long as we're able to have people show up for these events, the numbers should increase,” he said.

Heilman credited his cousin, Zack Milligan, for the idea to begin staging catfish tournaments, and said the idea caught on quickly. The next Cadogan Field & Stream Catfish Tournament is scheduled for Sept. 6, and Heilman said turnout should increase from last weekend with fewer people away on vacation.

As for this edition of the tournament, first prize went to the father-son team of Joe and Cory Cullum, who caught three fish weighing a combined 31 pounds, 14 ounces.

The Cullum's haul included the largest catch of the day, a flathead catfish weighing 18 pounds, 5 ounces that measured 36 inches, according to Ben Petrosky, who helped to run the official weigh-in. That single fish outweighed all other teams' total weights for the weekend.

Second place went to brothers Jeff and Mike Saxion, while third place was the team of Ryan Davilla and Bill Mechling.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.

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