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Catfish Mania

Published on: Jul. 22, 2009

I spent Saturday night and Sunday morning on the Missouri River with two Nebraska natives who came all that way to compete in the Waverly Cats tournament. Larry Dorsch and Tim Hager, both of Auburn, Neb., were my hosts for the evening.

This was my first catfish tournament, and several things caught me by surprise. One was the fact that catfish anglers apparently think nothing of curling up on the bare decks of their boats to catch a few winks while the temperature drops into the 50s and their clothes accumulate enough dew to feel like it’s been through a rain shower. I don’t really know what I expected, but their hardihood impressed me.

I was astonished to learn that Larry and Tim annually attend a dozen tournaments as far away as the Red River in Canada and they look forward to seeing anglers they have known for nearly 20 years.

I was a little surprised to see half a dozen kayaks out on the river. My guess is they were training for the Missouri River 340, a paddling ultramarathon in which hundreds of competitors from all over the United States and Canada will race from Kansas City to St. Charles Aug. 4-7.

Going into the trip, I assumed the focus of the event was money--nearly $4,000 in prize money in this tournament alone. I learned better. “If a person fishes for the money, he’s going to go broke!” laughed Tim. They finished just out of the money, but their spirits--if not their clothes--were undampened.

By the way, there is a terrific barbecue place on south side of Highway 24 near the eastern edge of Waverly. Besides being some of the best I’ve ever tasted, the half-slab of ribs they served up provided supper, a midnight snack and part of breakfast the next day! I’d go out of my way to visit Waverly and get more!

Fishing

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