300 lb catfish win the championship for the Kansas men

Anglers with winning catfish
Craig Norris (right) and Tyson Burnett with their championship-winning cats.
Flathead Club PBSS

Within 10 minutes of the start of a two-day catfish tournament on the Missouri River near Atchison, Kansas, a pair of fishermen hung a tow-pull cat monster and bent a heavy rod nearly double.

Meriden’s Craig Norris was on the stick and, after an exhausting battle, landed a large, 87.3-pound blue-bellied catfish – his largest ever.

But Norris and fishing partner Tyson Burnett of the board, Kansas, have been out of business, according to a report by KSNW-TV, a Wichita NBC affiliate.

The duo ran their boat a few miles down the Missouri River to another favorite, and 10 minutes later, just before 7 p.m., Norris hung a second giant catfish. After another epic battle, the fish got tired, worked on their boat, and brought on board a 70-pound blue catfish.

They talked about making the 90-minute boat run back to the weighing station, but while they were getting ready for the boat to board, another bait rod rocked a third big cat, and soon 27 pestles were carried on board.

They returned to Atchison for their catch weight, which was official 184.3 pounds. Then they returned to their boat, ran to a bolted catfish hole in the Missouri River, laid out baited rods, and decided to get some sleep as the day turned to night.

At two in the morning they awoke to the sound and beating of one of their laid rods, as they were doubled and a large fish was lined up. After an uphill battle, they boated another heavy catfish weighing 63 pounds.

They now had 247.3 pounds of catfish for the local PBSS Flathead Club, a local group that has been running catfish events on the Missouri River in northeastern Kansas for 20 years. But they wanted to weigh more than 300 pounds for this event. It happened at 7 a.m. when they reached the 54-pound blue catfish, bringing their combined total weight to 301.3 pounds.

“It got to the point where I said ‘I can’t believe this is happening,'” Norris told KSNW-TV. ‘We got five bites and caught five fish.’

The fishing team won the event, receiving $3,054.50 for their efforts. Their catch was more than 121 pounds off the next best team catch, leaving the winning anglers a little dumbfounded.

“It was a good feeling,” Norris said. “Really, I didn’t think we’d get past the 300. But when we did, we were excited about it. That’s too big. I don’t know how to explain it, but I don’t think he’s going to be defeated again.”

“Just spending time on the water can help,” Norris said. “You may not catch anything but you are still learning. There are days when I go there, I may not get a bite but I still learn something from it.”

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