A Lindale fisherman took top honors at the Yantis Catfish Classic. Johnny Brown reeled in a 13.20 big cat in the 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. hour on Saturday, the first day of the tournament. Brown won the top prize of $3,500 and another $400 for the hour’s heaviest fish.
Second place went to Larry Jenkins who won $2,500 and another $400 for top fish in Saturday’s 11 a.m. to noon hour.
The weather was perfect and the tournament drew a record number of 290 anglers. “I am so thankful for all of those who came out to fish and support us this year,” Tournament Director Jerry Miller, also the mayor of Yantis, said. “I am so thankful for all of our sponsors and to all of those who gave their time to make this successful again.”
This year’s event was dedicated to the memory of Ken Freeman of Freeman Outdoor Promotions who died in the past year. “We wanted to honor Ken for all the years he did so much for us. We sure do miss him. His better half, Laura, donated several of the items we were able to give away,” Miller added. “Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.”
An 11-year-old female angler, Izzy Stroman, had a career day. “Izzy tried to take all the money. She was on the stage five or six times with winners,” Miller added. She won first place in the Youth division (under 17), the Lady Angler Division and won money by being in the top three of the hour four different times. Her largest catch was a 9.92 Sunday morning in the 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. hour. Her winnings added up to close to $1,000.
The tournament is a fundraiser for the Yantis Volunteer Fire Department. “I can’t say thank you enough for all of you supporting this event. This is our only fundraiser and it helps us to keep this fire department updated with equipment and things we need to have to be the best we can be,” Fire Chief Wesley Crist said. “I also want to honor a lady who goes all the way to Dallas and gets us prizes to give away and has been here for us for in the past, Teresa Hammonds.”
Miller further talked about the fire department. “We try to do our best to raise money for our fire department. We were able to give $20,000 last year and hope to equal that and more this year,” Miller noted. “The folks in this fire department go out and save lives and property and they don’t get paid a dime. We are glad to raise the money for them to be able to buy equipment and whatever they need be successful.”