Kelly Bostian: Keystone Catfish Festival a tasty success
BY KELLY BOSTIAN Outdoors
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
6/05/12 at 5:52 AM
Go to Kelly Bostian's blog Original Print Headline: Catfish festival makes for a fun day
A little bluegrass music, a mess of fish in the fryer, some shade trees, a summer breeze and a big catfish weigh-in - that's a great way to spend an afternoon and that's what hundreds of people enjoyed Saturday at Feyodi Park in Cleveland.
The 3rd Annual Keystone Catfish Festival had a good showing on the weigh-in stage with Laban Miles of Pawhuska taking top honors in the noodling category with a 57-pound flathead, and longtime Cleveland resident Franklin D. Griffith winning the rod-and-reel (or other legal means) category with a snag-lined flathead that weighed 55 pounds. Each of the men was awarded a $500 check.
I was invited to emcee the weigh-in and had a good time up there with all the fishermen and hope at least a little of our joviality rubbed off on the crowd.
Griffith, always ready to share a joke, carried a contraption onto the stage that has the butt of a fishing rod connected to a fly swatter. "I got him fly-fishing," he said of his big flathead.
Pawhuska boys Miles and longtime noodling partner Lloyd Arnce actually had a pair of nice flatheads. Miles caught his with his hands, Arnce pulled up his 48-pound flathead from a jug line baited with a "black perch." He took second place and $200 in the rod-and-reel category.
Miles said the 57-pounder put up a good tussle but obviously it was nothing he and Arnce couldn't handle. They have been regulars at the Pauls Valley Noodling Tournament and have chased catfish together "more than 10 years, anyway," Miles said.
"When you work at it together a long time you get so you know what the other guy is doing," Miles said. "You can't see anything down there but you each kind of know what the other guy is doing by the way they're moving and what you feel and you get to be a pretty good team ... It's been a long time since we let one get by us."
Dillon Simpson of Cromwell, last year's second-place winner, hauled in a 50-pound flathead from the North Canadian that earned him the $100 third-place prize. Last year it was won with a 53-pound fish caught by Simpson's noodling partner Nathan Williams. Simpson took second with a 47-pounder.
The competition was a little tougher this year, and so was the noodling.
"It was a lot colder (this year)," Simpson said. "The river where we're at was a little deeper, too."
I enjoyed seeing a blue cat make it into the standings. Larry Castleberry of Cleveland pulled in a 42-pound blue to take third in the rod-and-reel category for a $100 prize.
With so many noodling shows becoming popular I just kind of feel like the blue gets overlooked sometimes. It's a fantastic game fish - and good eating, too.
Also great to see this year was a new category for kids age 12 and under. Trinton Hiltzman brought up a 22-pound catfish for first place to win a new rod and reel and a Clevelandopoly game and Martin Copeland's 3-pounder took second place and netted him a Clevelandopoly game as well.
In all, 55 fishermen entered the contest and 25 brought in fish to be weighed, according to chamber intern Layne Ferguson.
"It raised just under $5,000 so we're pretty pleased with it," Ferguson said. Some of the money will be used for other events but most will go back into next year's catfish festival, he said.
"A lot of it will go back into the event and making it bigger and better every year," he said.
Laban Miles of Pawhuska grips his first-prize, $500-winning, 57-pound flathead catfish Saturday at the Keystone Catfish Festival. KELLY BOSTIAN / Tulsa World