Memphis was an appropriate place for the Bass Pro Shops Big Cat Quest (BCQ) on May 9, 2015. Memphis is located on the banks of the might Mississippi, so there was sure to be some big catfish around. Memphis is also home to the newest Bass Pro Shops store, located in the Pyramid, making it an appropriate place for the competition.
Bass Pro Shops spokesman and fishing legend, Bill Dance describes the new store in an online video. “You are not going to believe what you see,” said Dance. “When finished it will be one of the largest retail stores in the entire world. I am so proud of this store, especially because it is here in my hometown.”
As the story goes, Johnny Morris contemplated the new store while fishing in the shadow of the Pyramid with longtime friend Bill Dance and Bass Pro Shops’ first fishing manager, the late Jack Emmitt. Johnny Morris said if they caught a 30-pound or heavier catfish that day he would commit to the Pyramid transformation. As luck would have it, they caught a 34-pound catfish and the rest is history.
A tribute to the story and the legacy of Bill Dance as a world-renowned fisherman can be found in the grand entrance of the Pyramid. Dance is an avid catfish angler and was on hand at the BCQ tournament to fish with the Catfish Xpress team of George Young and Cary Long.
Anglers had to combat some inclement weather that produced some early morning storms, but catfish anglers are a hearty bunch and a little weather was not going to stop them from doing what they do best.
When the weigh in was complete the brothers Masingale took top honors. Jason and Darryl Masingale of Paragould, AR weathered the early morning storms and brought a bag of 127.75 pounds to the scales to capture the win. The brothers are frequent competitors on the catfish trail, but this was their first Bass Pro Shops BCQ win in Memphis.
Jason Masingale also weighed in the big fish of the tournament, a 44.40-pound monster.
Rounding out the top 5 were the following teams:
Second Place: James Hamby and Todd Parmenter, Ripley, TN – 108.10 pounds.
Third Place: Chris Peyton, Scott Mathis, Mike Conrad, Henning, TN – 100.60 pounds.
Fourth Place: Jason Aycock and Ben Webber, East Prairie and Kirkwood, MO – 97.85 pounds.
Fifth Place: Jeff Kirkpatrick and Barry Wilson, Ripley, TN – 90.25 pounds.
B’n’M Poles pro staffer, Jason Aycock, reported good fishing and catching conditions. “The only issue was a storm that came through around 7:30. That was a little scary, but it didn’t last long. The river is falling but that is what I like to fish. We caught fish all day long and even had to cull a 37-inch fish, which broke my heart, but I’m sure others had to as well. We had one fish that we were trying to get rid of but just couldn’t find one to replace it. I don’t think I have ever fished that hard for a 20 pound fish.”
The Aycock team bottom bounced most of the day using B’n’M rods. “The last 2 hours of the tournament we did anchor up and walk baits,” reported Aycock. “I love the Memphis area. It is a good stretch of the Mississippi River. his tournament usually carries some good fisherman also. It’s always good to meet up with good friends.”
Sixth place finisher at Memphis and 2013 and 2014 Big Cat Quest Angler of the Year, Larry Muse, had nothing but praise for the winners. “We caught some nice short fish. Just couldn’t get a big bite. Congrats to Masingale Catfishing!!! Them boys are always tough!!!”
The next Big Cat Quest is scheduled for June 13, 2015 on the Ohio River, Henderson, KY. The tournament schedule has recently been revised. You can check it out on the Big Cat Quest Facebook page.