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Whopper blue paves way for King Kat winners' limit

By STEVE VANTREESE

A single whopper blue catfish was a major contributor toward an Arkansas team of brothers winning the recent Cabela's King Kat Tournament Trail event on the Ohio River out of Metropolis, Ill.

With two-angler teams looking to fill five-fish limits with the heaviest possible fish, Jason and Daryl Masingale of Paragould, Arkansas, brought aboard a genuine jumbo blue cat early in the day. They followed up by landing seven more good ones from which to cull their total of five for the scales.

The Masingales won going away: Four of their whiskerfish averaged about 17 pounds each, but their best â “ the biggest single fish of the tournament â “ weighed 71.38 pounds. Their total of 139.12 pounds earned first place money of $3,000, and the big fish of the day brought them another $800.

That biggest fish was caught near Paducah on the Ohio. It hit as the Masingales worked cut bait from Asian carp and skipjack in 35-40 feet of water, targeting wood and other submerged structure.

Second place went to Jon Warden of Festus, Missouri, and Jeff Dodd of Trenton, Tennessee, who brought in a limit of catfish weighing 114.98 pounds from 30-40 feet of water in the Paducah area.

Third were Corinth, Mississippi, teammates Phil King and Tim Haynie, close behind the runners-up with a limit and 111.78 pounds taken from near Smithland Dam and along the river channel a short run downstream.

n Benton angler Craig Hipsher adjusted shallower to win the recent Walmart Bass Fishing League's LBL Division tournament out of Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park.

Turning away from an earlier plan to fish deep brush piles on ledges, Hipsher primarily fished big spinnerbaits on Kentucky Lake flats in about four feet of water. He caught good bass feeding there, accumulating a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 13 ounces to top the tournament's Pro Division.

Hipsher needed the heavy haul to hold off Paducah's Terry Bolton Jr., who brought in a limit weighing 22-9, claiming the runner-up spot. Bolton, in turn, barely squeaked in ahead of David Young of Mayfield, who took third place among pros with a limit of 22-8.

Despite the hefty catches of the top three, fishing was somewhat difficult in relative Kentucky-Barkley terms. It took just over 14 pounds to make the top 10, and only 15 limits were recorded among pros.

Only two limits were scored by Co-Angler Division competitors. Darrell Carroll of Independence, Kentucky, led all co-anglers with the best limit among them, five bass weighing 19-14.

Carroll caught his division-winning sack of bass while paired with Paducah's Billy Schroeder, sixth among pros with a 17-5 limit.

n The Land Between the Lakes' Woodlands Nature Station hosts its annual Hummingbird Festival 10 a.m.-4 p.m. today and Sunday. Programs and activities center around a concentration of ruby-throated hummingbirds seen at the Nature Station's feeders during August as the hummers' southward migration peaks.

Hummingbird viewing is a large part of the event, visitors sometimes able to see up to 200 birds a day using feeding stations. In addition, visitors can observe as biologists trap, band and release some hummingbirds each day.

Admission is $6 for ages 13 and up, $4 for kids 5-12 and free for younger children.

August is peak hummingbird season in the LBL National Recreation Area. During August, hundreds of hummingbirds stop by the Nature Station's gardens and feeders to rest and to fuel up for their migratory journey south.

On Sundays at 3 p.m., guests can attend "Hummingbird 101." This "intro course" in their air conditioned theater will provide interesting facts including how you can help these tiny birds along their way.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m., Nature Station guests can help staff refill the many backyard feeders during this daily ritual.

People will understand why this program is called "Hummingbird Feeding Frenzy." The best time to see the hummingbirds up close is at feeding time.

Thursdays in August will offer special bird programs at 2 p.m. in the Nature Station theater.

These include Backyard Birding: From Hummingbirds to Hawks, Aug. 7; Migration Miracles, Aug. 14; Hummingbird Folklore, Aug. 21; Beautiful and Bizarre Birds of Land Between The Lakes, Aug. 28.

On three Saturdays in Aug. 9, 16, and 23 at 9 a.m., the Nature Station will open to 10 people to enjoy photographing the hummingbirds, butterflies, and native plants, as well as captive wildlife such as the red wolves and bobcat, during their most active time of day.

Cost is $10 a person per session. Reservations can be made by calling 270-924-2020.

For questions about Hummingbird Month at the Nature Station, call 270-924-2299. Follow the Nature Station on Twitter @LBLNature and Pinterest.

Steve Vantreese is a freelance outdoors writer. E-mail outdoors news items to outdoors@paducahsun.com or phone 270-575-8650.

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