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Catfish Roundup coming to Higgins Ferry

This weekend’s Catfish Roundup at Higgins Ferry Park will be a first-of-its-kind tournament for the area. And if phone calls are any indication, there will be plenty of competition out on the water Saturday.

“I think it’s going to be a good turnout because people have called left and right,” said Michael Stange of Billingsley, who helped organize the tournament.

Stange participated in a catfish tournament on the Alabama River recently and was inspired to bring a similar event to Lake Mitchell.

“Me and my buddies just thought it would be a good idea to have one here,” Stange said.

Registration for the Roundup will be held Saturday, May 1 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Higgins Ferry Park. While participants are not required to launch from Higgins Ferry, they must be registered by 11, Stange said.

The tournament will begin at noon Saturday and last until noon Sunday. It will consist of two contests — the main tournament, which will be judged by weight, and a big fish contest. Entry fees are $25 for the main tournament and $10 for the big fish contest.

Winners will receive cash prizes based on the number of entrants. The winner of the weigh-in will receive 90 percent of the pot, and the big fish winner will receive 100 percent of the big fish pot.

Stange also stressed that fishermen must follow all game rules.

Higgins Ferry Park Ranger Frank Atkinson pointed out a new law that places a limit on catfish of a certain size. Someone cannot possess more than one catfish measuring more than 34 inches. Any fish that falls into this category must be weighed in and released before the participant may continue in the tournament.

Atkinson said he is excited about the tournament. He expects to see several catfish weighing up to 80 pounds.

“This is unique. We’ve never had a catfish tournament down here,” Atkinson said.