Clarksville anglers reel in big catfish from Cumberland River

Philip Sparn Reporting

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – A group of Clarksville catfish anglers launched their boats into the waters of the Cumberland River at the Clarksville Marina early Saturday morning, July 13, to participate in the Cumberland River Catman’s Association monthly catfish tournament.

Neville Watkins and Tony Fuller from Clarksville won first place in the tournament by pulling in several catfish weighing a total of 54.2 pounds and they also caught the top fish of the day weighing 23.6 pounds.

Watkins and Fuller won $235 and a chance at the grand prize for total weight brought in at the end of the year.


“Getting outside on a beautiful day and catching big fish is what it is all about,” said Watkins. “It’s a lot of fun come out on the river, pull in some some big fish and hang out with a good group of guys.”

Watkins also pointed out that getting a big catfish is great, but talking “smack” about it to all the other guys afterwards is probably the best part.

Ken Harris and Kevin Speaks of Clarksville came away with second place in the tournament pulling in a couple of catfish weighing a total of 34.5 pounds.


Five two-man teams participated in this month’s catfish tournament, as turnout was low due to the high waters and strong currents in the Cumberland River after recent heavy rainfall in the Middle-Tennessee area.

The monthly tournament normally has around 10-15 boat entries with a lot bigger prize pools, according to Cumberland River Catman’s Association president Tony Fuller.

The Cumberland River Catman’s Association holds their monthly catfish tournament on the second Saturday of every month throughout the entire year.

Most of the Tournaments are in the Clarksville-Montgomery County area and there is no membership required to enter the tournaments. The entry fee for each tournament is $50 and all the fees go into the prize pool for the tournament winners.


“Most people don’t realize how good catfishing is here in Clarksville,” said Fuller. “The Cumberland River is one of the top ten ranked catfishing rivers in the United States… Two of the world championships for catfishing have been held here in Clarksville on the Cumberland River, including the one held here last year.”

For more information on the Cumberland River Catman’s Association and their monthly tournament contact Tony Fuller by phone at 931-624-4738 or by email at

The Big Cat Quest catfish tournament sponsored by Bass Pro Shops is also coming to Clarksville next month. The nationwide tour catfish tournament will be held on August 3, 2013 in Clarksville on the Cumberland River. For more information visit


Photos by Philip Sparn |