After describing fishing a tournament in a torrential downpour and relentless winds, Crestliner Pro Staffer Shawn Estes only has one thing to say: “In my book, there’s nothing better! And, I love my boat” Okay, so that’s two things.
Shawn, who lives in Campbellsburg, Kentucky, took delivery of his 2200 Intruder last spring and has fished one long season on it in the company of fellow Crestliner Pro Staffer and former classmate Tim McManis. The pair, known as “Team Cat’n Around,” placed in several tournaments last year—most notably a third-place finish in the Iron Man Catfish Tournament on the Ohio River in Carrollton, Kentucky, and a second-place finish in the Big Cat Tournament, also on the Ohio, but in Madison, Indiana.
These cat’ fishermen spend their time playing the Ohio and Kentucky Rivers and prefer anchoring in swift to high water. “It can be scary, but that’s where they bite,” says Shawn of the current. Knowing he’s on a stable, well-built boat takes away any trepidation. “I know how strong it is,” he says. And best of all, it keeps him dry. “My old boat would just get you wet. You’d just get soaked. But the Intruder splits the waves right open. And that windshield protects you.
The guys sometimes use skipjack as cut bait. “Oh boy, then do we got a mess,” Shawn says. That’s why he appreciates the optional wash-down system. But they generally head out to catch shad on Craig’s Creek before hitting the bigger rivers. “It’s just unbelievable,” Shawn says. “You throw on a two-pound fish that’s no bigger than your hand, and you can catch a monster cat. I was in awe the first time I went out with Tim to try to catch larger fish.”
Shawn grew up fishing with his grandfather, who raised him after his father passed away when he was young. “He’d fish for just about anything: catfish, bass, crappie, bluegill,” he says. About four years ago, Shawn began fishing with Tim, and the team has been unstoppable ever since. Shawn, who owns and runs a construction company, Estes Construction, bought his Crestliner Intruder last spring from Just Add Water Marine in Louisville, and then picked up his engine from Renegade Marine and Outdoor Center in Leitchfield. Team Cat’n Around’s other sponsors include Driftmaster rod holders and local businesses such as ACB Metals, Quickert Farms and Sgt. Sissy’s Bait & Tackle.
Pro Staffer Roger Gerloff of Jefferson City, Missouri, also owns a 2200 Intruder. He says it’s decked out with all the bells and whistles a cat fisherman needs, most notably a huge live- well. “It’s got a big door, and you can put a lot of big fish in there,” he says of its 100-gallon capacity. In fact, he and fishing buddy Jus- tin Cook had 217 pounds of fish tucked away during the Cabela’s King Kat Tournament, at which they placed first last year on Lake Tawakoni in Texas. Roger got into tournament fishing in 2006 after only a year of fishing bigger cats. “The first time I went out and took my two boys, we caught a 63-pounder,” he says. “That pretty much had me hooked.”
In fact, it seems many were hooked by the Intruder series. Because of its tremendous compatibility for Southern fishing, Crestliner released an extension of the series. See all about the all-new 2000 Intruder on page 58 of the new catalog.
Like Shawn, Roger whet his appetite for fishing at an early age. He used to catch smaller cats on a trotline with his dad and uncle on the Missouri River. And now that his sons Austin (17) and Logan (21) are older, he’s showing them the ropes of competition fishing for seriously big cats. Sometimes his younger brother Marty gets in on the action, too.
When out on the lake, Roger likes to anchor up and cast out. Roger’s tackle setup consists of six 7'10" Med-Heavy Surge catfish rods (a sponsor) with Shimano Tekota 600 Reels. He uses 80-pound Power Pro line with a 60-pound Big Game Leader line and Rippin Lips 8/0 Circle Hooks (also a sponsor). His additional sponsors include Mercury and Lowrance.
Roger, an insurance adjuster, bought his boat from Lewis Boats in St. Peters, Missouri. He says he chose the 2200 Intruder because, “it’s sturdy and I’m able to put a big engine on it.” Indeed, he has a 250-hp Mercury® Verado FourStroke powering his Crestliner. He also raves about the boat’s construction. “You get into rough water or rocks, and you know this boat will hold up,” he says. The stable casting decks are perfect for throwing for shad, but he also uses skipjack herring for bait. And, like Shawn, Roger is grateful for the nice wind- shield to offer a little cover while winter fishing. Come summer, however, the boat plays double duty. He and his wife, Julie, enjoy hitting up the local sandbar to enjoy the river. “That’s why we got the swim ladder,” he says with a laugh.
Keep an eye out for Shawn and Tim of Team Cat’n Around, and for Roger and company as they make their way to the top of the leaderboards this catfish season on their Crestliner 2200 Intruders.
BY JENNIFER CHESAK