Fish and fun at Franklin’s Catfish Derby Days

FRANKLIN – It was a full day of fishing and fun Saturday at Franklin’s 38th annual Catfish Derby Day. The event drew more than 1,500 visitors.

The catfishing competition at the center of the event drew 220 fishers over the course of Friday and Saturday. A participant reeled in a record breaking flathead catfish for the competition at 52 pounds, 5 ounces. The prior record fish was 50 pounds.

Other events held throughout the day Saturday were a volleyball tournament, which drew 20 teams, a softball tournament, which drew 10 teams, and a bean bag toss tournament, which drew 40 teams. A flea market, chess tournament and auction was also held throughout the day.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the day was the “Firemen’s Water Ball” competition between the Franklin, Renvill, Danube and Morgan fire departments. The teams competed in a “tug-of-war” style game to blast a keg off the opponent’s side of the table using fire hoses.

The Saturday events concluded with a dance and the well-known “Kiss the Catfish Contest.” The winner of the contest was Fr. Jeff Horesji, rasing $715.34. His victory meant he had to kiss a catfish, but also that money went to his charity of choice, the Sacred Heart Church in Franklin.

The events continue today, starting with the catfishing competition running from 8 a.m to noon. A Kiddie Parade will be held at 1 p.m., followed by the Sunday parade at 1:30 p.m. and a kiddie pedal pull after the parades. Music will be played at the park throughout the day and a rock climbing wall be available at the Ball Park.

The event was sponsored by the Franklin Lions Club, the Franklin Civic Center, the Franklin Development Corporation and the Franklin Fire Relief Association.

Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at

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