Emo duo reigns supreme in Falls
The lake portion of the International Falls Bass Classic has not been kind to Nathan Brigham and Brett Meyers in recent years.
It was about time the lake gods smiled on them. And as it turned out, that grin was just wide enough to give the Emo-based duo a victory in the latest edition of the tournament this past weekend.
“We got lucky on the lake and caught some big ones,” noted Brigham, 24, who, along with his 25-year-old partner, collected a cool $10,000 for their ace display of angling over two days.
“The pre-fishing on the lake was pretty slow,” he admitted. “But we were on the lake the first day and ground it out in one spot.
“We would leave maybe for only 10 or 15 minutes, and we’d come back and there would be another big one.”
That good fortune led to an opening-day haul of 17.75 pounds—the best Brigham and Meyers have ever done on the lake in their four years participating in the IFBC, which sees the teams split into two groups.
One group fishes Day 1 on Rainy Lake while the other fishes the Rainy River, then they switch bodies of water for Day 2.
Mark Fisher and Dave Skallet of Minnesota led the way after a whopping 19.40 pounds on Day 1 on Friday, which they also racked up on the lake.
But the pair then struggled on the river Saturday, bringing in just 12.65 pounds to finish with 32.05 and fall to fourth behind third-place finishers Jason Pavleck and Derek Bilben of the Falls (32.25).
Defending champions Duane Peterson and John Peterson, from Bemidji, Mn., wound up fifth with 30.85 pounds.
Devlin duo of Bill Godin and Ralph Galusha landed in seventh (28.80) while Gord Watson and teammate Darrin Ward of Fort Frances rounded out the top 10 at 27.65.
Brigham and Meyers still weren’t sure they had done enough with their second-day catch of 16.10 pounds, which ended up tying Pavleck and Bilben for top catch of the day.
“We were pretty skeptical,” Brigham admitted.
“We knew Gustafson was close and the leaders were pretty far up after the first day, so we we’re going to have to smash them pretty good to win.”
Brigham and Meyers ignored the warnings of a busy day of fishing done on the river near Emo on Day 1 and headed straight for the familiar waters when they launched on Day 2.
“We heard Emo had been beat up pretty bad,” said Brigham. “[But] we knew there was still some big fish there to be caught.”
Brigham and Meyers, who now lives and works in Kenora, are debating whether to enter the Rainy Lake Fall Bass Classic next month at LaBelle’s Birch Point Camp north of Devlin.
“We’re hemming and hawing about it,” said Brigham, who works for his family’s business in Emo.
“You don’t want to get too swamped with tournaments.
“You can’t take too much time off and dedicate it to fishing—although that would be nice,” he remarked.