Godin, Lindsay capture Falls bass tourney
For a last-minute substitute, Bill Godin could have done a whole lot worse than a member of Northwestern Ontario’s first family of bass fishing.
The Devlin resident turned to Kenora’s Dave Lindsay as a partner in a pinch—and the combination worked beautifully as they won the 10th-annual International Falls Bass Championship on Saturday.
“My regular partner, Ralph Galusha, was at his son Scott’s wedding on Saturday,” Godin said about what led to him joining forces with Lindsay, a three-time winner of the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.
“Then I checked with Norm Lindsay but he had a guiding commitment he couldn’t get out of,” Godin noted.
“That’s when I asked Dave.”
The IFBC is a two-day tournament that sees half the field fish on Rainy Lake the first day while the rest casts their lines on the Rainy River.
The two groups then switch venues for Day 2.
Godin and Lindsay spent Day 1 on the river—generally the better location for fishing between the two bodies of water—and wound up in fourth place overall with a 16.46-pound total.
But Godin had some doubt about his chances to win his first IFBC title in nine tries when he realized the three teams in front of them, including Day 1 leaders Rick Jansen of Hibbing and Dan Thorstad of Ray (18.07), all had fished the lake on Friday.
“I was especially worried about Rick and Dan because they know the river well,” said Godin, who had teamed with Galusha to win an unprecedented third Emo Walleye Classic title back in the spring.
As it turned out, Godin needn’t have been so concerned.
He and Lindsay surpassed their Day 1 showing with a 16.72-pound total on Saturday— the top bag of Day 2—to push them to the top of the leaderboard ahead of Jay and Ed Taylor from the Falls, who wound up second (30.24).
Jansen and Thorstad, meanwhile, only bagged 10.39 on Saturday to slip to fourth (28.46).
Jake Ruelle of the Falls and Chris Heibel of Ranier wound up in third (29.38).
Scott Thompson and Chad Budde of the Falls rounded out the top five (28.29).
“We were really surprised how we did on Saturday,” admitted Godin.
“I had only about a day-and-a-half to pre-fish the lake but it paid off.”
It was good fortune—and smart boat driving—that kept Saturday from being a total disaster for the eventual champs.
“I clipped a rock when we first headed out,” Godin noted.
“It took a chunk of my skeg [keel extension] and damaged the [propeller],” he recounted.
“If I hadn’t backed off, it would have taken off the bottom half of my boat.”
Things turned around quickly, though, as Lindsay nabbed what would be the biggest fish of the tournament—4.79 pounds—as his first catch of the day.
But, like Friday, just navigating the waters was no easy task.
“It was tough both days because there’s still a lot of current on that river,” Godin stressed.
“You just hope you’ll make it through to the end of the day with your battery still good.”
This year’s FFCBC champs both cracked the top 10 in the Falls, though not as a team.
John Peterson teamed with Duane Peterson to land in sixth (26.70) in an all-Bemidji tandem.
Meanwhile, Jeff Gustafson of Kenora, who had paired with John Peterson to win the FFCBC last month, finished in ninth with Kenora partner Scott Dingwall (25.42).
Defending IFBC champs Nathan Brigham and Brett Meyers from Emo were derailed from the get-go.
They only could muster 8.95 pounds on Day 1 to effectively take them out of the running early.
They rebounded with 15.15 pounds on Saturday, but that only was good enough to vault to 12th place overall (24.10).
Other district competitors in this year’s IFBC included:
•Cole Godbout and Bradon Keast (Fort Frances)—20th (21.97);
•Gord Watson and Darrin Ward (Fort Frances)—28th (18.97);
•Denis Barnard (Fort Frances) and Bill Walls (I. Falls)—38th (14.45);
•LaBelle’s Birch Point Camp owner Dale LaBelle and Jeremy Shypit (Emo)—43rd (11.80); and
•Ryan Witherspoon (Devlin) and Cody McKinnon (Emo)—52nd (7.17).
The area’s next major fishing tournament is “Bassin’ for Bucks” set for Sept. 5-6 in Sioux Narrows.