Another KBI in the books

The 26th-annual Kenora Bass International tournament took place over the weekend on Lake of the Woods with 130 teams participating in this year’s event.
Though my first tournament was way back in 1993, fishing my Dad, since 2000 I have been partnered up with my good friend, Chris Savage.
We have had some great tournaments over the years, including wins in 2000 and 2008.
This year, things got off to a great start. We caught what turned out to be the largest catch of the tournament on Day 1, 19.78 pounds, to take the early lead.
We could do no wrong that first day, catching most of our fish early in the day. It was like every fish we caught was a big one.
On Day 2, we were challenged a lot more, fishing through most of our best spots from day one and not having any big fish to show for it.
Years of fishing on the lake came through for us on Day 2 as we were able to get five good fish to bite and we put them in the boat.
Most of the fish came from old spots where we’ve caught a good one or two in the past.
Our Day 2 catch of 16.63 pounds was enough to actually increase our lead heading into the final day.
After really battling to catch five good fish on the second day we were faced with the decision to go back to the area that had carried us so far in the west arm of the lake or relocate to another area in the south part of the lake where we spent most of our time prefishing last week.
The two areas were about 70 miles apart so it was not logistically possible to hit both of them.
We decided that we would stick with the area that got us to where we were, hoping that if we could get a couple of big largemouths to bite like we had the first day we would be able to put a 16-pound catch together, which we felt would be enough to win the tournament.
Day 3 ended up being a train wreck for us.
We fished our main spots and caught several fish, but were unable to get any big fish to bite.
We stuck with our plan and eventually ran of time.
It was probably a combination of us running out of fish, quite a bit of pressure from other anglers and the fish just simply not biting that ended up catching up with us.
Our Day 3 total of 11.01 was one of the worst tournament days we’ve ever had and dropped us to 9th overall.
We were disappointed because you don’t get the opportunity to win these big events every year, but we still had a great weekend and we’re proud of the top ten finish.
Over the course of the weekend, we weighed mixed bags of largemouths and smallmouths each day.
We caught most of the largemouths on a ½ ounce Northland Jungle Jig and most of the smallmouths on a Jackall SK Grande Popper or a five-inch Impulse Dip-Stick rigged wacky style.
Huge congratulations to the team of Bill Godin and Leroy Wilson for winning the tournament.
The made a long boat ride each day to the south end of Lake of the Woods and returned each day with big catches of smallmouth bass.
The win earned them around $24,000.
Bill has a shown he has a thing for winning big events because he is a past champion of the KBI with Norm Lindsay as well as a winner of the Sturgeon Bay Open tournament on Lake Michigan, a large event comparable to the KBI, fishing with partner Mike Salvador.
He has won several other events around the region as well.
My fiancée, August Collinson, also fished the tournament this year with her cousin, Tara Savage.
They were the only all-female team in the tournament and ended up with a solid 54th place finish.
They beat many of my friends who have fished bass tournaments for many years and they beat Chris and I on day three!
Many thanks to all of the volunteers who contribute their time every year to make this one of the premier bass tournaments in North America, it would not be possible without your help.
The tournament committee did a fantastic job keeping everything running smoothly throughout the weekend. Several anglers commented that this was their favourite KBI yet!
These people put in many hours of hard work throughout the year to make this event happen so again, thank you all!