Another season in the books

Year after year, another fishing season comes to an end. We never know quite exactly when that’s going to be in our part of the World but with the weather we’ve received over the past week and the cooling temperatures next week, we’re just about done for another year. I saw that one of my fishing buddies, Dave Bennett is still getting out on Lake of the Woods and catching muskies over the weekend.

Fishing has been a big part of my life since I was a little kid and as I was growing up I made it a routine to think back to my best memories and favourite days from the past season. Often, the memories that stood out were just really good days of fishing, others were fishing trips with people who I really enjoyed getting out in the boat with and others were tournament successes. Local angler Gord Pyzer lived one block away from my childhood home and he recognized my interest in fishing and started taking me out in the boat with him when I was around ten years old. Throughout my teens we fished together a lot and I learned a ton from him. He is the most knowledgeable angler that I have ever shared the boat with. Lots of good memories there.

I’ve always really enjoyed fishing new water and the adventure that goes along with it, still do to this day. I first fished the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship when I was 17 years old, back in 2000. I can remember those first couple of years going to Rainy Lake for this tournament in July as being some of my most favourite fishing memories. The bass fishing was so good and there was so much water to explore.

This past season was above average for sure. Obviously, winning a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament back in February was a highlight. It was my ninth season fishing pro bass tournaments and while I’d come close several times, it was a big deal for me to finally get a win. It made for a good season despite the fact that I had a few tough tournaments mixed in there. I qualified for the 2022 Bassmaster Classic, which was my main goal and I get to keep doing what I love. It will continue to be challenging just to stay in this field, fishing against the best bass anglers in the World, so I’m going to enjoy it as long as I’m able to do it.

Around home, there were a few days that really stood out for me. The last tournament of the year was one that I teamed up with my brother Ben for, up on the English River/One Man Lake system, north of Kenora. I had never been up there before but I spent three days prefishing then fished the tournament, which we were lucky enough to win. These were some of the most fun days that I have had fishing in a long time. It was excellent fishing for not only smallmouths but walleye and pike as well. The place is a fish factory. It was an adventure out there because the lake is not charted so after laying down some routes to get around, you had to go slow the first time into new areas. I really enjoyed finding reefs and humps that were not obvious on a map to everybody else, it was fun fishing. You have to be careful on water like this but if you take your time, it can be so fun.

I got to fish tournaments with my Dad, my wife and several good friends. They are all fun for me whether we do well or not. I used to put pressure on myself to do well in these tournaments but I’ve learned that it’s all about having fun and if you do that, the results will work out. I also fished with long time friends, shared the boat with a few new anglers and experienced all kinds of weather, good and bad. All part of the experience.

I hope you had a great season on the water and created a few memories of your own. If you enjoy getting out on the ice, all the best out there and before long we’ll be able to get back in the boat.

A nice walleye from Jeff Gustafson’s October adventure on the English River. Boat fishing may be coming to an end, but it
won’t be long before anglers will be able to get out on the ice. – Jeff Gustafson photo