Bass tournament season wraps up in Sunset Country

For those of us across Sunset Country who enjoy competing in fishing tournaments, especially bass tournaments, our season is short. The season begins in July and runs through early October so relative to most places, it’s short. Despite that, we’re fortunate that we have a pretty amazing schedule of events on a number of fantastic bass fisheries. Few places have the big, open events that we do.

Getting to fish professionally in the U.S., I get to fish a lot of different waterbodies all over North America and what it has shown me is how good we have it here in Northwest Ontario. The bass fishing opportunities are excellent, and then we have all of the walleye, pike, musky, crappie and lake trout. I appreciate the big waterbodies that we have, some are busy, but if you want to get away  to fish in remote areas, that’s easy to do.

I have spent a lot of time in my boat over the past month, fishing local tournaments most weekends. I live for competing in these events and without them I wouldn’t have the background that led me to fish bass tournaments professionally. We have a lot of talented anglers in our area, many who have developed techniques that are now used across the continent, like marabou hair jigs for smallmouths and the moping technique that I have had success with in the U.S. These are mainstream techniques today and they originated in our area.

The last tournaments of the season are always bittersweet because they mark the end of another year and it’ll be months before we get to do it again. It’s been that way for me since I was a kid.

The annual Frank McClymont Memorial tournament took place on Saturday on Lake of the Woods and as usual it had a great turnout. Brian McNanney, his son Gavin and friend Kaden took the win with 15.46 pounds for four bass. Second place went to Coel and Paul Forsythe with 15.12, while third went to Kevin and Adam Medland. They also had the big largemouth at 4.55 pounds. The biggest fish was a smallmouth bass weighing 4.65, captured by Dakota Seymour and Joe Seymour.

Sadly, Frank passed away back in 2012. He had the tournament bug and participated in most tournaments around the region where he was always near the top of the leaderboard. He was one of the most kind-hearted people I’ve met and was a good fishing buddy. One of Frank’s old fishing partners, Rick Savage, continues to make sure the tournament happens year after year.

For the third year in a row my brother Ben and I teamed up for the Kickin’ Bass Tournament up at Whitedog, on the English River. This has become one of my favourite places to fish over the past few years. It is remote water, so the fishing is top-notch. I enjoy that cell phones don’t work up there and that there isn’t much for mapping. It’s kind of the last frontier for bass fishing and the fishing is excellent. I love the adventure of going fishing up there.

In what was the closest finish that I know of in a tournament in this area, we were fortunate and squeaked out winning the tournament by .01 of a pound. Our two-day total of eight bass was 34.74, while Ian Waterer and Motei Demers were second with 34.73. Sean McAughey and Jayden Symonds were third with 34.51. They had big bass of the tournament with a smallmouth weighing 5.23 pounds.

It was a really fun weekend for us. We stayed at a cabin in Minaki with a few other teams and had the best time. The fishing was good and the weather ended up being pretty good after a couple nasty days before the weekend. We already can’t wait to go back next year. Big thank you to Roland Fisher and the Whitedog community for hosting this event.

Thank you again to all of the tournament organizers and volunteers across the Sunset Country Region.

Jeff and Ben Gustafson hold up part of the catch from the English River this past weekend.
– Submitted photo