Bass tourney season wraps up

The last bass tournament of the year in Sunset Country, hosted by Whitefish Bay First Nation, took place over the weekend in Sioux Narrows.
Two dozen teams showed up to brave a full day of rain on Saturday, followed by a beautiful day of weather Sunday.
The organizers collected the entry fees at the boat check Saturday morning, so it sounds like the weather hurt the turnout a little bit because people looked out their window in the morning and knew it was not going to be a pleasant day to be in the boat.
The motivation for the anglers who did show up is that it is a long winter in Northwestern Ontario, so we were prepared to get in one last weekend of competitive bass fishing—regardless of what the weather did.
The temperatures were warm both days so that helped keep everybody happy.
At the end of the weekend, there was no surprise who ended up on top of the leaderboard. Winnipeg anglers Ted and Louise Stewner brought in back-to-back 18-pound limits of smallmouths for a total of 36.91 pounds.
They bested the local Sioux Narrows team of Brian McNanney and Matt Rydberg by one-10th of a pound.
The Stewners shine when water temperatures start to drop and more smallmouth bass are found in deeper water. They use an 18-foot tiller drive boat and specialize at fishing vertically in deep water for bass.
They always are tough to beat in the fall tournaments and win many of them.
McNanney and Rydberg, known for years as a team that always focused on largemouth bass, have been changing their ways over the past couple of years and are becoming smallmouth experts.
They did weigh in a couple of largemouths over the weekend, but the majority of their limits came from smallmouths.
Being versatile, and having the option to fish for one species over the other depending on the weather and other factors, is important to having success consistently.
Third place went to another team of deep-water specialists as Alex and Darrell Keszler brought in 36.20 pounds over the two days.
Kenora anglers Rick Savage and Bruce Berringer were fourth while Murphy Paypompee and Francis Kavanaugh of Whitefish Bay rounded out the top five.
Mike Reid and I teamed up for this tournament and ended up with a sixth-place finish. We focused our efforts on largemouth bass and caught a couple of big ones the first day, including the big bass of the day at 5.26 pounds, which anchored our limit of 17.91 pounds.
On Day 2, we ran around to a lot of our favourite spots but were not able to put any big fish in the boat. Our 15.68 pounds was disappointing for this time of year, when big fish typically are more plentiful than they are during the rest of the season.
We saw a few big fish and lost a few, so we were around the right fish to win the tournament. We just didn’t get the breaks this weekend.
A big thank you to Rene White and the rest of the organizers at this event for making it happen for the fifth year in a row. They mentioned this tournament will take place again next year over the last weekend in September.
Now that the bass-fishing season is over, it’s time for me to switch gears a little bit into hunting mode. I still have a few more episodes of “Fishing with Gussy” to film and will get out a few times for crappies, musky, and walleyes in between preparing for a few weeks of guiding for whitetail deer I do every year.
Fall is a great time of year to enjoy the outdoors. Let’s hope for some good weather over the next few weeks.