Big turnout for ‘Bassin’ tourney

It’s hard to believe but it’s been 18 years now that the “Bassin’ For Bucks” tournament has been taking place in Sioux Narrows.
The brainchild of Sioux Narrows’ bass fishing legends Chris Bell and Mel Giesbrecht, “Bassin’ For Bucks” has become one of the most supported and well-liked tournaments in Sunset Country because of its unique format, which spreads the prize money out and gives anglers a chance to fish one of the most beautiful parts of Lake of the Woods.
Mike Reid and I have fished this tournament together since its first year—fishing that first year out of Mike’s dad’s 16-foot Lund with a 30-horse motor.
We had a cooler for a livewell, but I remember it because it was the first tournament where I recall weighing in a largemouth bass.
We found a couple of trees very close to town that had quite a few around them, and we would cast up to the trees with small black worms, light jigs, and eight-pound test monofilament line.
We lost quite a few fish that year, not knowing that we needed heavier tackle to muscle the bass out of those trees. Today, we use 20- to 50-pound line and heavy rods so we can get the fish out quick before they can tie us up.
“Bassin’ For Bucks,” which ran last Friday to Sunday, had the biggest field it’s ever had this year, taking 124 entries. And though the fishing was a little bit tougher than normal this year, it seemed like everyone had fun.
The weather was good despite the nearly two-hour fog delay to get going on Day 3. All week the fishing just seemed to be a little bit tougher than in recent years and looking at the weights that were brought in over the weekend, it was quite evident.
Maybe the fish are just in a funk from the high water earlier this year, or maybe they are just in that transition from summer to fall.
Mike and I had a great first day of the tournament and actually took the lead with a catch that weighed 19.21 pounds. A quick stop on a point in the afternoon saw Mike catch three big largemouths in about five minutes, which took us from 14 pounds to 19.
Alas, we could not repeat our Day 1 performance over the next two days—bringing in catches of 15.11 and 13.08 pounds to end up in third place overall.
Our pre-fishing was not all that great for this tournament, so we just scraped up what we could each day. Though we did weigh in a few smallmouths that we caught incidentally, we spent nearly all of our time trying to catch largemouths.
Josh Peacock and Kris Soderman from Kenora finished second while Bill Senter and Brian Durham of Missouri became the first all-American team to win the tournament with a total of 49.14 pounds.
Senter and Durham improved their catches each day and that’s what it takes to win most of the time. They weighed in all smallmouths and Durham mentioned to me that they were focused on fishing in deeper water.
The big fish of the weekend was a 5.13-pound smallmouth caught by Calvin Joseph and Darryl Joseph. It’s not very often a smallmouth wins the big fish award in that part of the lake because there are so many big largemouths, but they just were not co-operating for anglers over the weekend.
From all of the anglers, a big thank you to all of the organizers and volunteers at “Bassin’ For Bucks,” as well as the local businesses that supported the event this year.
It really adds an extra weekend of strong economic impact as the summer is winding down.
For full results from the weekend, or to learn more about the tournament, visit