Busy weekend for bass anglers

It was a busy weekend for bass anglers across Northwestern Ontario with the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship going on at Rainy Lake and the Bronzeback Classic taking place on Lake of the Woods in Kenora.
I fished the Fort Frances event for the 18th time this year and we were pretty lucky to avoid most of the nasty weather that passed through the rest of region over the weekend (outside of a few brief showers on Saturday).
Overall, the weather was pretty good last weekend and while the fishing seemed to be a little tougher than normal at both bodies of water, many bass were caught and anglers had a good time.
On Rainy Lake, my pals Jay Samsal and Troy Norman won the FFCBC–and its $20,000 first-place prize–for the second year in a row with a three-day total of 55.23 pounds.
After taking the lead on Day 1 with a 19.18-pound catch, they slipped to second after Day 2 before closing out the victory with a 17.72-pound haul on Day 3.
Oliver Gibbins and Mike Gate, from Morson and Nestor Falls, respectively, took the lead after Day 2 but came up a little short on Day 3 with a total weight of 52.49 pounds.
Oliver has won the Kenora Bass International a couple of times with his brother, Jason, so he is no stranger to winning tournaments in Northwestern Ontario.
Minnesota anglers John Janousek and Chad Johnson brought in the largest catch on Day 3 at 19.97 pounds to finish in third place. They also brought in the largest bass of the tournament on the final day–a 5.03-pound monster.
A great crowd showed up for the final weigh-in on Saturday under the big tent at the Sorting Gap Marina. It really is amazing how well Fort Frances supports this event year after year; it makes for a fun day for all of the anglers.
My partner, John Peterson of Bemidji, Mn., and I had a good tournament and ended up with a fifth-place finish. We had a tough Day 2 and only brought in 13 pounds, which hurt us, but we rallied on Day 3 with a 19-pound catch to move back up the standings.
So we left Rainy on a good note.
In Kenora, meanwhile, Blair and Bronson Beasant brought in the biggest catch on Day 2 at 16.02 pounds to skyrocket up the leaderboard all the way to first place.
Blair said he was so impressed at how seven-year-old Bronson fished hard all weekend; he was a proud father.
They narrowly edged out the team of Ron Achilles and Cam Belanger, who took second place with 29.49 pounds in total. Darren and Katie Marcine finished just behind them in third (29.23).
The consensus from most anglers was that the fishing was fairly tough at both venues last week. It was tougher than normal on Rainy in my opinion, which was surprising because the weather was fairly consistent and nice all week although the water temperatures still are cooler than they typically are at this time of year.
We also still were seeing a lot of mayflies on the water, which sometimes can slow the bite because the fish are so focused on eating these small bugs.
You could see bass swimming around in many places, but they just seemed to be lazy and not that interested in biting. But I think as this warming trend continues over the next week or so, bass are going to get comfortable in their summer locations and become more active.
Anglers are hoping for this with the KBI tournament coming up in a few weeks on Lake of the Woods.
Thank you to all of the volunteers who came out to make both of these events a success once again this year; the anglers had a lot of fun.