Busy weekend of bass fishing

This past weekend was a busy one for competitive bass anglers across Northwestern Ontario.
The 22nd-annual Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship took place on Rainy Lake while up in Kenora, the 10th-annual Bronzeback Classic took place on Lake of the Woods.
Both events had fields of over 100 teams and were successful once again.
While the Bronzeback anglers were faced with wind and rain on Saturday for Day 1 of their event, the anglers down on Rainy Lake were lucky to avoid the rain Saturday, though it looked like it was going to rain and storm for much of the final day of that event.
At the Bronzeback tournament, Terry and Ethan McClymont took first-place honors with a two-day total of 31.59 pounds, besting Trevor Guderyan and Shayne Mozden (30.12).
Scott and Kyle Cook rounded out the top three.
Terry’s father, Frank McClymont, was one of the first anglers in Northwestern Ontario to catch the bass fishing bug back in the 1980s and fished all of the tournaments in the region for years.
I know that Frank would have been so proud to see his son and grandson win over the weekend.
Down at Rainy Lake, meanwhile, two of my best friends—Jay Samsal and Troy Norman—got to hoist the big trophy late Saturday afternoon after their three-day total of 53.42 pounds got the job done.
After several close finishes in the past few years, it was really nice to see them win the FFCBC. I was happier for them than anyone.
Rainy Lake fished a lot tougher than most anglers expected it to last week despite some pretty good weather for fishing. Still, there were plenty of big smallmouths brought to the scales.
U.S. anglers Mark Raveling and Mike Luhman finished second for the fifth time with 52.55 pounds. These guys consistently show up in the top 10 and almost won the tournament again this year. They always are a threat.
Third place went to five-time FFCBC champs Jim Moynagh and Joe Thrun. They brought in the biggest bag of the tournament on Day 2 at 20.70 pounds, but were victims of an 11-pound result on Day 1 that really hurt them in the end.
After a slow start to the tournament, my partner, John Peterson, and I had a strong final day and finished ninth, so we were happy to squeak into the top 10.
We have had much tougher fishing the past couple of years after winning the tournament in 2013 and 2014.
We are fishing to many memories–places where we caught big fish a few years ago—instead of focusing our efforts on finding where the best spots are to fish now. Hopefully, we can work on that a little bit next year!
The Town of Fort Frances really does a good job supporting this event with huge crowds showing up to the weigh-ins each day, as well as to all of the evening activities all weekend long. It’s really nice to see.
A big thank-you to all of the volunteers from both events for making these tournaments happen every year. There are a lot of happy anglers because of it!
Next up on the tournament schedule is the Kenora Bass International next week on Lake of the Woods.
I have fished the KBI since 1993, when I was 10 years old, but am going to miss it this year for the first time because I was fortunate to qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup—the championship event of the FLW Tour.
I’m getting on the road for Alabama later this week to fish what is going to be the biggest tournament of my career. I’m really getting excited now that it’s almost about to happen.
Look for the update from Alabama next week!