‘Castin’ For Cash’ at Lake Despair

It was another very fun weekend for my wife, August, and I down in the Fort Frances district at the 15th-annual Lake Despair “Castin’ for Cash” bass tournament.
Lake Despair is located about 25 kilometers north of Devlin and connected to a chain of lakes that also includes Footprint and Jackfish.
The tournament continues to be successful after all these years because it is a fun body of water to run around on with some good bass fishing and because the tournament organizers Bill and Nell Godin continue to show everybody a good time every year.
August and I have been fishing the Lake Despair tournament since 2006, missing it a couple of times over the years. We’ve been fortunate to win the tournament a couple of times and we’ve got our butt kicked a few times.
Since we have quite a few days fishing there, we have sampled all of the lakes and have caught nice bass in all of them in different tournaments over the years. Though there is certainly plenty of water left for us to explore we have a few areas where we like to look for bass each year when we go back.
Conditions were good this year, with above average water levels and great weather. My anticipation was that the fishing was going to be very good but for most teams it was quite challenging.
Though we managed to catch five nice bass each day and put together one of the higher two day weight totals that we ever have, we only caught seven or eight bass each day en route to a second place finish.
Down the leaderboard, the weights were not as good as past years, likely a result of the mayfly hatch finishing up and some unstable weather in the days leading up to the tournament.
The being said, the tournament winners, Fort Frances anglers Brian White and Bryan Gustafson set a new two day record with a two day total over 34 pounds. They also won the big bass award on day two. These guys have fished the tournament together for many years and were very excited to finally seal up the win on Saturday.
Third place went to last year’s tournament champs, Nathan Brigham and Brett Myers from Devlin.
Sixty-four teams competed in the tournament this year, a great turnout. At the conclusion of the event, the Godins announced that next year the tournament will take place a week earlier on July 1-2.
Another bass tournament took place over the weekend up near Kenora. The annual Shoal Lake Big Bass Classic, which has been taking place since the early ’90s happened once again and it was the Winnipeg team of Steve Ellie and Tom Hefford who ended up on top after two days. Their two days total of 33 pounds bested a field of 60 teams.
Second place went to perennial contenders Ted and Louise Stewner from Manitoba, while my Dad, Jim Gustafson and Dean Smith finished third.
Tournament anglers around the region have this weekend off before Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship and the Kenora Bronzeback Classic kick off next week.
There are still spots open for the FFCBC for those considering fishing the tournament and of course there will be some great activities being held throughout the week in Fort Frances as there always is.