Father-son team claim crown

The 11th-annual International Falls Bass Championship took place this past weekend and it was the father-son team of Travis and Jace Peterson who bested the full 60-team field after two days of fishing on the Rainy River and the U.S. side of Rainy Lake.
Since the second year of this event, it always has had a full 60-team field.
The popularity of this event is due to the excellent community support the tournament receives locally from International Falls and the unique format that puts anglers on two different bodies of water over the two days.
Over the years, it’s become evident that certain teams are very strong on one body of water while weaker on the other.
It’s exciting because you never know how things are going to shake out over the two days.
River fishing is much different than lake fishing because you can’t escape the fairly strong current that always flows on the Rainy River.
The Petersons took the lead on Day 1, catching a solid 16.37-pound limit of smallmouths on Rainy Lake, then backed it up with 13.23 pounds on the river on Day 2.
They certainly were the crowd favourite because it was Jace’s first big tournament. He was a last-minute addition to the team because Travis’ father, Duane, stayed home to look after his wife, Jeanne, who is battling cancer.
Duane is the big brother of my good friend, John Peterson, who is my partner for the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championships and the founder of the Northland Fishing Tackle Company.
John and Duane have supported my fishing career for many years so the Peterson team definitely was the one I was cheering for.
Scott Dingwall and I have fished this tournament together since it started and have been fortunate to win three times. Traditionally, we’ve been really strong on the lake and average on the river.
This year, we fished on the river the first day and had a really good catch of 15.89 pounds that had us in third place.
We spent the first part of the day fishing around the dam, then moved downstream hitting as many sandbars and boulders as we could, catching a fish or two from every other spot.
The fish on the river typically are shallow and can be caught on a variety of lures, but small brown tubes were the ticket for us.
We spent two days practising on Rainy Lake before the tournament started and we were confident that we had a good game plan to put five nice fish in the boat.
Our expectations were high that we were going to have a good day.
But after not catching any bass on our first half-dozen spots, we realized something had changed and the big smallmouths that were hanging around shallow boulders were not in the mood to bite anymore.
We ended up barely catching five small bass that weighed nine pounds and landed us in eighth place overall.
We were fortunate that we squeaked into the top 10 and made enough money to pay for the weekend. We certainly didn’t expect to end up where we did.
This tournament fishing is sure a humbling activity.
My results this summer have been way below my expectations but that’s fishing, I guess. It’s still fun to compete against all of my buddies and spend time fishing on the great lakes we have here in Sunset Country.
Next up on the tournament schedule is the “Bassin’ For Bucks” event in Sioux Narrows on Sept. 11-13.
It has a full field of 120 teams signed up—a testament to the great job the community of Sioux Narrows does hosting this event every year.
Information for this event can be found at www.bassinforbucks.com

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