Fun time once again at Shoal Lake tournament

The Shoal Lake Big Bass Classic has been going on at the Shoal Lake #39 First Nation since the early ’90s.
One of the longest-running competitive fishing events in Northwestern Ontario, this tournament always is well-attended because everybody loves to fish the lake.
Good numbers of fish, clear water, and some nice scenery are the main attractions.
While several individuals have been in charge of running this tournament over the years, Vernon Fair and Randy Paishk have been getting the entry forms out and making the tournament happen for the past few years.
They also happen to fish it as well, so my hat’s off to them.
The first time I fished this tournament was way back in 1996 with a neighbour from our camp, Harley Hansen. It was very nice of him to take me along in this tournament, which we nearly won (we finished fourth), because I still was pretty young but I had the bass tournament bug.
We fished it together for a few years. Then in 2001, I started fishing the tournament with Chris Savage. We have had success at this tournament with three wins over the years.
I missed the tournament last year so Chris fished with another one of our friends, Jeff Poperechney, and they made plans to fish it together again this year. And they proved to be the “dream team” this past weekend as they won the tournament with a two-day total of 31.86 pounds—about a pound ahead of the runners-up.
For their efforts they received nearly $7,000.
I fished the tournament this year with my good friend, Karl Engstrom, and we had a tough one. I’ve spent a lot of time on Shoal Lake over the years and usually do well in the tournaments out there, so I was due for a stinker at some point and that’s what happened.
We spent a lot of time trying to hunt down some bigger largemouths and they just weren’t a big factor in the tournament this year. We ended up finishing about 20th in the 62-boat field.
Second place went to the always-competitive husband-and-wife team of Ted and Louise Stewner from Winnipeg while Kenora anglers Adam Bachinsky and Andrew Beernhart took third.
All in all, it was another fun tournament out at Shoal Lake.
On Lake of the Woods this past weekend, the first-annual Lake of the Woods Musky Bowl took place down at Wiley Point Lodge near Sioux Narrows.
A two-day, catch-and-release musky tournament, Sioux Narrows angler Jess Swenson fished day one with his daughter, Reece, and then switched to his older daughter, Emily, on Day 2.
While the details weren’t known as I wrote this column, I can tell you the Swenson clan won the tournament and earned a cheque for $5,000. That is pretty awesome if you ask me!
Jess is one of the best anglers on Lake of the Woods for all species—having spent his entire life running around on the lake taking people fishing.
Big congratulations to them on the win!